AMP LAUNCHES BEST AUDIO BRANDS RANKING 2019
First global audit of how the world’s leading companies are using sound to enhance their brand and engage with consumers.
McDonald’s, Disney, Intel, Apple and Coca-Cola ranked as the best audio brands.
How do the world’s biggest brands sound? The first comprehensive analysis of how the world’s leading companies are using sound to engage with consumers reveals that many are beginning to think about sound branding in the same way as logos, images and visual marketing – with strategic and creative intent – but that there is still huge scope for improvement.
The Best Audio Brands Ranking 2019 has been developed by global sound branding agency amp, using a rigorous analytical process which quantifies audio brand performance against a range of criteria such as trust, recognition, engagement and efficiency.
The analysis provides a picture of how effectively brands are extending their audio presence beyond advertising, sonic logos or “jingles” into interactive digital plat- forms where audio enhances brand recognition, engagement and findability. It also calculates audio brand efficiency – the estimated return on investment in sonic as- sets.
Of the 100 brands covered in the 2019 ranking, only 22% can be said to be using sound effectively and even among the top performing audio brands there is significant scope for improvement. You can find the full report and analysis here.
LEADING SONIC BRANDS
McDonald’s and Disney were ranked as joint top performers in the Audio Brand Index, each achieving a score of 51/100 points available. Intel, Apple and Coca-Cola rounded off the top five audio brands, whilst the likes of Shell, Netflix, Nescafé, Google and Amazon made the top ten, with Amazon and Google profiting greatly from the impact of their interactive voice technologies.
Brands such as Spotify, Facebook, Huawei, Honda, Adobe and Visa, ranked amongst the least recognisable audio brands, despite the growing range of digital platforms across which they interact with consumers.
Notably, the ranking analysis showed that even the top performing audio brands have failed to develop a truly comprehensive approach to sonic branding. Whilst McDonald’s was able to ride its instantly recognisable “I’m Loving It” jingle to the top, and Intel’s 25-year old sonic logo secured the brand third place, neither scored highly when it came to return on audio investment (efficiency).
This is because these companies, and others at the top of the ranking, are currently using just a single sound asset to boost their brand, typically in advertising deploy- ed across broadcast media channels. Whilst this approach has served them well in the last decade, when they were audio pioneers, a single sound asset is no longer fit for purpose at a time when consumers are increasingly interacting with (and finding) brands sonically. Moreover, as the audio landscape grows, those using a single sound asset will find they face a dwindling return on investment, as their assets are unable to flex to new customer interactions.
Other brands that made the top ten, such as Apple and Google, have benefited from their dedicated product sounds, and differentiated digital experiences – although they too fail to demonstrate a comprehensive sound strategy across all channels.
Lars Schalkwijk, Senior Strategist and Product Manager, amp commented: “Many of the top performing brands are easily identifiable by a single sound asset, like McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” jingle. But these sonic signifiers, whilst recognisable, are not sufficient for the digital age. Without a broader sonic ecosystem to draw from and use across multiple devices and formats, brands will struggle to make themselves heard in future years.”
“As consumer technology embraces audio signals, sound logos and voice interaction to enable people to access brand services and content, brands will need to project their values and culture through sounds and music that they own and nurture. In particular, trust is a value that is increasingly important to brands and can be reinforced by sound.”
Michele Arnese, Founder and Global CEO of amp added: “The Best Audio Brands Ranking is the first global audio audit of the world’s leading brands. Through rigorous analysis it aims to establish a comprehensive system to evaluate the use of sound, voice and music in branding. By assessing overall audio brand performance against a series of key pillars that comprise a holistic audio identity, we have been able to pinpoint how effectively brands are leveraging their audio assets and identify key areas for improvement.“
The Best Audio Brands Ranking 2019 website carrying the full index and detailed analysis of the findings can be accessed here. The website also features audio samples of many of the brands featured in the ranking, alongside notes on individual brand performance. The report will be issued annually, with each iteration building on the one before to ensure that the most robust research methods available are being employed.