• Transform magazine
  • September 26, 2022


The sound of brand


The atmosphere at the Audio Branding Awards 2015 in Berlin was like that of a tribe. A hodgepodge of composers, marketing professionals, entrepreneurs and brand enthusiasts, many of whom carved out the beginnings of the audio branding industry and who seem overwhelmed by the sector’s rapidly growing prestige.

Audio is an immensely powerful tool for engagement, as convincingly explained by Olaf Hartmann from the Multisense Institute during his keynote, The Power of Multisense. Hartmann explained that the pain sensor is activated when money is spent, but lust outweighs that pain. The role of marketing is to create that lust and to create a perception of quality.

Hartmann showed the audience how our brains are trained to avoid irrelevant signals, and thus the obstacle for the marketer is not the competitor, it is the audience’s lack of interest. Powerful decisions are made within the subconscious, while the conscious mind merely leads you to think you are in control, said Hartmann, optimise the implicit before the explicit. Appealing to multiple senses has a powerful impact on the subconscious.

The proof is in the results, said Hartmann. 75% of multisensory brands are power brands. The design of the Apple iPhone encourages you to ‘pet’ your phone, thus creating a bond. Brand loyalty and purchase rate are drastically improved by the incorporation of multisensory.

At the Audio Branding Awards, hearing was the sense of honour. Workshops on the first day were followed by the Awards Day on the second. Throughout the day, shortlisted audio branding campaigns from around the world were presented and interspersed with new composer talent. The case studies showed how major brands are already using audio to strengthen their overall brand strategy.

Case studies included Dutch airline KLM, fashion brand Hugo Boss, ice lolly Fruttare, and the winner announced at the end of the Awards Day, Wiener Linien, Vienna’s public transport network. Wiener Linien had used the same voice on its rail and bus networks for 44 years, with the new audio brand it used audience participation to find a new voice, a tactic which also attracted a lot of media attention.

The winner of the awards was announced in the evening on a boat on Berlin’s River Spree. Wiener Linien won both the official gold award and the audience award which was selected by attendees on the day. Whether composers or brand specialists, all attendees had good reason to walk away feeling optimistic about the future of their industry.


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