Audio marketing is “seeing” a resurgence. While audio content strategies, like radio advertising, have been around for decades, there are new trends in audio marketing that are taking the industry to a new level. Producing audio content for consumer interaction is the overarching trend for 2018. However, there are several trends that are truly blog-worthy. Here are few from our research:
The Alexa Voice Experience
Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa, is the most disruptive technology to hit the market since Apple’s iPhone. By the year 2022, the sale of over 244 million devices is projected. Already, major brand names are using Alexa’s technology. Examples include, “Ask Purina,” Tide – Stain Remover, Johnnie Walker, and Zyrtec – Your Daily AllergyCast. But currently, only Alexa’s voice is available for use. However, this will change soon as big-name brands seize the opportunity to brand their audio via Alexa.
Earcons – An Icon with Audio Signals
Similar to an icon, but for the ear, earcons indicate events or key information. What was once declared as a silly sound effect is now used as a branding tool. Think “OK Google” for a real-world example.
A formal definition, from Wikipedia, is: An earcon is a brief, distinctive sound used to represent a specific event or convey other information. Earcons are a common feature of computer operating systems and applications, ranging from beeping when an error occurs to the customizable sound schemes of Windows 7 that indicate startup, shutdown, and many other events.
The name is a pun on the more familiar term icon in computer interfaces. Icon sounds like “eye-con” and is visual, which inspired D.A. Sumikawa to coin “earcon” as the auditory equivalent in a 1985 article, ‘Guidelines for the integration of audio cues into computer user interfaces.
Although the term is most commonly applied to sound cues in a computer interface, examples of the concept can be seen in broadcast media such as radio and television:
The alert signal used to indicate a message from the Emergency Broadcast System
The signature three-tone melody used to identify NBC in radio and television broadcasts
Earcons are generally synthesized tones or sound patterns. The similar term “auditory icon” refers to recorded everyday sounds that are used for the same purpose.
3D Audio for an Interactive Experience
Youtube VR and Facebook 360 have incorporated interaction with 360-degree videos partnered with spatial audio. Consumers are now able to purchase and use binaural headsets. This new technology has increased both branded and consumer 3D audio as binaural headsets are optimal when you want to drown out surrounding environmental noise.
Interactive Audio Experiments
Again, major brands are now using interactive audio experiments to “wow” their consumers. Examples include M&M, which markets their “Bite Sized Beats.” M&M connoisseurs can create individual songs with the musical loops M&M offers. FedEx now enables the creation of personalized songs to accompany your package on its journey. And even the BBC now has voice-based interactive stories for Alexa and Google Home.
Audio-based Experiential Brand Activations
OK, this is seriously cool! Imagine purchasing a product that individualizes your audio experience. Buy a certain type of sneakers from Nike, and you can create your own soundscapes based on your personal bioanalytics. Toyota now has a hybrid vehicle that is wired as musical instrument. And Jaguar has an SUV that controls music tracks while driving. Amazing.
In 2017, streaming accounted for 41% of music consumption. Brands are now using playlists in creative and innovative ways. Playlists can showcase new products. Soundtracks are launching new brand stories for listeners.
This is a pretty exciting time to be in the AV industry! Partner any of these with visual technology and we might be moving into 22nd century creations!
To the future!