maize.INSIGHTS, new trends in audio branding

Our strategic think tank dedicated to researching the latest consumer, industry, and market trends analyzed the role of sound in creating brand identities.

Our cultural factory maize explores the evolution of people and organizations through stories, insights, points of view, and collaborative tools. maize.INSIGHTS showcases a collection of challenging points of view about future scenarios and business opportunities.

One of the most interesting trends recently investigated by our team is aural identities. In a scenario where we are constantly interacting across different touchpoints, both digital and physical, sound plays a strategic role in developing a brand identity more recognizable and capable of engaging consumers emotionally.

The interaction between man and machine relies more and more on audio information, due to the increasing spread of voice assistants. Sound has no language or cultural barrier and gives brands the opportunity to reach out to everyone in a meaningful way.

This trend is confirmed by numbers: last year nearly 112 million people – 1/3 of the US population – used a voice assistant at least monthly on any device (source: Emarketer, 2019) and voice shopping is estimated to hit $40+ billion across U.S. and U.K. by 2022 (source: Tech Crunch, 2019).

An increasing number of brands are investing in their sonic identities:

  • Mastercard spent more than a year in its audio branding, involving agencies, creatives, and musicians all over the world, including Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda; 
  • BMW hired the world-famous composer Hans Zimmer to craft the "BMW IconicSounds Electric", that will give customers the opportunity to experience the joy of driving with all their senses;
  • HSBC in 2019 revealed its sonic identity to the world, a bespoke piece of music composed to help people instantly recognize the bank. They have used the theme, arranged by electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre, in marketing campaigns worldwide, as well in branches, call centers and at sponsored events.