Sounds Like Creativity: Telling Powerful Brand Stories With Audio

There are many ways to tell a powerful brand story. If there wasn’t, there’d be no reason for 15,000 brand leaders to gather in Cannes, France every year to discuss creativity and advertising. Cannes Lions, the “International Festival of Creativity,” is one of the few places where communications, marketing, entertainment, design and tech talent from around the globe gather together to learn, network and celebrate.

Pandora makes the trip every year too. We get to connect with our partners and clients, and host unforgettable events on the Pandora yacht (a private boat we deck out just for conference attendees). But those aren’t the only reasons we get excited to go; Cannes Lions is an opportunity for us to speak with the industry’s best about audio’s unique ability to connect consumers and brands.

And in celebration of Cannes Lions this year, we’re kicking-off a never-been-done blog series that looks at how actual Pandora advertisers have used audio to tell compelling stories across seven key categories: Theater of the Mind, Power of Words, The Human Voice, Sonic Identity, Humor and Character.

Did you know that Americans spend 4 hours a day with audio?[1]

Or how about that 1 in 5 teenagers have earbuds in for over seven hours a day!?[2] As our lives become more connected and more mobile, we naturally end up spending more time with audio content.

We’re seeing brands catch on to this rise in audio too. Even Nielsen now estimates that 79% of audio consumption occurs in moments when visual media cannot reach us.[3] So not only does audio allow marketers to increase their communication with consumers, it also allows them to tell more personalized stories that evoke powerful emotions and engage the imagination.

At Pandora, audio is our bread and butter. So it’s no surprise that we’ve worked tirelessly to perfect the process of delivering a brand story through sound. Over a decade of experience has given us four creative best practices to live by:

1. USE A CONVERSATIONAL TONE Most audio is consumed through earbuds, so there is no need to shout anymore. Consumers will appreciate you more for speaking to them like you would a friend.

2. ADDRESS THE INDIVIDUAL LISTENER Digital audio allows brands to reach millions of people, one listener at a time. So make it personal! A natural tie-in to the platform will make your message stand out as part of the experience, rather than another ad.

3. EMPLOY A CLEAR CALL-TO-ACTION Tell the listener exactly what you want them to do and why. Be specific and straightforward, and they’ll be more likely to follow your direction.

4. COMPLEMENT WITH DISPLAY In an ideal scenario, audio and display go hand-in-hand. Let the audio message deliver the hardworking information, while the display captures the eyes.

Want more audio best practices?

Stay tuned to Pandora for Brands as we examine the many ways brands have created outstanding audio campaigns on the Pandora platform. We’ll look at actual campaign creative--both audio and visual--to decipher exactly what makes them successful.

If you’re already advertising with audio, we hope you’ll pick up some interesting ideas for your next campaign. If you’re not currently working with audio, perhaps we can show you what you’ve been missing out on.

So climb aboard! We’ll guide you through an exciting exploration of creativity any Cannes fanatic would appreciate. It’s everything you need to know about mastering audio advertising. See the series here:

Creating a "Theater of the Mind"

The Power of Words

Storytelling with the Human Voice

Finding Your Sonic Identity

Relating Through Humor

Building a Brand Character

Sources: 1 Edison Research, Share of Ear, Q3 2016 2 Pandora Soundboard 3 Nielsen, IAB Digital Audio Buyers Guide, 2015