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MasterCard, Shell Show How Sounds Connect With Consumers

Visual has dominated branding and advertising for years, but how a consumer feels when they hear a click, clang or zing when connected to a positive experience can last a lifetime. It also can conjure higher recall rates and images of the brand without it being present.

The Best Audio Brands report, a yearly index from amp, was recently published to give brands insight into the sounds they use and sounds they don’t.

Some 95% of the brands in the top 100 have a sonic logo.

Sonic sound is a vital element of the creative process in branding and advertising. Amp’s report is a ranking of sonic identities, identifying the strong and the weak ones.

The rise of stock music increased during the past year. Stock music use today sits at 55.5% -- up from 45.1 last year -- while licensed music use fell to 8.5% this year from 10% in the past year. This is all from automotive, telecom, food and beverage, and other sectors.

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Telenor, a telecommunications company, and Equinor, an international energy company, this year entered the Best Audio Brands Top 10 index.

The Top 10 include MasterCard, Shell, Swiss Re Group, AutoZone, Telenor, Old Sprice, Berger King, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Just Eat, and equinor.

Mastercard and Shell have made significant strides in sonic branding, showcasing the power of sound in brand identity and presence. Since Mastercard unveiled its sonic identity in 2020, the company has consistently led the Best Audio Brands ranking. Shell has shown progress and innovation, established a strong sonic presence and steadily climbed the ranks, according to the amp.

Shell implements its sonic branding across traditional advertising and digital content. Unlike Mastercard, it does not use any sonic user interfaces at payment touchpoints, but has been successful in connecting in diverse markets through variations of its sonic identity.

There has been a widening gap between the way brands connect with consumers through traditional advertising content and social media platforms. Despite the increase in brands creating sonic identities, the same separation is occurring with brands’ use of sound, according to amp.

Duracell and T-Mobile use sonic logos consistently in TV ads, in podcasts, and on YouTube, but never on Instagram or TikTok.

Forget the brand reliance on memes and trending sounds. Brands can execute their own trend campaigns effectively, but the original song like the one that e.l.f. Cosmetics used on social media are far and few between.

Brands can convince consumers to click on ads through sonic recognition and cross-channel consistency, because using a distinctive sonic identity on sites such as TikTok and Instagram changes the thinking from being fresh and creative.

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