Using Earcons to Enhance Branded Voice Experiences





Blog Date

June 6, 2024


UK, Manchester

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Table of Contents

Using Earcons to Enhance Branded Voice Experiences

The Rise of the Voice-Enabled World

Have you ever wondered why we humans are so fascinated by voice-enabled technology? I certainly have. As an avid listener of podcasts and a frequent user of voice assistants, I’ve become increasingly intrigued by the ways in which brands are leveraging this burgeoning medium to connect with consumers.

One of the most exciting developments in this space is the use of earcons – those short, distinct sounds that we associate with specific brands or actions. These aural icons have the power to elevate the voice experience, creating a more immersive and memorable interaction for the user. And as the SEO agency in Manchester, UK that specializes in helping brands navigate the ever-evolving digital landscape, I’m particularly fascinated by how earcons can be used to enhance branded voice experiences.

The Rise of Voice Commerce

As the rise of voice-enabled technology continues to reshape consumer behavior, the CPG (consumer packaged goods) sector has had to rethink its approach to sales and marketing. With more and more people turning to voice assistants for their weekly grocery planning and purchases, brands are recognizing the need to establish a consistent sound identity to stand out in this expanding retail territory.

In fact, research shows that 31% of US smart speaker owners are already ordering groceries via voice, and voice commerce shopping is projected to reach a staggering $40 billion by 2022. That’s a lot of potential for brands to capture the attention and loyalty of consumers through the strategic use of earcons.

The Power of Sonic Branding

But it’s not just in the realm of voice commerce that earcons can make a big impact. As brick-and-mortar business continues to shrink due to the prominence of ecommerce, CPG brands have had to find new ways to connect with their audience. And sound, as it turns out, is a powerful tool in this regard.

Jingles have long been a part of the CPG brand arsenal, using catchy melodies to capture attention and create a memorable association. But as the digital landscape has evolved, these sonic branding elements have become more subtle and diverse. Enter the earcon – a shorter, more distinct sound that can be used across a variety of content formats, from social media ads to mobile and voice app experiences.

Earcons in Action

Imagine you’re browsing your favorite social media platform, and a short ad for a new laundry detergent pops up. As the visuals flash by, a familiar sound cue catches your attention – a crisp, rhythmic “ding” that you immediately recognize as the brand’s signature earcon. This audio trigger not only helps the ad stand out in the crowded digital space, but it also serves to reinforce the brand’s identity and messaging, even in the limited time frame of a typical social media ad.

Now, let’s say you’ve downloaded the brand’s mobile app and are using it to manage your household chores. As you add a new item to your shopping list, a subtle “bloop” sound confirms the action, reassuring you that the task has been completed. This earcon, tailored specifically for the in-app experience, helps to create a cohesive and intuitive user experience, seamlessly integrating the brand’s sonic identity into the digital touchpoint.

The Future of Earcons

As the voice assistant landscape continues to evolve, earcons are poised to play an even more significant role in shaping the user experience. These short, distinctive sounds can be used to cue users to important information, provide confirmation for purchases, and even help to bridge the “turn-taking” gaps that can sometimes occur in voice-based interactions.

Imagine a scenario where you’re browsing a voice-enabled grocery app, adding items to your cart with a simple voice command. As each item is added, a unique earcon sounds, letting you know that the request has been successful. This not only helps to create a more seamless and responsive experience, but it also reinforces the brand’s identity, making the interaction more memorable and engaging for the user.

The Future is Sonic

As we look to the future of consumer engagement, it’s clear that sound is going to play an increasingly important role. Whether it’s the familiar jingle that sparks nostalgia, the subtle earcon that enhances a digital experience, or the immersive audio that transports us to a new world, the power of sound to captivate and connect is undeniable.

And for brands in the CPG sector, the strategic use of earcons presents a unique opportunity to stand out in a crowded marketplace, to create more memorable and engaging experiences for their customers, and to forge deeper, more meaningful connections that can ultimately drive loyalty and growth.

So, the next time you find yourself caught up in the magic of a voice-enabled experience, take a moment to listen for those telltale earcons. They just might be the key to unlocking a whole new world of branded sound.

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