Categories
Advertising Audience Insights

New Feature: Predictive Baseline Reports!

Have you ever wondered how a given piece of audio will perform, but don’t have the time to run a full test? Perhaps your new TV campaign is launching in 12 hours? Or you’re meeting with the CMO in 20 minutes? Or you’re just debating with a friend over beers who sounds better for voiceover work? (Yes, that happens.)

Introducing the Veritonic Predictive Algorithm. Upload any audio asset or set of assets, and within seconds the platform will give you a prediction for how a General Population audience will score it. If you’re just looking for a quick read, or to settle a bet, you’re done. But if you need results from a specific audience — auto intenders, say, 18-34 year-old females in the Midwest — you can promote the tracks to a full test, with human Marketing Response Data.

How Does It Work?

Veritonic's Predictive Algorithm for Audio Creative Testing

First, the platform identifies what kind of asset is it: an audio ad, a voiceover track, and so on.
This ensures that predictions for voices are always based on voice data, while predictions for audio ads are based on audio ad data.

Then it uses sophisticated Machine Listening technology to compare the audio file to similar assets that the platform has collected data on in the past. The evaluation looks at the characteristics of the audio file, including the sound frequencies in the file, volume, and more, all using cutting-edge digital signal processing approaches. The algorithm then looks at the historical scores for specific attributes.

Lastly, the platform returns these attribute scores, along with an overall score, in a Baseline Report: the same easy-to-read report style that tests with human Marketing Response Data are presented in, along with the ability to then create a test if necessary.

Where Do I Find It?

The predictive algorithm is now built into the standard test-building process. This means that to create a Baseline Report, simply click on the “New Report” button in the left-hand nav. Follow the directions to upload tracks and you’re on your way.

Veritonic Predictive Baseline Reporting for Audio Creative

What If I Want Different Attributes?

To maximize the training data set behind the Machine Listening algorithms, we’ve limited this initial release to the most common attributes our clients have used to test assets. Over time, as we refine the algorithms and grow the database we expect the set of attributes available in Baseline Reports to grow.

What If I Need A Specific Audience?

As with the set of initial attributes, we’ve limited the predictions to a General Population (GenPop) audience to maximize the system’s accuracy. If you need a specific audience, you can quickly promote it to a full test.

What Else Do I Need To Know?

You’re all set! This functionality is live in all Veritonic client accounts. If you have further questions or feedback, please contact your account manager or the client success team. We’d love to hear from you!

New to Veritonic? Get Started with Baseline Reports

Fill out the form below to get started using Baseline Reports for audio effectiveness analytics.

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Categories
Audience Insights Branding

What’s That Sound?
Comparisons of Consumer Electronics, Media & Gaming Audio Logos

Veritonic Comparisons of Consumer Electronics, Media & Gaming Audio LogosWe live in a connected world, and consumer appetite for entertainment content across devices is driving many of the technical advancements we enjoy today. I’m old enough to remember adjusting the rabbit ears on the family black and white TV. Not long ago I watched an NFL Playoff game on my phone while in line for a bus tour of the Kennedy Space Center, and the advancement of the technology still amazes me. The Kennedy Space Center was pretty impressive too.

It was the Space Age after all, that spawned the Information Age and all the communications technology and connectivity that puts instant access to media, gaming and communications at our fingertips. In this article we look at the Audio signatures of the Consumer Electronics and Media brands of the Veritonic Audio Logo Index. That group is made up of Intel, T-Mobile, AT&T, LG, Netflix, HBO, XBox, and Playstation (Listen below). I’ve grouped these together because they overlap in providing service, technology or content to screen-based devices. They also happen to share a common approach to audio branding.

Unlike the audio branding of other sectors, notably insurance companies, these eight audio logos use no spoken words or mention of their brand, with the lone exception of Playstation.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Despite the lack of verbal cues, Intel and T-Mobile are two of the best performing audio logos in the Index: Intel tied for 1st overall with Nationwide & Farmers Insurance, while T-Mobile finished in a 3rd place tie with McDonalds. That’s some impressive company! Intel & T-Mobile have nowhere near the longevity of Nationwide or Farmers Insurance, but they have clearly found their way into consumers collective consciousness.

Melody vs Sound Effects?

What’s driving the success of Intel and T-Mobile, and the relative underperformance of the others?

The audio logos of these 8 brands clearly fall into two categories:

  1. Those that are musical or use melodic tones (Intel, LG, AT&T and T-Mobile), and
  2. Those that can best be best described as utilizing sound effects (Netflix, HBO, XBox, and Playstation)

Comparing the emotional engagement, likeability and recall rates of musical audio logos vs. sound effect logos, the musical logos of Intel, LG, AT&T and T-Mobile consistently outperform HBO, Netflix, Playstation and XBox. In fact, in almost every way we slice the data – gender, age, income and geography – the 4 musical audio logos outperform the 4 sound effects.

Results across US General Population
Results Across US General Population

Consumer Affinity Driving Results? Nope.

Veritonic Comparisons of Consumer Electronics, Media & Gaming Audio LogosYou might expect the broad and deep consumer affinity for services like Netflix & HBO would positively affect their overall audio logo rankings, particularly against brands with lesser known audio logos like LG and AT&T. But Netflix maintains a solid hold on last place among this group and a ranking of 20th out of the 25 audio logos in the broader index.

Game over? Not quite, because Netflix & HBO produce the two highest scores for Excited (shown above) not just in this set, but in the entire Audio Logo Index. There are lots of ways to win with audio branding, and an Entertainment brand triggering excitement, even without recognition is certainly one of them.

Industry & Brand Association – Right Church, Wrong Pew

The Audio Logo Index data for industry and brand identification reveals some interesting but not unexpected associations. Our findings indicate that people generally make an accurate association between the logo sound they hear and the industry it comes from, but not a specific brand.

Comparisons of Consumer Electronics, Media & Gaming Audio LogosIn this case, the Consumer Electronics & Media and Entertainment Industries were accurately chosen from a list of 19 possible categories more than 50% of the time. Five of these eight brands had industry association rates of 50% or higher. T-Mobile had the highest industry recognition rate with 59%, LG lowest with 37%. The other two brands with Industry association below 50%: HBO 49% and Netflix 46%.

This is the power and beauty of sound. It creates a mood or emotion very subtly but effectively. Watch a televangelist broadcast, and you’ll notice that the music and singing is constant throughout and outpaces the time spent preaching by 100 to 1. It’s a sing-a-long concert that relies on a full band and multiple vocalists to inspire the congregation and keep emotions stirred up. It doesn’t matter which pew its experienced from, only that the feelings and emotions are associated with church.

Your industry is your church, and music and sound can be a key to opening the wallets of the congregation. Don’t ignore it. When the congregation is singing your brand anthem you’ve made a permanent emotional connection that you can’t put a price on.

Consumer Electronics, Media & Gaming Audio Logos

Intel
83
T-Mobile
80
LG
76
AT&T
74
Xbox
69
HBO
66
PlayStation
65
Netflix
64

Veritonic








Categories
Advertising Audience Insights

Key Takeaways from the Westwood One Sports Sound Awards

In its fifth annual Sports Sound Awards, Westwood One used Veritonic to test the audio effectiveness of advertisers in their Super Bowl Broadcast to determine purchase intent and the feelings and emotions associated with the ad.

Here’s what Veritonic client WWO found:

  • “Clothing, quick service restaurants, and auto aftermarket were the most likeable”
  • “Quick service restaurants, home improvement, and auto aftermarket scored high in trustworthiness”
  • “Great audio creative causes purchase desire”
  • “Millennials respond positively to great ads”
  • “Responses to ads differ between males and females while highest ranked categories were similar”
  • “Westwood One is the authority on effective creative”

Visit Westwood One’s Blog to read the full analysis.

Categories
Audience Insights Branding

Total Recall: Veritonic’s Groundbreaking 2016 Audio Logo Index

How Veritonic’s Report On Audio Logos Was The Best Kept Secret In Branding Last Year

In 2016, Veritonic introduced the groundbreaking Audio Logo Index, an innovative study that investigated the marketing impact of the world’s top audio logos and jingles, an often overlooked facet of branding campaigns. For the first time, marketers could analyze the effectiveness of a company’s sonic branding by studying 25 well-known brands, including Nationwide, AT&T, and BMW. Check out the 2016 Audio Logo Index here.

Using Veritonic’s patent-pending technology and methodology, the influential report provided a new way of evaluating audio logos: Marketers could now examine these audio logos using objective, comprehensive, and authoritative measurements.

The Audio Logo Index also revealed how important sonic branding is to savvy marketers, who are taking advantage of audio to brand their companies, their products and even their experiences. The Audio Logo Index provided those marketers, brands and agencies with a new level of understanding by measuring how their sounds (or prospective sounds) stacked up.

It’s why Lara O’Reilly wrote, in her Business Insider story on the Index: “For some brands, an audio logo is just as important as a visual one.

How The Index Was Produced

Producing the Veritonic Audio Logo IndexTo produce the report on the Audio Index, Veritonic’s panel of experts identified 25 top audio logos from brands active within the US. The audio logos included Intel, McDonald’s, BMW and Duracell, representing a broad variety of industries: Tech, Financial Services, CPG, QSR, Automotive, and more.

Veritonic’s platform was used to identify a census-representative panel of over 2000 respondents, and to collect marketing response and engagement data from them.

Powerful Insights

Published at the beginning of November in 2016, the resulting research contained some powerful insights for marketers thinking about how their brands can leverage audio:

  • The Sound of Spending: In many markets, there was a clear correlation between marketing spend and how well an audio logo performs.
  • How We Hear Failure: However, there was a wide variation in performance by sector. Some sectors known for big spending simply failed to break through with consumers, and one of the biggest advertisers, automotive, fared the worst.
  • Long Live The King: Newer audio logos generally underperformed. (It will be intriguing to see if they close the gap in 2017?)

Will these trends continue in 2017?

The Power of Audio

Veritonic and the Power of AudioOther forces are at work that will increase the importance of audio to marketers. For example, the rise of streaming is changing the game for big advertisers. Consumers are abandoning traditional media formats, like broadcast TV, for on-demand media formats, like streaming music and over-the-top video sites like Netflix.

And the trends outlined by our partner, Pandora, will continue. For instance, “voice is the new touch.” Collectively, these changes are driving new formats for ads and will force brands to develop new strategies for reaching consumers.

Preview of 2017

The 2017 version of the index will be even more powerful than last year’s groundbreaking version.

Most notably, we’re including a UK index for the first time ever. It will share some global audio logos (Intel, McDonalds, etc.) with the US, but will also have a unique set of iconic British audio logos.

Second, we’ve updated the set of audio logos being indexed. Many remain the same, giving us a great baseline year-over-year. However, we’ve added more brands and sectors based on the trends we’ve been observing in the marketplace.

Will we see the same trends? Results will be live the week following Thanksgiving. Please subscribe to be alerted, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Categories
Audience Insights Branding

Do You Know What an Audio Logo Is?

Marketers and consumers alike recognize the importance of visual logos. Now, it’s time for them to hear the power of audio logos.

If you asked most people what a logo is, they’d most likely mention examples that quickly come to mind, such as McDonald’s golden arches, Apple’s bitten apple, or BMW’s quartered circle. Their responses would probably be instantaneous, since these iconic logos are hardwired into our collective subconscious at this point, which speaks to the success of those marketing efforts.

Intel Audio Logo
Intel Audio Logo

Yet, ask those same people what an audio logo is and they’ll probably have more trouble providing examples. Part of this is awareness. They don’t know what an audio logo is. But most would have no problem humming the chimes of Intel’s iconic audio logo (“Bong…bong bong bong bong!”) or other audio logos they’ve heard over the years. And it’s this recall of a pattern of notes, which has an almost Pavlovian quality to it in our culture, that marketing and branding executives find powerful and provocative.

“Audio has always been a powerful component in ad and marketing campaigns,” says Veritonic’s Scott Simonelli. “However, as audio technology expands into new areas that are already being consumed by listeners, including streaming music services, online video, and even VR platforms, audio will be profoundly important for marketers and brand executives, who will want analytics and metrics to measure if those audio clips are indeed resonating with target audiences.”

“An Audio logo Is To The Ear What A Visual Logo Is To The Eye”

“An Audio logo is to the ear what a visual logo is to the eye,” explains Steve Keller, CEO and chief strategist at leading audio branding consultancy iV Audio Branding. Audio branding expert John “Scrapper” Sneider, Executive Producer and Managing Partner, Storefront Music, defines audio logos as “a sound or combination of notes… that brands a product or company.”

Music StudioIn the UK, Laura Grzeszczak, project manager for Massive Music, says, “An audio logo represents the essence of the brand within sound.” For Charles Gadsdon, head of creative development also at Massive Music, an audio logo has an expansive quality to it. “I think what’s important to note is the difference between a jingle and an audio logo. A jingle is a melodic piece. But an audio logo is something that might have a more sound-design quality to it. Or it might have what’s called ‘onomatopoeic sound’. For example, the way Twitter uses the word ‘tweet’ and also uses whistling audio in their mobile app to indicate you’ve sent a tweet, which sounds like a bird tweeting.”

Why do they matter? Call them jingles, mnenomics, or sonic branding, these short progressions of sounds, notes or chords are one of the most powerful weapons in the marketer’s arsenal.

The Best Marketers In The World Use Audio

Our brains are always processing sound, which is why research has shown time and time again the deep connections between music and brain. Thus it’s no surprise that some of the best marketers in the world take advantage of this to promote their brands.

Key Findings from the Veritonic Audio Logo Index
Results from the 2016 Veritonic Audio Logo Index

To measure the effectiveness of these marketing tools, Veritonic created the ground-breaking Audio Logo Index. The 2016 version of the Audio Logo Index put 25 top-performing audio logos in the United States through Veritonic’s Audio Effectiveness Platform, to quantitatively measure the emotional resonance, engagement and recall of these brand assets. After processing by Veritonic’s Machine Listening Algorithms, over 7000 panelists evaluated the audio logos inside of a custom online environment.

The selected Audio Logos covered a variety of sectors: Telecommunications (Telco), Technology, Quick-Serve Restaurants (QSR), Financial Services, Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), Automotive, and a catch-all “Other”. This enabled the platform to create both individual scores as well as industry-wide benchmarks.

The 2017 version of the Audio Logo Index will be even more exciting: for the first time ever, it will include a UK-specific set of audio logos!

Additionally, this year’s set of audio logos was curated by panels of experts in both countries. In the US, participants were:

In the UK, roundtable participants were:

  • John Hale, Senior Creative Copywriter, Global
  • Clare Bowen, Head of Creative Development, Radiocentre
  • Keelan Doyle, Creative Producer, Massive Music
  • Laura Grzeszczak, Client Services and Project Manager, Massive Music
  • Matt Hill, Research and Planning Director, Thinkbox

Results will be live the week following Thanksgiving. Please subscribe to be alerted, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Categories
Advertising Audience Insights Branding

Pandora’s Definitive Guide to Audio

Veritonic’s own Scott Simonelli recently spoke at Pandora’s “Turn It Up” event in Chicago. The conference, Pandora’s thought leadership event, highlighted the Power Of Audio. Scott’s presentation reinforced the key tenets of how to make effective audio ads. Steve Keller of iV Audio Branding demonstrated how sound and psychology interact with each other. And speakers from Pandora highlighted key trends in the audio advertising market.

Download Pandora’s 2017 Definitive Guide to Audio, and learn:

  • How streaming is changing the face of radio
  • About apps and the impact of podcasting
  • Why voice is the new touch

Download Now

Categories
Audience Insights Branding

Defying Dissonance: How Music Creates Harmony Within the Cacophony of the Brain

Enjoy this article? Grab the infographic!

We are all familiar with the power of music: a song blasts through your ear buds and shoots adrenaline through your body, sending a jolt down your spine, willing your legs to keep running. Or maybe you play a soothing Mozart track to relax after work. There is no denying that music has immense power over our bodies and minds.

How are these invisible and intangible sound waves able to have such a powerful impact on us? The power of music lies in the way that it affects our brains.

To maximize the effectiveness of audio, let’s understand the myriad structures and pathways involved in our brain’s response to music.

Where It All Begins

Pathway of Sound through the ear

Sound waves hit the ear’s tympanic membrane and are converted to vibrations. These vibrations produce pressure waves inside the ear. The pressure waves get funneled through the inner ear to the cochlea, a hollow chamber of bone that focuses the pressure waves onto a thin membrane called the Organ of Corti. Tiny hair cells sit on the membrane, and the pressure waves cause these hair cells to release neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters in turn send electrical impulses along the cochlear nerve to the auditory cortex.

Giving Sound Meaning: The Auditory Cortices

Areas of the brain that respond to sound

The auditory cortex is the gateway of the listening process. It’s responsible for the processing of these basic audio impulses into meaningful insights for the brain. Neurons in the core of the cortex respond to different types of frequencies, pitches and volumes, while cells in the outer regions process intricate factors such as melody and beat.

The auditory cortex also helps to associate sound with memory. The superior temporal gyrus, associated with memory retrieval, surrounds the auditory cortex and is tightly connected with it. This symbiosis leads to our ability to hold songs and other audio in our working memory.

Two pathways crucial to speech and language functioning are located adjacent to the primary auditory cortex:

Wernicke’s area regulates an individual’s ability to process speech that we hear. Located in the superior temporal gyrus of the temporal lobe, the region is responsible for comprehension of language.

Power of Music in Advertising with Veritonic

Broca’s area is separately located in the posterior (rear) of the inferior frontal gyrus. At the crossroads of sound organization and speaking regulation, Broca’s area is the well-known site of language production and is responsible for an individual’s movements required to speak.

These signals then get processed by the prefrontal Cortex, the “decision maker” of the brain. The prefrontal cortex takes actions like evaluating the factual words of an ad, and deciding to act on an ad’s message.

Once all these sounds — still in the form of electrical impulses flowing along neurons — are processed into brain language, they are contextualized and start igniting a concrete psychophysical response.

While all sound passes through the auditory cortices, some structures are only involved in specific functions.

Selective Attention and Memory

Areas of the brain that interpret sound

The Cerebellum

At the back of the skull is the cerebellum, important for motor functions and for its lesser-praised sensory input duties. Depending on the sound’s pleasantness, the cerebellum can intensify certain neural responses, which we experience as ‘selective attention’. The cerebellum also enables the brain to predict possible incoming audio signals, based on patterns and past sensations.

Sound familiarity is any advertiser’s golden ticket when it comes to ad recognition. This makes the cerebellum, and its ability to selectively amplify pleasant audio, critical to marketers.

Hippocampus

The powerhouse of memory, the hippocampus receives fully processed sound inputs primed for retention and links them with other responses of the listener. This solidifies the connection between sound and emotion. This is why hippocampal neurons fire when we hear music that we know: as much as we are listening to it, we are remembering how it made us feel!

Emotional Response

Remember that ‘chills-down-the-spine’ feeling we talked about? We can thank the mesolimbic pathway (also known as the reward pathway) for that. The pathway starts with the nuclear accumbens, whose neural network between the hippocampus helps the listener to internalize Pavlovian stimulus-reward relationships. It does this by synthesizing the “happiness” neurotransmitter dopamine.

Emotional Response of Music in Advertising

Unsurprisingly, the NA is thought to be the heart of reward in the brain. This influences drive and goal-directed motor behaviors such as desire for a product, and, via the classical conditioning process, activates during passive listening of ad audio.

The dopamine synthesized in the NA binds with receptors in the striatum. These receptors get activated when we eat good food, enjoy sex, or listen to pleasurable music. Notably, the striatum’s dorsal side is the destination of another circuit, the motivation-inducing glutamatergic pathway, which triggers goal-directed behavior and action responses.

For ads, the amount of dopamine reaching the striatum controls desire to seek out rewards and pursue goals, a crucial checkpoint enabling a listener to purchase a product.

As the destination of the two neurotransmitter pathways — one inducing happiness and the other sparking motivation — the striatum’s regulation of cognition and reward perception is a vital function in transforming a listener into consumer.

Amygdala

Another vital structure for emotional response to music is the amygdala. The amygdala functions like the striatum in that it receives impulses from the auditory cortex and determines the emotional reaction to sounds. The difference, however, is that amygdala activity and striatum activity are thought to be inverse. Activity in the amygdala decreases dramatically when listeners engage with pleasant music and “chills” intensity, When striatum activity is at its highest. As a result, the amygdala is associated with fear and other negative emotions.

Advertisers should seek to inhibit amygdala activity overall, minimizing inhibition and risk-aversion, promoting a more positive emotional response that help make a brand image last in positive light.

Hypothalamus

The final region regulating emotional response in the brain is the hypothalamus. Upon hearing certain music types, the hypothalamus will increase secretions of adrenaline and oxytocin throughout the brain. Adrenaline controls the “fight or flight” response, while oxytocin is sometimes called “the love hormone,” the catalyst of feelings like empathy.

Starting Like Cacophony, Ending in Euphony

Music has phenomenal impact on our brains. While it may seem like a part of everyday living, once it enters our brains, audio is processed in our brains by fantastically complex pathways and structures to create speech and music. These elicit a vast spectrum of emotional reactions. Understanding these pathways can help marketers use audio more effectively.

Enjoyed this article? Grab the infographic, or check it out below!

How the brain turns sound into emotion and meaning - Veritonic

Categories
Audience Insights Branding

A Game of Tones: How well do you know your football networks?

Veritonic Game of Tones - Know Your Networks

Football relies on sights AND sounds. Read on to learn about the NFL telecast music from 5 networks. Then take the quiz to see how YOU score!

Now that football season is under way, it’s time to announce a new audio champion: FOX has the best brand recognition for its NFL broadcast music.

Veritonic Brand Recognition by Network
© Veritonic 2017. Source: Veritonic

As you can see from Veritonic’s proprietary panel research, Fox has a slight lead over ESPN for the most identifiable theme music.

Methodology

Veritonic’s platform gathered Marketing Response Data from a census-representative panel of over 300 Americans in August, prior to the beginning of the football season, to see what emotions and feelings each network’s football telecast theme music evoked. The platform also examined the aided brand recall for each track.

What Did We Learn?

The first and most obvious takeaway is that there are two clear leaders: Fox and ESPN (current home of the venerable Monday Night Football franchise), and everyone else. Panelists were able to correctly associate their theme music 21% and 20% of the time, respectively.

Second, brand awareness for the individual networks (other than Fox) is relatively low. Even Fox and ESPN’s MNF music are associated with the wrong network 80% of the time.

Veritonic Network Brand Associations
© Veritonic 2017. Source: Veritonic

In fact, more respondents thought that Monday Night Football was the telecast music for NBC, CBS and the NFL Network than correctly identified those network’s actual music!

These brand associations are occurring in spite of the fact that each track is played dozens of times during each broadcast, and literally hundreds of times across each season.

What conclusions can we draw from this?

Longevity Matters

The Monday Night Football music has been essentially unchanged since inception. It’s even stayed the same as the franchise moved across networks.

Repetitions Count

The Fox music is also notable for being the same music that Fox uses for MLB baseball and for Nascar. That’s several hundred additional chances the Fox music has throughout the year to ingrain itself with the audience.

Next, Take The Quiz

Now it’s YOUR turn. Take the quiz below to see how well you can identify each network’s music.

We’ll keep the poll open throughout the football season. Check back to see if the brand associations change over the course of the season!

Match the Audio Logo to the Network

Listen

Track A
Track B
Track C
Track D
Track E

Match

We’ve closed the quiz.

If you’ve already submitted results, thanks for playing!
If not, listen to the tracks on the left, then check out the answers below!

  1. Track A: CBS
  2. Track B: ESPN
  3. Track C: FOX
  4. Track D: NBC
  5. Track E: NFL




Categories
Advertising Audience Insights

Money Talks: 5 Insights from Financial Advertising Audience Data

Veritonic Financial Industry Ad Index

Financial services is one of the biggest industries in the United States. It’s also, not coincidentally, one of the biggest advertisers. Marketers advertising financial products spent $17.1 billion in 2016, which is predicted to rise to $19.7 billion in 2017.

Was this advertising a sound investment? Most of the ads were undoubtedly tested with a variety of market research tools, including traditional advertising effectiveness techniques. But no one asked how well the audio in each ad actually evoked the emotions each company was aiming for.

That’s because music and audio for advertising has resisted measurement — until now. The complexity and subjectivity of audio requires marketers to apply new tools and techniques to evaluate their effectiveness. Fortunately, advancements in technology and market research are enabling this type of insight.

We applied Veritonic’s patent-pending technology and methodology to test ads from 20 of America’s largest financial institutions across retail banking, credit card, and investing segments. We measured emotional resonance and audience engagement across 8 different emotions from more than 3500 US Consumers.

This report shares what we learned, including the critical role that aspirational storytelling plays in driving successful financial services advertising.

Methodology

20 diverse financial institutions were selected to represent difference sectors of the industry, including retail banking, credit card issuance, asset management, and online trading.

Over 3500 panelists were surveyed in June, 2017. The panel was carefully modeled to reflect US Census-representative distributions of age, gender, ethnicity and race. Household income and data about a variety of other demographic and psychographic factors were also collected.

Panelists were asked to record their emotions as the ads played. Panelists were then asked about a generalized basket of other feelings and associations the music and ads evoked.

All emotions and engagement were tracked using Veritonic’s patent-pending EchoTime™ technology.

Finally, scores were calculated using a proprietary algorithm that combines emotional response, engagement, and Veritonic’s EchoTime™ data.

Findings

What did we learn?

The American Dream is alive and well, and driving US consumer attitudes.

The American Dream is alive and well, and driving US consumer attitudes.

Three of the 20 spots tested featured homeownership themes. Those 3 spots — from PNC, RBC and US Bank — not only ended up in a three-way tie for top score (77), they consistently received the highest scores across age, income, gender and geography.

The top scores in each sub-category are similar.

Across the three subcategories we looked at — Credit Cards, Banks, and Asset Managers — the top scores were quite similar. The top score for Banks was a 77 (recorded, as noted above, by PNC, RBC and US Bank), while the top score for Credit Cards was a 76 (American Express) and for Asset Managers was a 74 (USAA).

The top scores in each sub-category are similar.
Lowest overall scores for TRUSTWORTHY.

Lowest overall scores for TRUSTWORTHY.

But it’s not all good news: in spite of their ability to evoke Happy, Trustworthy is the lowest overall category. In a sense, this is unsurprising, given the press financial institutions generally receive. It’s also concerning, given both the relatively low differentiation between institutions, and the relatively high spend on marketing.

MUCH bigger variance than Quick-Serve Restaurants.

Comparing the scores with Veritonic’s Quick-Serve Restaurant (QSR) index, the financial services spots we surveyed have a VERY wide variance in scores. The difference between the top and bottom overall scores is 22 points (from a high of 77 to a low of 55). QSR spots, by contrast, have a much tighter range. That is, they have lower high end and higher low end, with a spread of only 10 points (from 76 to 66).

MUCH bigger variance than Quick-Serve Restaurants.
LICENSED MUSIC is NOT a Guarantee of Success.

LICENSED MUSIC is NOT a Guarantee of Success.

Three of the spots tested licensed well-known music for use in the ad. Santander used Joe Cocker’s “Feelin Alright”; Eastern Bank used “Join Together” by The Who; and SunTrust used the well-known song “Move on Up” by Curtis Mayfield. Santander scored a relatively poor 67 overall, while Eastern Bank and SunTrust tied with a 71.

To get the full analysis, or to include your ad in the next Financial Services Index report, please fill out the form.

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Results

1. US Bank

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
77
76
78
76

2. PNC

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
77
80
80
72

3. RBC

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
77
74
78
78

4. American Express

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
76
76
78
74

5. USAA

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
74
72
76
76
This report includes detailed data for the top 5 brands tested. If you’d like details on other brands or attributes, or to have your brand analyzed, please contact us.

6. SunTrust

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
71
74
76
65

7. Eastern Bank

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
71
68
76
70

8. Fifth Third Bank

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
71
70
72
72

9. Chase

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
69
70
72
65

10. Ally Bank

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
68
70
72
62

11. Discover

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
67
65
72
65

12. ETRADE

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
67
65
65
68

13. Santander

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
67
65
72
65

14. Citi

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
66
64
72
64

15. Fidelity

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
65
64
65
65

16. Bank of America

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
65
60
72
64

17. Wells Fargo

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
61
55
60
62

18. TD Bank

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
61
60
65
62

19. Charles Schwab

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
60
57
62
60

20. Capital One

Overall Score Excited Happy Authentic
55
54
57
54
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Advertising Audience Insights

Missing the Mark(et): A Survey of the Underutilized Bond Between Music and Advertising

One study after the next proves that sound is fundamental to a successful advertising campaign. The sad truth about this, however, is that marketers spend only 12% of their budgeting on audio.[i]

Until now, no-one could easily evaluate the best audio to use in a cost-effective way. So gut feel has been a prime driver for the music and other audio used in ads. Because no scientific justification has been possible, sometimes the choice for a marketer between an expensive audio track and a cheaper one comes down to looking at the budget available. Effectively, there’s no “sound” argument for allocating budget!

Let’s delve deeper into the theories and research that prove that 12% just doesn’t cut it.

Listen to the Numbers

No matter the product, a marketer’s end goal is always to grow a memorable brand. This is done largely through creating influential ads that evoke enough interest and emotion in the product such that the audience will buy it. So, if the goal is maximizing consumer impact, marketers need to consider sensory depth, or the way that our senses complement each other to create a complete, and therefore more impactful perception of stimuli.

Veritonic - Listen to the NumbersAnd because marketers are confined to using only two of the five human senses, (sadly we aren’t advanced enough to advertise at scale through touch, taste and smell… yet), marketers and customers insights professionals must depend on the visual-auditory dynamic.

And there is strong evidence that when properly executed, music and visuals work together to improve marketing results. Oxford professor Charles Spence found that complementary sound heightens the impact of visual communication by over 1000%. However, a poorly compatible sound decreases the effects of visuals by 86%.[ii]

TAKEAWAY: There’s overwhelming evidence that sound raises the value of an advertisement. Yet marketers continue to allocate budget as if sound doesn’t matter.

Classical Conditioning

Customer insights and marketing professionals know all about classical conditioning, also known as Pavlovian conditioning. This is the process of pairing a product with a well-liked piece of music to generate a preference for the product. This creates a new association between the two factors, the music (with positive associations) and the product (which may be unknown). The converse also applies; neutral products accompanied by undesirable sensations generate an adverse association with the original neutral product.

Classical Conditioning with SoundIn 1982, Gerald Gorn performed the hallmark study that developed this framework.[iii] He paired an advertisement for a neutral colored pen – either light blue or beige – with both pleasant and unpleasant music. His test subjects were asked to pick a pen after being exposed to an ad with one or the other versions of the music. He found that the color of pen the subjects selected was heavily influenced by the music the subject was exposed: the color paired with the well-liked music was 79% more likely to be selected than the color paired with unpleasant music.

TAKEAWAY: An effective way to create positive interest is to complement the product with likeable music.

Peripheral Processing and Low Involvement Ads

One of the best ways to create these positive impressions — for, say, a product in an ad — is through peripheral cues. These are the features of an advertisement that are not the conveyed information about the product, like copy. Examples of peripheral cues in ads are background music, or the voice and appearance of a spokesperson appearing in the ad.

Veritonic Peripheral Sound in AdvertisingHow do we know this? In 1989, Judy and Mark I. Alpert showed that background music influences product choice through mood inducement.[iv] Other researchers like University of Freiburg professor Mark Zander similarly found that music can convey information about the brand or product being advertised in ways that words cannot.[v] And Debra Riley and Mark Andersen found that in low-involvement ads, or ads in situations that are unlikely to receive focused attention (such as at the end of a long sequence of commercials), the product-relevant information actually takes a backseat to the peripheral persuasion cues.[vi]

Simply put, these researchers have proved that music can and does distort the perception of brand or product irrespective of the portrayal of the product quality itself. Esteemed University of Leicester psychologist Adrian North has rooted years of research into this exact theory.[vii]

TAKEAWAY: For those who still think sound doesn’t matter: Yikes.

Musical Fit and Congruence

Veritonic helps with musical fit in advertisingMusic has an impact on “high involvement” ads too. These ads work on consumers through the active cognition process of the listener, or the method in which we rationally consider and internalize information presented to us, a distinction put forth by Richard Petty, Tom Cacioppo and David Schumann in 1983.[viii] Music supports these ads through “Musical fit,” or the music’s relevance to or reinforcement of the ad’s central message.

In 1991, Deborah MacInnis and C. Whan Park found that a high musical fit aids in ingraining the basic brand message and product in the listener’s mind.[ix] They also found that it can positively impact how the product information is perceived. This congruence, or the degree to which the musical choice suits the central ad message, bypasses conditional responses and directly amplifies the likeability of the advertisement itself.

TAKEAWAY: No matter the ad, music can reinforce and amplify its message.

Congruency and Likeability Matter. Familiarity Does Not?

Congruency and Familiarity in music in advertisingMichael Blecha of Butler University posits that congruency is not just about picking a great song, but rather about perfecting its interaction with the ad.[x] Congruency increases the more the song suits the content of the advertisement. Blecha examined the role of three factors of a soundtrack and assessed how much they really mattered: music congruency, likeability, and familiarity. Congruency and likeability increased product interest and ad favorability. However, the relationship between music familiarity and positive response was not statistically significant.

It makes sense: creating an interest in a brand or product is not an unprovoked endeavor. Audiences will only choose to learn more or purchase a product if the ad activates an urge in them to do so.

TAKEAWAY: Engagement requires either an emotional connection to an advertisement via a pleasant sound, or a rational connection between the sound and the message.

So How Can Marketers Use Music to Amplify Their Messages?

Music in advertising takeaways from VeritonicThere are two main take-outs from the research findings.

  1. First, brands that wish to emphasize utility and product quality, especially in high involvement ads, need to utilize congruent audio to achieve a significant musical fit.
  2. Second, advertisers seeking to increase brand familiarity and popularity in low-involvement spots must utilize classical conditioning through likeable music and periphery cues. However, the subjectivity of musical fitness means it differs between demographics. Thus, it is paramount for brands to pre-test audio tracks for upmost effectiveness and resonance within the target audience.

Finally, it is the market researchers’ responsibility to push the envelope when it comes to quantification of the acoustics-emotion tandem. Most research has focused on quantifying music along the dimensions of Valence (what specific emotions are evoked) and Arousal (how strongly those emotions are evoked). But marketers don’t speak in that way.

Rather, Marketers and Customer Insights professionals need a platform to translate the measurement of music in their marketing into their own language.

Sound matters.

Music and other media of sound have the unmatched ability of evoking emotions in a matter of milliseconds. Some of the best advertisers in the world have long recognized this: Coca Cola, Nationwide, and Kit Kat; the list goes on.

The world is screaming that sound matters… and that’s music to our ears!

Have another great case study to add to this list? Share your suggestions by leaving a comment below.

  1. 12%:Martin Lindstrom, Brand Sense, , https://books.google.com/books?id=tzPrvHf2WIAC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false
  2. Charles Spence: https://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/bitstream/id/466945/Knoeferle%20Multisensory%20brand%20serach%202016.pdf and http://digitalistnetwork.com/audio-branding-if-youre-not-doing-it-youre-failing-at-marketing/
  3. Gerald Gorn,
    The Effects of Music in Advertising on Choice Behavior: A Classical Conditioning ApproachAuthor(s): Gerald J. Gorn Source:  Journal of Marketing,
    Vol. 46, No. 1 (Winter, 1982), pp. 94-101 http://www.academia.edu/11010337/The_Effects_of_Music_in_Advertising_on_Choice_Behavior_A_Classical_Conditioning_Approach
  4. Background Music As an Influence in Consumer Mood and Advertising Responses
    Judy I. Alpert, St. Edwards University
    Mark I. Alpert, The University of Texas at Austin, http://acrwebsite.org/volumes/6949/volumes/v16/NA-16
  5. Musical Influences in Advertising: How music modifies first impressions of product endorsers and brands, Mark F. Zander University of Freiburg, Germany
    http://parc.typepad.com/files/music-in-advertising—mark-zander—psychology-of-music-ms.pdf
  6. Debra Riley and Mark Anderson in 2015
    The impact of music pleasantness and fit on advertising attitudes for low and high involvement consumers
    http://www.mbd.ase.ro/RePEc/aes/icmbdj/2015/ICMBDJ_V1_2015_69.pdf
  7. Adrian North, Uses of Music in Everyday Life http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/mp.2004.22.1.41?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents, http://audio-branding-academy.org/congress/2k09/speaker/prof-dr-adrian-north/
  8. Richard Petty, John T Cacioppo, David Schumann http://www.psy.ohio-state.edu/petty/PDF%20Files/1983-JCR-Petty,Cacioppo,Schumann.pdf
  9. Deborah MacInnis and C. Whan Park, The Differential Role of Characteristics of Music on High and Low Involvement Consumer’s Processing of Ads https://msbfile03.usc.edu/digitalmeasures/macinnis/intellcont/music_high_low91-1.pdf
  10. http://digitalcommons.butler.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1251&context=ugtheses
    Michael Blecha, Butler University 2015