The Psychology Behind Audio Branding And How Sound Can Influence Customer Behaviour

Dan Lafferty, Director of Voice and Music at PHMG, looks at how audio branding can be used to unlock customer potential


As an unlicensed and unregulated industry in the UK, professional locksmiths have the added challenge of differentiating themselves to attract customers to their quality service and workmanship.

Emphasis is often placed on the visual identity of a business with significant time and resources spent on how branding looks on signage, websites, leaflets and brochureware.

However, what customers hear when making contact can have as much, if not more, of an impact. Sound has the capability to influence how people feel and what they remember about a brand, influencing their decision on whether to buy its products and services. In fact, recent research by PHMG revealed that 60 percent of Brits believe music is more memorable when used in marketing, proving the emotional power of music and its potential for conjuring a clear picture of an organisation’s values and ethos in the mind of the listener.

Yet a common misconception could be putting people off the use of sound as a marketing tool. Due to ‘sonic logos’ – catchy jingles used throughout a company’s advertising – many may believe audio branding is a luxury of those with unlimited marketing budgets.

Instead, the widest and often most practical use is via the humble telephone, used by businesses of all sizes.


Lock in customers

How a business sounds over the phone can either attract customers or have the opposite effect of turning potential customers away. Using monotonous repeat sounds, or generic music while customers wait to get through, can be a missed opportunity to leave a lasting mark and communicate brand values and promote services.

What’s more, a previous PHMG survey completed by 1,000 UK consumers found that a staggering 73 percent would not do repeat business with a company if their first call wasn’t handled in a satisfactory manner. This highlights the importance of taking the time to consider what your customers hear when they call your business.

Customers build an impression of a business at every touch point. If a business delivers an excellent service and holds an enviable reputation, this can be significantly diluted if the sounds heard are generic or the audio branding used is off the shelf.


The key to voice and music

Most customers get in touch with a locksmith when in distress, such as following a burglary, so is perhaps unsurprising that businesses operating in the security sector select their audio brands to help evoke perceptions of reliability and trust.

In terms of voice, there are a number of elements to consider, such as gender, age and whether the voice has an accent. The industry tends to lean towards using mature, masculine voice-overs to convey robust authority. The style of delivery is confident and a deep tone of voice is used to communicate to the customers that they are with a safe pair of hands when it comes to their security needs.

For locksmiths operating in a certain area, using an accent may prove beneficial. A regional dialect resonates with a local customer, helping to provide that competitive edge due to the accent providing a sense of reassurance.


Secure customer retention

Choosing a popular track might seem like an easy option for your audio branding but it could be harmful.

Everyone has different musical tastes so what one person likes, another may hate. Similarly, music can evoke memories and if that recollection is negative, it could cause people to attribute negative feelings towards your company if it is used as part of your branding.

Attributes, such as instrumentation and tempo, can all be selected to not only match the accompanying voice, but the company’s brand values. image and ethos. The music that is most popularly used for locksmiths and others within the security industry has a professional, corporate feel with musical styles using an electronic basis to communicate modernity and innovation.


Unlock potential

Research by PHMG discovered just one per cent of security firms use audio branding as part of their marketing strategy, showing that many businesses are yet to unlock full customer potential.

The security industry would be well-advised to using the power of voice and music to transform business.


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