In 2023 Annual Conference

Contributed by Damir Simovic, Northwest Florida Coast Chapter

Just recently, I had the incredible opportunity to attend a breakout session that left my ears tingling with inspiration and my mind buzzing with new possibilities. The session titled “Audio / Sonic Branding is Pitch Perfect for PR” was a symphony of insights delivered by a trio of industry maestros: Elliott McLaughlin, the key account director / team lead at PHMG; Elise Ramer, APR, CPRC, vice president of corporate communications and public relations at Premier Sotheby’s International Realty; and Dawn Alexander, corporate customer experience manager at Waste Pro. Together, they orchestrated a harmonious discourse on the remarkable power of audio branding and its profound impact on PR.

The Crescendo of Sound

We all know the power of sight, but how often do we pause to truly appreciate the symphony of sounds around us? The session opened with an exploration of the nature of sound itself. Sound waves, like delicate notes, can be shaped by their environment — reflected, refracted and diffused — leading to a unique and impactful auditory experience. The presenters delved into the significance of sound, highlighting how it can awaken, influence and even shift our emotions. Think about the music that accompanies us in moments of triumph or provides solace during times of reflection — it’s a testament to the subjective yet universal language of sound.

From the chirping of birds on a tranquil morning to the roar of a revving car engine, we have innate associations with various sounds. These associations are embedded deep within us, affecting our emotions, perceptions and actions. By understanding these connections, PR professionals can tap into the profound potential of sound to elevate their branding and communication efforts.

Crafting Your Unique Melody

The crux of the session was centered around the concept of audio branding — the strategic use of sound elements to create a distinct and memorable brand identity. Imagine Netflix’s iconic sonic brand or the reassuring jingle of your favorite insurance company. Audio branding extends beyond mere recognition; it’s about infusing your brand with a personality, making it resonate with your audience on a deeper level.

The session highlighted how businesses can harness audio branding to differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace. It’s akin to creating a musical score that plays in the minds of consumers whenever they encounter your brand. Think of it as your brand’s very own theme music, serving as a cohesive thread across various touchpoints — be it your phone systems, social media, website, presentations or even broadcasts.

Voices That Echo

The presenters emphasized the importance of consistency in using audio branding across all communication channels. Just as a voiceover is the bedrock of a sound brand, your copy should harmonize with the essence of your audio brand. Moreover, the tone and mood of your message should adapt to match your target audience, ensuring a seamless and immersive experience.

Creating your own audio brand involves understanding your brand’s identity and values. Consider the emotional nuances you want to convey, the pace and notes that resonate best, and even the instruments that carry your message. The artistry lies in crafting a signature brand voice that captures the essence of your brand while evoking a desired emotional response.

Conversations with the Maestros

The session’s richness was further accentuated by personal experiences shared by Dawn and Elise. Dawn recounted how Waste Pro’s journey began with the desire to streamline their customer experience by unifying their auditory identity. What started as an initiative to establish a cohesive on-hold music evolved into a comprehensive sonic logo that resonated across their diverse portfolio of brands. The result was a strengthened brand perception that aligned with Waste Pro’s professionalism and stature in the industry.

Elise shared her journey of bringing a luxurious brand like Premier Sotheby’s International Realty to life through audio branding. In a journey of rediscovery, they sought to engage all five senses, culminating in a reimagined brand that not only looked and felt luxurious, but sounded it, too. The process was an emotional yet intellectual exploration, infusing each note and tone with the essence of the brand.

Striking the Chords of Success

The session wrapped up with practical insights, ranging from tips for those with limited budgets to the limitless possibilities that audio branding presents. It’s clear that audio branding isn’t just reserved for the giants; it’s an accessible avenue for businesses of all sizes. By choosing the right audio company that can license your brand’s sound, you can embark on a transformative journey that resonates with your audience and shapes your brand’s identity.

In conclusion, this breakout session was a symphony of wisdom that emphasized the profound potential of audio branding in the realm of PR. As communication professionals, let’s take the lessons learned and melodies discovered to orchestrate a harmonious brand narrative that resonates deeply with our audience. Remember, in the world of PR, crafting the perfect pitch isn’t just about words — it’s about the enchanting symphony of sound that sets our brands apart and leaves a lasting impression on every ear that hears it.

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