• Transform magazine
  • November 30, 2022


Best Audio Brands 2021 shows growing competitor advantage for brands investing in sound

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New research by sonic branding agency amp shows global companies investing in audio branding are creating a demonstrable competitive advantage in their ability to communicate with consumers.

Amp’s third annual index of the world’s Best Audio Brands (BAB) shows evidence that companies investing in developing high quality and owned audio assets - such as sonic logos and music specially created for their brands - have gained significant ground on their rivals. This is creating a stark ‘audio advantage’ gap, whereby many brands are struggling to cut through the noise, especially those without any recognizable audio identity. 

“Making a brand heard is more important than ever before. The past 18 months have accelerated the importance of sound and voice as vital elements of the brand identity and customer experience toolbox. Meaningful and purposeful brand communication takes advantage from a ownable and authentic sound ecosystem,” says Michele Arnese, global CEO of amp.

For the second year in a row, Mastercard leads the ranking, due to the brand's growing use of its unique DNA-based sonic identity. Consistently expanding the use of sound across all its global digital platforms and further growing its audible footprint at physical and digital retail services, Mastercard ranked highly across all key criteria measured in BAB. 

Overall, the top 25 brands scored highly against the five key criteria which amp uses to measure audio investment performance: customer recognition, customer trust, customer experience, customer engagement and customer belonging.  

As a result, the top 25 brands in the index have opened up a clear lead over others. Many are now well placed to develop increasingly sophisticated use of audio assets, especially across  digital and mobile channels, as consumers continue to favour these for brand engagement. 

“This year has shown that those who were already embarking on their sonic branding journeys have increased their lead on trailing rivals - now clearly falling behind. Given the evolving ability of sound to reach consumers whatever the device or channel they’re on, we expect to see increased investment from brands looking to stand out amongst the online noise,” says Björn Thorleifsson, head of strategy and research at amp says.

Many brands that dropped in this year’s ranking increased their usage of generic stock music. Google dropped 16 places and Amazon (scored as the overall brand including Alexa) dropped 12 places for this reason. This points to the fact that are losing important brand recognition in cluttered although fast-engaging digital channels and don’t build any brand equity in the audio space. 


This year saw five new brands jump into the top 10 (Audi, Mercedes, Netflix, Hyundai and Siemens) and the highest climbing sector was beverages with automotive not far behind. Since BAB’s inception