(By Traci Long DeForge) Building an Audio Brand for your business is no longer optional. Audio is taking over social media platforms and even creating new ones like Clubhouse. Apple and Spotify are making significant enhancements to their podcast platforms to enhance discovery for listeners and monetization opportunities for podcasters. Facebook will be offering audio creator tools so you will be able to record audio and edit it within the app soon.
How competitive is your brand identity?
Building your brand identity involves creating assets – your website, social media pages, marketing materials and digital content – all these work in tandem to create consistent messaging to deliver a unified brand experience. The three types of brand assets – visual, video and audio – are equally important when creating brand awareness, defining differentiation and establishing credibility.
Often overlooked is your audio brand. Audio branding is a way to translate your brand attributes and message into distinctive audible elements. The goal is to create a unique audio identity that connects the abstract elements of your brand with your audience. Your audio brand elements include a signature voice, sound, tagline and music you use consistently when promoting your products and services.
Until recently, companies didn’t pay much attention to their audio brand. Everyone was focused on visual and video – but that has changed. 76 million U.S. consumers now own a voice activated speaker (e.g. Amazon, Alexa). With a smart speaker, consumers no longer need their smartphone or computer to search the Internet, play music, podcasts or even make a dinner reservation. The meteoric rise in audio branding is evidenced by the growing increase in podcast advertising. Podcast ad revenues climbed to $842 million in 2020, up from $708 million in the year prior. IAB projects podcasting will see $1 billion in ad revenue in 2021 and $2 billion in 2023.
Instead of interjecting a recorded 15-second traditional radio style advertisement, brands are asking podcasters to read their ads live instead. A study from Nielsen found that host-read podcast ads were “significantly more likely to be described by respondents as authentic and believable, and less likely to seem as forced.” Over 63% of podcast ads were host-read in 2019 (IAC/PwC study), allowing brands to leverage podcast hosts’ credibility with their audiences.
Podcasting reaches your target market.
Now there are over 2,000,000 active podcasts and 47 million episodes in more than 100 different languages. That’s an increase of 55% in podcasts (550,000) and 53% in episodes (18.5 million) in one year from 2019 -2020. The number of people that know what a podcast is has also grown in the past few years to 78% of the U.S. population or 222 million people, after hovering around 45% from 2009-2015.
According to Edison Research, an estimated 162 million Americans – over 57% – have listened to a podcast at least once, and 116 million – or 41% – tune in every month. Weekly listeners have climbed from 24% of the population in 2020 to 28% today. An estimated 104 million Americans have listened to a podcast in the last month and 68 million have become weekly listeners in the U.S. over the past year.
Podcast listeners have the highest engagement of any marketing channel based on the statistics reflecting 80% listen to all or most of the episode. This is HUGE – especially in comparison to video. While video has been a preferred method for consumers to learn about a brand’s products and services, video engagement is not nearly as high as podcasts. According to Hubspot, the average video is 4 minutes 20 seconds, and only 37% of viewers watch all the way to the end.
Podcasts are the most powerful way to build an audio brand.
A well-crafted podcast can elevate you from the competition. It serves as the audio version of your brand by being an effective tool to build trust, loyalty and consumer confidence. By hosting your own podcast, customers feel closer to you and your business. They learn more about the voice behind the business, and they want to do business with you. It opens up a line of communication between you and your target market. Businesses can use podcasting as a way to get feedback, speak directly to customer service issues, offer behind the scenes insights and build relationships with those who are doing business with you.