New Study Validates the Power of Sonic Branding

Katz Marketing Solutions, the national marketing arm of the Katz Media Group, recently announced their findings of a new study of advertisers' sonic brands and their impact on communicating brand messaging and eliciting emotional responses.

"The results confirm the incredible power of sound," said Bob McCurdy, President of Katz Marketing Solutions. "With this research, we have a better understanding of how sound impacts what we see, how we feel and what we consume. Even a brief one or two seconds of sound can trigger powerful brand messaging and explicit visual images, which means radio can be an extremely influential tool for advertisers."

While previous studies have focused on brand identification, Katz Marketing Solutions commissioned this research to delve beyond awareness metrics. Instead, the study quantified the communication and emotional impact of sonic brands of the top U.S. advertisers including McDonald's, Mazda, Old Spice and Pillsbury, among 20 others. The intended goal was to measure both the ability of these sound bites to communicate a brand message and to generate emotions.

The study tested sonic brands, such as the NBC chimes; music used in commercials; or the voice of the brand's spokesperson. Two hundred and fifty respondents listened to each short sonic snippet and answered three key questions:  Do you know the company or brand that uses this sound in its advertising? What message comes to mind when you hear this sound? What pops in your head when you hear this sound and how does that make you feel?

Added McCurdy, "Sound can create an emotional response to the point of impacting us physiologically. For instance, just hearing a fast food advertiser's sonic brand can make someone hungry. Not only that, it can also induce specific visual images of a hot, sizzling pizza. This confirms what we've known for some time, that radio provides advertisers the benefit of the visual at audio prices."

The respondents provided detailed descriptions of the advertisers' product, benefits, pricing, as well as visual details, such as vivid descriptions of the advertisers' spokesperson and mascot. Many respondents included the advertisers' exact slogan, which was not present in the tested audio. The complete study results, including the verbatim responses, and further information is available at

This study is part of Katz Marketing Solutions on-going efforts to provide in-depth research on the power of sound and the listening habits of consumers. The division is one of the first media sales organizations to partner with USA TouchPoints, the most comprehensive syndicated research product to track all forms of consumer behavior and media consumption, as well as Pointlogic's Chorus. In addition, Katz Marketing Solutions also works closely with Ipsos MediaCt to conduct on-going evaluations of radio campaigns in order to relay radio's key branding metrics and improve campaign efficacy.

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