Bunnings, VB lead Australia's audio branding charts

New index ratings of the most effective audio branding identifies the top Australian companies for sonic branding creative

Bunnings and Victoria Bitter lead the way in Australia’s audio branding effectiveness stakes, a new research project claims.

The new sonic branding research was kicked off by Southern Cross Austereo in partnership with audio intelligence platform provider, Veritonic, and sought to ascertain which Australian brands boasted the strongest audio branding creative effectiveness for consumers out of a list of 26. The files were analysed via machine learning and learning algorithms, with data then combined with survey responses from 2100 consumers across SCA’s insights community. The work was based on a range of attributes including brand familiarity and memorability and saw each brand’s audio tune given a ‘Veritonic Audio Score’.   

Bunnings came up trumps on the list for winning scores across almost all indicators, from authenticity, to likeability, uniqueness and high recall. In addition, the brand scored highly for other emotional attributes such as trust, authenticity and happiness.

The hardware retail giant also recently topped a recent survey by Roy Morgan of Australia’s most trusted brands, results derived during the height of the COVID-19 lockdown.

Coming in second was Victoria Bitter, which matched Bunnings for emotional attributes such as authenticity, likeability and uniqueness. All of these characteristics map directly to high recall, the list authors noted.

Following Bunnings and VB in the top five were Toyota, McDonalds and Telstra. Rounding out the top 10 brands in Australia were Coles, Intel, AAMI, Woolworths and Harvey Norman.

In terms of category, FMCG proved the best-performing industry for sonic branding, driven by VB as well as brands such as SPC. Retail followed closely behind, while automotive was found to be the lowest performing sector. The one major exception was Toyota, which has been running the same audio branding around its ‘Oh what a feeling’ messaging since the 1980s.

Global brands performed strongly on UK and US versions of the list, such as Intel and Netflix, were shown to be consistently strong with Australian consumers as well.

SCA national head of creativity, Matt Dickson, noted familiarity as a big influencer on recall and its impact on list scoring.

“Each of these businesses is both long-established and among the brands spending the most on marketing in Australia,” he pointed out.

All of Australia’s top 10 brands, the list authors noted, used melody as a memorable audio device. Broadly, audio logos featuring a melody had a 20 per cent higher memorability and brand association result than those that did not.

“An audio logo needs a melody to be memorable and if it contains the brand name as well it’s even more effective,” Dickson said. “There’s also the ‘whistle test’. If you can’t whistle an audio logo, it’s probably too complex and won’t be as effective. It’s an interesting parallel to visual logos – if you can draw a visual logo, it’s more iconic and easier to remember. The same applies to audio branding with whistling or humming.”

Another finding was audio logos resonate more depending on age group, although the age of the brands could also play a role here. For example, Boost Juice and Netflix were found to be 42 per cent more memorable with those aged 18 to 39, while SPC’s sonic brand was 18 per cent memorable for those aged over 40.

By contrast, Bunnings, Toyota, McDonalds and Harvey Norman all scored relatively equally across demographic groups.

Dickson claimed the need for sonic branding was growing in importance as more audio-based capability came into our lives through technology such as smart speakers, changing the way we interact with brands and buy.

“Every search that happens via smart speaker is one less search that happens visually,” he added. “If your brand doesn’t have audio brand assets, then how is anyone going to know who you are in a voice environment?”

Read more: IAB: Why your audio branding is just as important as visual branding

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