BEST AUDIO BRANDS SYSTEM AND METHODOLOGY
This ranking aims to fill in the existing knowledge gaps around audio branding and provide the very first audio benchmark for brand leaders to measure themselves against.
Our research teams employed a series of methodologies, over a period of five months, in order to create the ranking.
Artificial Intelligence Evaluation
Working alongside our partner, Veritonic, we measured the emotional impact, uniqueness and memorability of audio assets. Veritonic uses machine learning and listening to help brands assess the effectiveness of their audio assets, drawing on real-world consumer responses to provide analysis on emotional response, recall and purchase intent.
We conducted in-depth panel interviews with experts in the field, including amp employees, respected composers and experienced audio researchers. These experts evaluated audio assets based on qualities such as brand fit, uniqueness, flexibility and memorability.
Extensive Desk Research
Drawing on amp’s collective expertise, we analysed brand content published over the course of 2018. This consisted of expert analysis of audio assets used across: digital channels, television, products and customer service lines, amongst others.
The analysis also considered how much owned, custom, licensed and stock music was used, as well as how well established these and other sonic assets were (the “history factor”).
Social Media Monitoring and Analysis
We partnered with social media monitoring agency Storyclash to measure brand engagement online, including views, fan/brand interactions, subscriptions and number of followers.
_SYSTEM AND METHODOLOGY BEHIND THE RANKING.
The Best Audio Brands Ranking is specifically designed to identify strong and weak audio performers, determine any missed strategic opportunities and produce actionable solutions to boost a brand’s audio value and return on investment.
Based on our experience, we have identified five key pillars that comprise a sonic brand identity plus an addtional ROI pillar (audio brand efficiency). These pillars cover different aspects of brand management, from brand relationship quality, to consumer-based brand equity and the brand experience. For data acquisition and calculation of the KPI’s we employed artificial intelligence-based evaluation, expert panel analysis, extensive desk research as well as social media monitoring.
Trust = Consistency + Time. The consistent use of recognisable sound assets builds trust and ensures a connected brand experience across all audible touchpoints. A sonic identity contributes to brand equity by building strong emotional relationships, which in turn drive long-term customer loyalty and value.
For each brand’s Customer Trust score we analysed the consistent use of high-quality sonic assets. For this, we analysed the use of owned music and sonic assets, how long these assets had been used by the brand, and the consistency of use of the assets across multiple touchpoints and markets.
Stock music does not incentivise consumers to bond with a brand. Uniqueness, authenticity, and relevance do. When a brand has a sonic identity with these three traits, and uses recurring sonic assets created by real musicians, it’s much easier for consumers to connect with a brand on a deeper level and feel a sense of belong with the own brand community.
In order to assign a Customer Belonging score to each brand in the ranking we evaluated the quantity of stock music used (which has a negative impact), the uniqueness of the sonic assets used at different touchpoints, the overall brand fit of the sound, and the quality of customer engagement across social channels.
Consistent and unique sonic assets are essential if you want your brand to be recognised across all audible touchpoints. This means going beyond a static “sound logo”, and instead leveraging core sonic elements from a bespoke SOUND DNA. These core elements can be used across several environments to create a holistic and consistent sonic identity; from soundtracks to advertisements, to product sounds to hold-music for customer hotlines.
Our Customer Recognition score was developed based on the quantity of owned music and sonic assets each brand possessed, the number of sonic assets used, and the uniqueness and memorability of the sound used at different touchpoints.
To create an excellent customer experience across all audible touchpoints, brands must ensure they are producing audio assets of a high quality. If the brand gets this right, audio is able to impact customers on a profound emotional level – boosting long-term brand equity and consideration on the path to purchase.
In order to assign a Customer Experience score to each brand in the ranking, we assessed: the consistency of sonic assets used across different touchpoints and markets, the flexibility of those assets to different use cases, the amount of custom and licensed music used, as well as the overall quality of sound and music used.
This pillar takes into accounthow customers react to and interact with the brand. Strong interactions on digital media and the use of high quality music drive the score of this pillar.For customers to engage with your brand authentic music and sound that reaches the relevant target groups and suits the current trends is key.
Our customer engagement score was based on the number of video interactions and views on social media, the overall quality of sound and music used, and the quantity of stock music used (which had a negative impact).
_RETURN ON INVESTEMENT
The final, sixth pillar, is return on investment. What does a brand gain for the money spent on audio assets? Can a shift in strategy streamline spending, whilst boosting brand equity?
We estimated the ROI (efficiency) of every dollar spent on music and sound for audio-visual content on digital and TV. This is then measured against our benchmark of a brand that owns their sonic identity and uses unique and reusable sound assets strategically across all audible touchpoints.
In order to create a return-on-investment ranking, we drew on social media monitoring, extensive desk research as well as our inside knowledge regarding music production costs.