Presented by Dolby
Consumers are spending 30% more time listening to spoken word audio, making it a powerful way to reach customers — and increase personalization, engagement, and more. Learn how to add audio to your marketing mix in this VB Live event.
“It’s not enough to just have a valuable product, says Sripal Mehta, senior director, API platform, at Dolby Labs. “You need to have a valuable presence. Your audience needs to think of you as a useful resource in more than just the product that you deliver.”
That’s where branded media comes in — and unexpectedly, audio is becoming a powerful medium. As the pandemic keeps consumers sheltering at home, they’re spending their days kept company by podcasts and music, so that audio content and listenership is rapidly on the rise. And as big platforms add audio components, engagement is growing.
“Audio is the new video, which is funny in this day and age — but you see it across the board,” Mehta says. “All the major brands we talk about are starting to leverage audio in new, unique ways.”
Twitter now has an audio product; Netflix has an audio-only mode for listening to content. Audio-first social networks like Clubhouse are becoming front and center in people’s minds. Even on platforms like LinkedIn and Instagram, people are creating audio-first content with some basic visuals to tell their stories.
The pandemic has prompted a surge in listening, but that won’t change when life shifts back to something close to normal, Mehta says.
“Whether it’s your commute or the gym or a walk, we now have this desire to be engaged,” he says. “We do that through sound, because you can’t be looking at your phone watching video while you’re driving or walking or in the gym. Sound matters.”
The new focus of branded audio is offering expertise and insight from your own perspective, as well as bringing curated voices from third-party authorities into your story. The purpose: to help your audience understand how to work better, how to solve problems more effectively, and how to grow. It’s about owning the solution to the problems in your industry, and positioning yourself as a leader. This often means long-form podcasts, but Mehta says more “snackable” audio content will become popular.
“I’ve talked to companies that are trying to figure out how to create more short-form audio experiences,” he says. “It would be almost a tailored radio station, bringing different people’s voices and opinions and stories together into a continuous listening experience. That way you’re not constantly trying to scroll through your phone and figure out what to listen to next.”
To launch an audio marketing strategy, you need to consider two things up front, Mehta says. There’s the obvious part — what’s the story you’re trying to tell through audio and video? And the other side is determining how you’ll produce that content continuously, reliably, cost-efficiently, and at scale.
“If you spend time up front thinking about what your workflow will be to create all that content, it’ll make your life a lot easier,” he says. “A lot of businesses just jump in and pick the tool of the day, but that leads to fragmentation in the way you create your content.”
Your up-front plan needs to encompass what equipment you’ll use to record remote interviews: how you’ll handle production, whether that’s in-house or through an agency; how you’ll share your content, whether that’s traditional storage platforms like Google Drive or Dropbox or publishing it on social platforms; and how much effort you want or need to spend on marketing over time.
Excellent audio quality is absolutely non-negotiable, of course — otherwise, a listener will bounce off hard. Something as basic as consistency in volume is essential. If a podcast host sounds natural and professional, but the person on the other end sounds like they’re talking through a muffler (or a mask), that creates a poor experience and frustration. Then there are the subtleties of speech: removing things like sibilance (the harsh “S” sounds some have); plosives (the pops in “P”s); or small mouth clicks. If you’re listening to something for 30 or 45 minutes, these can start to really irritate and cause drop off.
But ensuring good audio quality doesn’t require a sound engineer, whether you handle production in-house or outsource.
“The beauty is that a lot of companies are popping up, or have pivoted the way they do their business, to make this easy for you,” he says. “We’re not talking about a six-figure investment to come up with a branded A/V strategy anymore. There are some great agencies out there, and great tools out there, that make this a lot simpler than it used to be.”
To learn more about how to establish an audio presence, how to create a fantastic-sounding asset with production workflows that scale, how any developer in any industry can add high-quality audio to their product offering and more, don’t miss this VB Live event.
Attendees will learn:
- How brands can include both branded audio and media, and user-generated media in their go-to-market strategy
- The benefits of branded audio media
- How offering services, or partnering with audio forward companies, to generate or support quality audio can provide a competitive advantage and differentiation
- Will Mayo, Founder + Chief Strategy Officer, SpokenLayer
- Rebecca Michals, Director, Seller Community and Engagement, eBay
- Sabba Keynejad, CEO, VEED.IO
- Sripal Mehta, Senior Director, API Platform, Dolby Labs
- Stewart Rogers, Moderator, VentureBeat