The familiar Slack notification, the satisfying “boing” of a Dyson vacuum, the inspiring Intel sound logo – these are all sounds in marketing that spark emotions, perceptions, and behaviors about specific products, brands, and experiences. 

Interestingly, when we think about marketing for businesses, it often centers on the look of a website or the taste and feel of a product. But appealing to consumers involves all five senses, with sound playing a critical role in helping buyers associate products and services with distinct, memorable feelings.

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Sounds in marketing are so influential that brands have been increasing their spend on sound for the past few years. Take Mastercard, for example, which developed an entire sonic brand that customers interact with whenever – and wherever – they engage with the brand.

Why should brands invest in sound as part of their marketing strategies? Here are a few reasons for consideration.

Sound Sets the Mood

The sounds we hear in our daily lives can have a profound psychological effect on the decisions we make. Especially in terms of marketing, sound can make us feel excited or hopeful about engaging with a brand. Sound marketing, also referred to as audio branding or sonic branding, has the power to set the mood for consumers.

The Netflix “tudum” sound is globally familiar and sets the tone for the viewer experience. No matter what you’re about to watch on Netflix, that short audio clip prepares you for the content that comes next:

Sound Creates a Seamless Experience

When you have a thoughtfully developed sonic brand, it can easily become part of the entire customer experience in both physical and digital environments. Like the “boing” of the Dyson V10 vacuum mentioned earlier, customers recognize and then memorize the sound before they even make a purchase. Once they become a Dyson owner, the sound carries through every time the product is used – reinforcing the positive feelings of cleanliness, accomplishment, and pride associated with the Dyson brand.

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Sound Influences Behaviors

Sounds in marketing are powerful enough to influence customer behaviors. Volkswagen discovered the powerful “thunk” sound made when closing the doors of its vehicles was so impactful that the brand starting using the audio in their advertisements. Why? Customers associated the sound with quality, a perception that may have helped steer customer behaviors.

Sound Differentiates Brands From Competitors

The distinct and memorable experience that sonic marketing delivers can set brands apart from their competitors. Especially in situations where marketing can’t be seen, it can be heard in the form of a sonic brand. Just think of any time you heard Lenovo’s popular “Hello Moto” sound. You probably didn’t need a visual to accompany that audio, but what that sound did was remind you of the brand in an instant – keeping it top of mind.

Sound Turns Users Into Customers

So much about the effectiveness of sound in marketing has to do with the emotional or informational effects it has on consumers. For example, the sound that accompanies Spotify advertising on the free subscription can create negative emotions for the user. Even though the user likely knows a paid, ad-free subscription exists, this sound signifies an interruption in listening. While this can create feelings of frustration, the audio can also remind fans that the ad-free version is available and may even help move users to become paid members.

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Conclusion

Without sound, it can be hard for brands to cut through the noise. Sound is a powerful tool brands should be leveraging across marketing channels to establish perceptions, convey emotions, improve customer experiences, and influence behaviors and decisions. Learn the practical aspects of digital marketing by signing up for Simplilearn’s Post Graduate Program in Digital Marketing, provided in partnership with Purdue University. 

About the Author

Rob SandersRob Sanders

Rob Sanders is a digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience. During that time, Rob has helped a wide range of companies utilize new and emerging technologies to increase sales and profitability. As founder of RSO Consulting, Rob helps clients maximize their digital marketing efforts via SEO, SEM, SMO, and Web Analytics. He is responsible for many facets of the web analytics value chain, from identifying business goals and objectives to developing strategies and translating those into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Rob also teaches digital marketing and analytics classes throughout the U.S. and abroad. As a contributor for Simplilearn, Rob creates expert thought leadership content on a variety of digital marketing and analytics topics.

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