Advantage Audio: Sonic Branding Has Massive Effect On Gen Z


A recent study by sonic branding agency Amp has shed light on Gen Z’s ability to recognize brands through specific sounds. The research evaluated sonic branding from 72 firms to assess the auditory influence on this demographic. Though sound may not be the sole factor determining a brand’s reputation for Gen Z, it undeniably aids in its acknowledgment.

Brands have been taking advantage of audio’s power on TikTok and social media, often employing unique “brand beats,” to distinguish themselves on this platform. Sometimes, these auditory elements gain traction and evolve into “sonic memes” — sounds that become viral independently.

Amp’s experiment had 75 Gen Z participants listen to an assortment of brand sounds, some of which had gone viral, like the old Windows XP startup sound and Burger King’s “Whopper Whopper.” A significant 81% identified the viral or meme sounds, while only 41% recognized non-viral ones. Moreover, 54% of the Gen Z participants could correctly link a meme sound to its brand without given choices, while just 25% managed the same for non-viral sounds.

The study observed how this age group doesn’t just passively listen; they actively engage, remix, and generate content, making it inherently self-propagating.

A notable insight was that while amp evaluated brands based on varied criteria, including the presence of a sonic logo and the frequency of its use, Gen Z’s favorite brands weren’t necessarily the ones with top sonic branding scores. Mastercard, an Amp client, led the rankings with a score of 74.4. However, examining Gen Z’s preferences, Nintendo emerged with the top sonic score of 52.8, followed by PlayStation, Capri-Sun, Sephora, and KitKat.

Audio and sonic branding can continue to have a massive potential long-term impact, especially as the Gen Z demographic matures.


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