Have you ever caught yourself humming a popular song or catchy tune you’ve heard in a radio jingle or on the TV? All the time, if you’re anything like me.
It’s not then surprising that using sound is a meaningful way for companies to craft memorable identities and improve brand recall. Targeting other senses, in addition to vision, can be a highly effective marketing tactic.
People tend to use all five senses to determine behaviour or categorise experiences, and so using auditory marketing is just one way to differentiate yourself from competitors that focus solely on engaging their audience visually.
Auditory marketing isn’t just confined to the consumer goods industry. In fact, it has been used by several banks, and more recently financial services firms have been using this technique to create cut-through in an industry that has typically been conservative in its communications.
Take the recent Standard Life TV ad promoting pensions. It is soundtracked with the popular Bon Jovi song It’s My Life, which relates to the act it’s trying to promote: taking control of your pension (plus, it’s a banger):
AJ Bell have also recently made their debut in TV and radio advertising, accompanied by a popular (albeit older) song from 1979, Ring My Bell. This ad not only uses sound, but also incorporates humour to better engage its audience:
Pop songs are not the only way to lean into sound-based marketing. Audio logos consist of a brief sound or musical riff that’s designed to be memorable, instantly evoking a brand’s image or service when it plays. The familiar sound of Netflix loading up, for example, prompts a feeling of expectation and happiness given that audiences associate it with watching the content they enjoy.
And remember the Intel sound? Possibly the most recognized sound in the world at one point, it sounded new, technological and professional – thereby perfectly complementing Intel’s value proposition.
Aviva also established a musical riff that is associated with their business, which sounds warm and reassuring. Again, it effectively – if subtly – enhances the Aviva brand, which focuses on de-mystifying finance and delivering comforting customer service.
Meanwhile, Lloyd’s Bank recently used the Calvin Harris and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man song Giant as an intro for a long-running TV advert. The full song isn’t featured, but a snippet of it is enough to establish a sense of dynamism, mixed with familiarity:
And let’s not forget Halifax Bank. They have been using music in their TV ads since 2016. This first occurred through the use of theme tunes for cartoon characters, such as Top Cat and The Flintstones, before shifting towards the use of well-known pop songs. Their selection included Jungle Boogie by Kool & the Gang, Every 1's a Winner by Hot Chocolate and – probably their best-known choice – Stand by Me by Oasis.
Using sound to communicate your brand proposition
In increasingly digitalised world that provides consumers with more choice and more ways to engage, using sensory marketing offers an effective way to trigger emotions and maintain engagement with a brand. It’s just one of the tactics that can be used to differentiate a business and authentically communicate your brand values in a way that is current and relevant.
All Halifax ads mentioned here can be accessed through the links below.
Jungle Boogie (Kool & the Gang):
Every 1's a Winner (Hot Chocolate):
Stand by Me (Oasis)