Revolutionary Measures

Sound – the new frontier for marketing

When it comes to media today, people today have a multiplicity of choice. From the internet and social media to traditional TV, catch-up services and the likes of Netflix the range feels literally endless. No wonder that marketers find it increasingly difficult to reach and engage with audiences as they are scattered across different platforms and devices.

Yet, amidst all this disruption one medium – radio – is actually growing its audience. According to Ofcom nearly nine in ten people (89.6%) listen to the radio at least once a week, and average listening time increased by six minutes per week in the year to November 2017.

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And given that these figures don’t include the likes of podcasts, I think the figure is actually higher. Essentially it is part of a wider trend – as humans we are programmed to respond to sound going back to our hunter-gatherer days. Add in the fact that it is easy to access audio through smartphones and you can see why listening is increasing.

Sound is also playing a greater part in how we interact with technology, thanks to the likes of Alexa and Siri. They may be a long way from perfect, and unable to offer a real conversation (and prone to laughing uncontrollably in the middle of the night), but they provide a new way of controlling our increasingly smart homes. Devices that include Audio Analytic’s technology can even recognise the noise of breaking glass or smoke alarms going off and warn homeowners.

Given the importance of sound, it is still amazing how few marketers are using it to engage with consumers. Viewers frequently say that the music is the best thing about ads, and we all know how hearing a particular tune can bring memories flooding back.

Look (or rather listen to) the impact that the Intel Inside ‘bong’ had on creating a major consumer brand out of a technical chip supplier – memorable audio branding is proven to increase name recognition and connect with target markets. And when I talk about marketing with sound, I don’t mean annoying radio ads or jingles, but simple melodies that somehow encapsulate and sum up your brand. Companies already invest heavily in ensuring that they use the right colours and images to attract their target audiences – I think it is time that they extended this to cover sound. You know what your brand is seen – but how is it heard?

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March 14, 2018 Posted by | Marketing, PR | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Room without a View?

Nowadays E.M. Forster is best known as the source material for Merchant Ivory films such as Howard’s End and A Room with A View. That’s a shame, as it both underplays the central theme of his work – the contrast/disconnect between culture and business as well as ignoring his other work.

I’m thinking particularly of the science fiction short story The Machine Stops, which describes a future world where humans live underground in cells, communicating only through an apparatus called The Machine. No-one travels if they can avoid it and all their bodily and spiritual needs are met by The Machine.

Ringing any bells? The most impressive point for me is that Forster wrote it over a century ago, before the advent of computers and while telecoms was in its infancy.

I was reminded of the story when hearing futurologist Graham Whitehead speak this week. He predicts that we’re only at the start of the technology journey and that the pace of change will only accelerate. I tend to agree but as someone involved in communications think we need to make sure we’re not just chasing the next big thing, but make sure we’re keeping a balance with existing communication channels, whether radio or even, dare I say, face to face, physical meetings. Otherwise, as in the story, what will we do if and when The Machine Stops?

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November 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment