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Audio Is One Of Agency Giant WPP’s Top 10 Trends For 2024.

As the radio/audio industry works to reduce the sizable gap between audio’s share of media consumption (31%, per WARC) and its share of the ad pie (9%), the ad agency giant WPP is providing some encouragement. “Sound will no longer be an afterthought,” says Michele Arnese, Global CEO of amp, the sonic branding agency acquired by the agency holding company in April.

In “WPP on 2024,” a set of predictions from the agency, Arnese highlights why sound is gaining significant momentum in the brand world. Amp is the audio-focused agency known for creating sonic identities for Mastercard, Mercedes-Benz, Kraft Heinz, Deloitte, Shell, and General Motors, among others.

“Sound is now part of the brand identity process and works hand in hand with visual creation experiences,” Arnese says in a video posted on WPP’s website. “Consumers will forget what brands say, probably they will forget also what brands do. But consumers will never forget how brands made them feel like. Sound is gaining momentum in the brand world because it's responsible for that feeling.”

Citing 2023 data from Spotify, he notes that Gen Z listened to 500 billion songs in the first half of the year and 3 billion podcast episodes for a 76% year-over-year increase. “There is a huge increase of demand for audio content,” he notes. For marketers, that means greater emphasis on sonic branding in 2024.

Arnese anticipates a “harmonious coexistence between the human craft and the AI intervention.” In other words, brands will harness AI to create scale to fulfill the increasing demand for audio content. From an audio perspective, this will allow advertisers to process an “enormous quantity of data to better understand the audience” while helping improve ad creative and targeting. AI will allow them to consider the moments and occasions consumers are experiencing to better target ads to them. “This is where I see the big trend next year in this coexistence in understanding and creating huge brand audio experiences,” he says.

Arnese, who founded amp in 2009, is one of 10 execs that answers the question, “What one major new trend will present the biggest opportunity for brands in 2024?” Other emerging trends explored by WPP range from the scaling of AI, to unconventional collaborations, to the rapid digitization of the sports fan experience.

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