4 Tips to Strengthen Your Visual Branding Through MusicJune 03, 2020
Videos make up half of the on-demand music consumption worldwide. The ROI on marketing efforts that combine audio and visual content has great potential since an alliance between audio and visuals can reach more people than ever before. However, it is important to realize that music shouldn’t be treated as an afterthought, but rather as an important component in your marketing material.
Creating engaging content means making the consumer relate the brand to feelings of credibility, authenticity, relevance, and urgency. To properly enhance the visual effect, the music can help by striking the right emotional chord. To achieve this, the music must be designed to fit both the brand and the visual storyline. A study by Oxford professor and psychologist Charles Spence shows just how much there is to be gained by mixing music and visuals in the right way. His work indicates that the emotional message related through properly combined sound and visuals has an effective impact around 1,207%. “But if you get the cues wrong, it will suppress senses,” says Spence. A lot of visual stimulation and only a little auditory stimulation could result in diminished visual impact, of as much as 86%, says Spence.
Enhance credibility through an artistic approach
Thanks to online streaming, video advertising has evolved from TV spots and into short films up to 10 minutes long. The concise 6-second ads remain a useful window for brand introductions, but the longer video ads use storytelling as a means to provide a deeper audience connection and insight to brand values. Brand videos now seek to take their viewers on an emotional journey through the combined use of visuals and music. This of course brings on new challenges, as a 5 to 10 minutes long video can’t make do with narrow and repetitive musical content as has been the case with shorter ads.
When designing audio content for your branded videos, you need to expand your outreach. This can be done by utilizing not solely short audio clips, but also a catalog of theme songs connecting the viewer to your brand. These songs can be linked through elements like a common tune, instrumentation, music genre, or production style.
It is also important to distinguish between ‘corporate sounds’ and ‘commercial music’. Understanding the difference between the two and using it to your advantage can help bridge the gap between them by developing a larger range of soundscapes for your brand.
Corporate ad music is usually considered more rigid and associated with short repetitions. Commercial music is typically seen as more artistic and approachable with a wider expression and an ability to play on human emotions, thereby creating a stronger connection with the audience. By expanding the scope of your branded musical content, you can connect more profoundly with your target audience. When using the artistic approach to your branded music content, you convey honesty to your audience, which is the ultimate soft brand value. However, you do need to have consistency in your choice of music to tie it together and make it part of your brand.
Create authenticity by being original
It is important to ensure that your audio brand sounds original. To do this, you first need to examine your choice of sounds in comparison to your competitors’ musical branding. Analyze their use of style, themes, and instrumentation. What melody and tempo do they employ? Do they use acoustic or electronic instrumentation? This will help you measure how your current brand sounds compare to the industry benchmark.
When making a thorough analysis of related audio brands, you can establish whether your sound stands out from the crowd. This will also help you further develop your audio branding. Of course, that is just the beginning. Your established brand identity should be the starting point from which you can develop themes and content for individual ads and make your brand values shine through in your marketing efforts.
Use nostalgia to make your brand feel relevant
Playing on nostalgia can be quite effective. When you stir up memories of the past, you are more likely to tap into the viewer’s emotions. The old intro to PlayStation 1 is a good example of this. Playing that tune will bring back the childhood memories of the many who were kids in the 80s, and the soundscape can effectively fill viewers with old feelings of joy and excitement, which are powerful emotions to tap into as a brand.
By using the music from the audiences’ childhood, your brand can quickly create a connection to a past filled with strong emotions. When creating a soundscape that targets your audience, it can be effective to try and reference the sounds of the cartoons, sports, TV shows, or other aspects of pop-culture popular from their childhood and youth. You should also remember that some cultural phenomena now have nostalgic value for more than one generation, such as 80s music which is still being enjoyed even by younger generations who weren’t even born back when this music in fashion.
Sync your music to create a sense of urgency
When you aim to create a sense of urgency in your target audience, it can be hard to do so through music alone. You need to synchronize your soundscape with additional sensory calls-to-action, such as a sudden change in volume or tempo, or through the introduction of new vocals, instruments, or voice-overs. A departure from the main tonal narrative combined with a visual cue can also do the trick.
Make sure music play the role it deserves
As mentioned in the beginning, you shouldn’t treat your brand music as an afterthought. This simply won’t cut it when you want to create multisensory brand experiences to drive conversion. Music shouldn’t be considered just an accessory since this will make the brand message seem inconsistent and waste the branding potential of the medium. Instead you need to create a consistent audio brand to ensure that the content comes across as strong and coherent.
Therefore, you should create clear guidelines for your branded music content, just as you would have visual guidelines for all your text, image, and video content. When you implement an analytical approach to sound and audio branding, it helps you find a way to let the core values of your brand shine through. The more you allow your brand to speak directly to the heart, the stronger it will resonate with your audience.