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How Emotional Intelligence and Sound Can Help Brands Win

Certainly, I’ve observed a notable transformation in the LinkedIn feed throughout the pandemic. Beyond the typical self-promotion and marketing content, there emerged a significant shift towards genuine mutual assistance.

How Emotional Intelligence and Sound Can Help Brands Win

People began openly sharing their expertise and offering valuable tools and resources. Esteemed individuals became more approachable, and some utilized their platforms to amplify marginalized voices. Faced with unprecedented challenges, the importance of supporting one another for collective growth became evident.

This shift indicated a move towards collective empathy, leadership guided by a sense of purpose, and brands taking a stance on societal matters. These changes signify a broader change in mindset. We’ve entered an era where emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in achieving business success. This shift is reshaping how we shape our workplace cultures, foster relationships, and engage with consumers.


The compilation distilled numerous years of research, highlighting the strong connection between elevated EQ (Emotional Quotient) and exceptional individual performance. However, what truly resonated was the effortless applicability of this very list to contemporary brands. Elements such as self-awareness? Verified. Empathy? Confirmed. Likewise, attributes including inspiration, adaptability, and influence? All confirmed without hesitation.


Audio: The Catalyst for Cultural Influence


As a consumer, you’ve likely witnessed a shift in your brand expectations. Contemporary desires lean toward perceiving corporate entities as more “human” and relatable. Brands that forge strong emotional bonds through their values, actions, and marketing strategies are now preferred choices.


While conventional approaches like visual identity systems, omnichannel marketing, and celebrity endorsements can achieve this, a brand’s genuine essence finds a potent avenue of expression through its distinct sound and music. This is because visuals engage the mind, whereas emotions are stirred by what we hear.


Notably, Veritonic, a research company, showcased the remarkable impact of sound on Tostitos, a brand. Their new sonic identity substantially bolstered ad recall, brand association, and appeal, all registering double-digit growth. This enhancement also amplified the impact of their visual branding, imbuing attributes like fun, playfulness, and excitement – precisely the sentiments Tostitos aims to convey.


Especially crucial for Generation Z, who have adopted audio-centric behaviors at an unprecedented pace, sound plays a pivotal role. From podcasts and music streaming to TikTok and Instagram, audio serves as a tether in their lives. Brands must establish their distinct auditory identity to manifest authentically and resonate effectively.


Extensive neuroscience and data underscore the effectiveness of sonic branding. A recent Ipsos study validated an astounding 8.5x increase in branded attention through ads featuring sonic logos. These exclusive sonic elements encode memories and emotions, significantly enhancing mental availability during pivotal moments, such as purchase decisions.


How Global Brands are Establishing Connections through Sound


In the past, trailblazers like AT&T, Intel, and McDonald’s recognized the potential of forging emotional bonds with consumers through sonic branding. They grasped that even decisions spanning from significant purchases like houses and cars to simpler ones like candy bars are influenced by emotional impulses. This innate sense of “rightness” is driven by subconsciously triggered memories and instinctual System 1 thinking.


Sentient Decision Science, a neuro-research company, uncovered that sound can sway a person’s inclination to engage with or avoid a brand by a significant 86%. Across diverse sectors—ranging from Tostitos to Lexus, Panera Bread to HBO—brands are aligning their customer journeys to captivate and ensure repeat patronage.


While we might not consciously register it, instances abound. Certain brands employ immersive sound design to enrich physical spaces, as seen in American Express’ Centurion Lounges that feature distinct, branded soundscapes. Others have introduced voice commerce personalities or UX/UI sounds that render products more intuitive and relatable, reminiscent of a friendly Roomba vacuum. Additionally, the longstanding tradition of brands collaborating with music artists—like Doja Cat & Taco Bell, Travis Scott & McDonald’s, Tyler the Creator & Coca-Cola—cannot be overlooked. When wielded strategically, music serves as an invaluable brand asset.


Crafting a Comprehensive Brand Experience


A brand encapsulates the amalgamation of everything your customers perceive—what they hear, see, sense, and hold as truths about your product or service. Individuals establish a self-identification link with brands that harmonize with their values, aspirations, and passions.


As we navigate beyond the pandemic’s challenges, we’ve moved past the era of forceful brand promotion through overpowering tactics. For present-day consumers, a brand must hold genuine significance. To resonate with modern audiences, a brand must possess a meaningful essence. In this context, music and sound serve as the swiftest conduits for conveying a brand’s values, personality, and perspective.


Cherished brands, those that genuinely captivate affection, consistently refine their emotional bonds. They adeptly employ meticulously designed soundscapes at every interaction point. This practice is poised to delight everyone involved.

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