Audio Branding for Your Internet Radio Station

Did you know that there is a powerful connection between sound and memory? As radio takes different forms (broadcast radio, streaming audio, podcasts) and can be consumed on many devices including mobile phones and smart speakers, a strong audio brand is now more critical than ever for your radio station. Audio branding, or sonic branding / audio logo as it is commonly referred to, is a signature sound for your radio station which can be in form of a sound effect or song that listeners can associate with your radio station. Often, audiences prefer to listen than watch, so by not having an audio brand, you are reducing your reach to your potential audience target. Additionally, audio brands help with positioning your brand in the minds of the customers as sound travels faster to the brain and can project what a person will interpret as the visual. Meaningful sound coupled with text is, therefore, an effective branding tactic that is often remembered. Many of the world’s largest brands have embraced audio branding, including McDonalds. Their ”I’m loving it’ sonic signature is used in all regions of the world, translated in local languages. In France for example, this would be “venez comme vous êtes” or “come as you are,” but the audio clip remains the same.

Is a Jingle and Audio Branding the Same Thing?

Most radio stations have jingles at the start of a show. It is important to note that there is more to audio branding than just having a jingle or music ads for your radio station. Every sound that you play during any interaction with customers is part of your branding, hence your audio brand represents your whole brand or radio station. A jingle only, on the other hand, can be specific to one product, and in radio a specific show, but not for the entire station. As such, a jingle that is unaccompanied by imagery is often too narrow to be representative of your larger audio branding strategy.

Benefits of Audio Branding

  • Familiarity – The sound you create for your brand drives familiarity. You therefore need to push the sound consistently and strategically to evoke specific actions from your listeners.
  • Attention – With so many radio stations in the market, it is important to find a way to make yours stand out. Having a complimentary audio brand gets your listeners attention.
  • Increase Trust in Your Brand – Consistency increases trust in your brand, and this can be achieved through a well-executed brand sound at the right touchpoints. A consistent sound gives a sense of safety and belonging for your listeners and helps in building loyalty for your brand.
  • Impact the Mood of your Listeners – Music has the ability to steer our emotions. For example, calming music and/or sounds from nature is known to be relaxing, and high temp music is known to evoke happiness, liveliness, and excitement. This applies to your audio branding as well, as it has the power to evoke specific emotions for your listeners.
  • Impacts People’s Willingness to Pay – One study showed that your audio sound can have a direct impact on your customer’s willingness to act on an ad.

How to Create an Effective Audio Brand

With these simple guidelines, you can easily create an effective sound your audience will quickly associate with your station:.:

  • Establish Your Radio Station Brand – before you can create an accompanying sound, you need to first define what your brand stands for and the overall style of your brand. Defining your brand values, unique proposition, and target audience is a critical first step.
  • Select Your Sound – Now that you have defined your brand, your next step is to create a sound. Your sound should fit perfectly with your visual branding. Your starting point is to define the genre that is likely to suit your brand, followed by the tone and or pace of the music. For example, if your radio station brand is for fun and entertainment, then your sound and emotion should reflect a fun element that blends with your branding. You can find some royalty-free music samples that you can listen to for ideas which could help you pinpoint your sound.
  • Audio Scripts – Less is more applies to audio scripts. The wording you use in your audio brand should be short, clear, catchy, and easy to understand. The tone you use sets the pace of your message, so be conscious of this too.
  • Find a Voice Over – Voiceovers play a big part in developing your audio brand, so invest in a professional voice-over. Music Radio Creative and Audio Brand Central are a good place to start. If your branding targets female teenagers, then using a voice-over of an older mature man could miss the mark, you, therefore, need to find a voiceover that resonates with the target market. This can be achieved by defining the age, gender, accent and reading speed of what you think is the right match for your branding.

Once you have blended all the elements together (audio, content, and voiceover) you will now have your audio brand. You can then start using your audio branding consistently across different platforms as a way of marketing your station.

It is clear that a radio station or business of any size can benefit from audio branding. Consistency and repetition are the keys to success for audio branding. If you don’t have an internet radio station yet, sign up today for our 7-day FREE trial of SAM Broadcaster Cloud

Posted by: Thaka Mandiwona, Digital Marketing Manager at Spacial Audio