Alexa, audiobooks, and other audio habits are changing how people interact with their environment
Have you heard about Google’s A.I. personal voice assistant?
You’ll now be able to ask Google to schedule appointments for you without having to make the actual arrangement yourself. You just tell Google that you want to schedule a hair cut appointment, a restaurant reservation, or any other arrangement, and Google will call and set it up. In Google’s presentation, the person on the other line of the phone didn’t even realize they were talking to an A.I.!
That’s both scary and amazing.
This voice command example (plus the amazing A.I capabilities) sets the tone on how audio is getting more relevant in today’s world and how it’s changing our behavioral patterns. It’s definitely something you should consider adding to your marketing strategy.
Let’s look at how audio is conquering its way into our lives.
Audio Software Assistant
Big companies are releasing their own help assistants and they mainly operate through the audio input. It’s faster and less tedious than writing down the commands.
Apple has got Siri, Amazon has Alexa, Microsoft has Cortana, and Google well…it’s just called Google Assistant.
Not very creative, but it gets things done.
Kids are doing their homework accompanied by one of these virtual assistants. Teenagers are getting entertained by asking them trivia and silly questions and helping them order food and chose music playlists. Adults are using it to arrange their schedules, book transport tickets, and other work-related things in addition to their usual entertainment assistance.
Note: If you want to know which of these audio assistants works best, Google’s narrowly beats Alexa to be ranked in the first place.
We are relying more and more on them not just to help us out with our errands but also to fill an emotional void. For instance, people in Asia are making strong emotional bonds with these devices and are also helping them cope with their loneliness. It’s quite a different feeling to listen and talk to a machine than typing and reading it.
Sound makes it come alive and feel it like a person.
So audio is reaching even the most intimate parts of our lives and people are becoming more receptive to audio inputs in their everyday routines. They feel more comfortable talking to an A.I and they’re more willing to reduce the amount of time they spend looking at a screen. Just look at all the Google results suggesting ways to reduce your exposure time to digital screens.
People are too much attached to them.
Brands have to become aware of audio’s importance to the consumer and learn how to market themselves sonically. However, they should avoid harming the customer’s experience in the process. Don’t just pile them up of ads that don’t respond to a clear and meaningful marketing strategy.
Think of smart and creative ways to blend in and really contribute to your customer’s audio experience.
For instance, if your company makes running shoes, have music playlists on Spotify available for your customer’s running environment: a calming run by the sea playlist, an urban high paced playlist, and so on. You’re not only giving your client the product (sneakers) but the whole running experience.
What if your company also collaborates with audiobook online shop so you can offer exclusive content to your customers during their running exercise?
And that leads us to our next part.
Audio is getting so intertwined into our lives that as of today, we’re listening to an average of 4 hours of audio a day. And our most preferred place to enjoy this experience? Inside of a car.
When we say audio, this can be a podcast, an audiobook, a talk radio shows, or simply music (which is still the most listening audio domain).
Audiobooks are simply books that are read to you out loud. People have been listening to spoken audio for a while, mainly poetry and plays, and the trend with audiobooks has only recently been increasing quite a lot.
As of 2019, 20% of Americans say they listen to audiobooks, compared to 11% back in 2011. This industry has already surpassed the $1 billion revenue threshold in the US and it has been growing by almost 25% per year since 2017.
But how can a company benefit from this trend?
For starters, a brand could add tasteful ads inside audiobooks that have relevant topics to the company’s line of work. For instance, if you’re in the swimsuit market you could try to add a brief sonic logo in audiobooks that contain your keywords (summer, beach, party), are tailored to your target audience, and end up being advertised in let’s say summer romance audiobook novels.
A company should find clever ways to reach their audience without getting in the way of the “reader’s” listening experience. It has to be appropiate to audiobook’s content and try to make it feel like a natural conclusion or pathway to your product or service.
Other Audio Habits
We can start by mentioning the most futuristic and sci-fi audio habit that comes from none other than Elon Musk. With his company Neuralink, Musk has been working on a way to put music directly to your brain. Don’t mind the ears, just straight into the gray matter.
This step “forward” into becoming cyborgs with implanted microchips will get our brain directly hooked to a variety of audio experiences. Somehow this reminds me of a subplot in a science fiction book by Clarke and Baxter, “The Light of Other Days”. People from the future had microchips implanted in their brains and they behaved like a unitary being because of this interconnectedness. They didn’t have the need to speak since they shared everything through this hardware link in their brains.
Anyway, back to the point at hand.
Another interesting trend portrays how sound is being incorporated in places and situations where there were none before.
Silence is being replaced by sound.
For instance, electric cars are very silent, but this advantage actually causes 40% more pedestrian accidents than with conventional cars. The lack of sound is detrimental in this case. There’s no sound signal to alert people when passing from one sidewalk to another and before they know it, they get hit by a car. So companies are now designing distinctive sounds to make electric cars more visible to pedestrians.
But not just any sound.
Car companies are teaming up with major league composers, like Hans Zimmer, to make their car even more unique. In the case of electric cars, sound is used both for security and aesthetic reasons.
Another interesting field that’s benefited from new sounds is the airline industry. Especially for the inflight food service to enhance the taste of food through sound.
Yes, you heard right.
Certain sounds can boost particular flavors and also diminish others. For instance, studies show that high pitch notes can induce sweetness while low pitch sounds amplify the bitter flavor. Music composers are hired to make a sound ambiance for each meal and bring the best out of each food plate.
We‘re starting to see how brands are turning to sound to create amazing experiences for their customers. And people are lovin’ it!
When is the best time to get onboard this audio revolution? Yesterday.
The second best time is NOW.
We are changing the way we interact with things around us, whether it’s using an A.I. audio assistant, listening to audiobooks, or influencing our driving and food tasting experiences.
And this is only the beginning!
There are so many other applications for sound and music in marketing:
- Relaxing soundscapes in Spas
- Enhancing our purchase intention in retail stores
- Changing our waiting time perception (over the phone or while standing in line)
- Boosting the brand’s recall
- Improving our learning curve
- Amplifying emotional reactions videogames, movies, documentaries, and other audiovisuals.
And so on.
Sight has always been considered the most important of the five senses, but isn’t it time for sound to show what it’s capable of doing too?
Are you curious about the world of sound and music? Learn how music can enhance a plant’s growth, the way sound changes our sense of taste, understand the music industry, and much more! Join my newsletter to embark on this journey of sound awareness.
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