The top two scoring companies in Veritonic’s annual ranking of the brands with the best sonic branding come from the insurance industry. And that is no coincidence. The insurance category ruled in the 2021 Audio Logo Index. Veritonic scores audio ads run on broadcast radio, streaming and podcasts and stacks them up against other marketers in their industry to determine which are best using sound to connect with consumers.
This year Farmers Insurance led the overall results with a Veritonic Audio Score of 88. State Farm Insurance was close behind at 87. And Liberty Mutual tied several fast food brands for third place.
“With some exceptions, most insurance brands seem to tick every box of best practices: they use their brand name in their audio logos, incorporate melody, and they’re very consistent in how they use their mnemonics in ads,” says Veritonic. “Moreover, going beyond logo alone, insurance brands are clearly big on the use of brand characters in their ads. That consistent combination of brand elements clearly drives recall.” Its annual report says State Farm, Farmers, and Liberty had the three most memorable logos in the index (97, 95, and 94, respectively).
A trio of QSR brands was also in third place with a score of 86, including Popeye’s, Arby’s and Red Robin.
“In a year when happiness arguably mattered more than anything else, three sonic brands from three different sectors stood out for making people feel good,” says Veritonic. When it comes to “happiness” scores it says Old Spice (83), Popeye’s (82), and O’Reilly Auto Parts (82) were winners.
But there were also misses. Veritonic blames a lack of consistency in Honda’s use of its audio logo for the auto brand plummeting to a Veritonic Audio Score of 60. “While the strategy to move away from their two-note mnemonic was reasonable, given its mediocre performance, moving to a purely percussive treatment — and not using the brand name — suggests a squandered opportunity for a reset,” the report says.
In a crowded media world, Veritonic says its data shows that saying a brand name has never been more important. Nine out of the top ten audio logos included the brand name. The big winner this year is AutoZone that move from using a “whistle only” version of its audio logo to a fully sung slogan, resulting in a 62% jump in its brand recognition score.
The data also makes a compelling case for using diverse voiceover talent. “While an audio logo can play some role, for example, by featuring a female voice, other touchpoints to a brand’s identity, like ads, can arguably convey even more,” says the report. It notes a forthcoming study will show that ads using Black voice talent were judged more favorably by Black audiences, with no negative impact on ad favorability or effectiveness with White consumers. Veritonic says using a female voice talent also helped the job site Indeed reinforce its audio-marketing narrative on female-owned businesses.
The annual analysis, the fifth published by Veritonic, also highlights several companies that are seeing success from a new focus on their use of audio logos. The home audio company Sonos adopted a musical logo and Veritonic says the brand’s ads not only beat the other new entrants across multiple metrics – including authenticity, excitement, likability and uniqueness – it actually scored the highest (79) on the overall list for being most inspiring.
SmileDirectClub relies on both melody and their brand name in its first audio logo and it yielded much higher correct brand association (14%) than all of the new entrants tested except for one (Bob’s Discount Furniture), including long-established brands like Oreo.
"An all-encompassing audio marketing strategy is crucial to compete in our growing audio-focused world and the right sonic identity is a critical component," said Veritonic CEO Scott Simonelli. "The data our platform analyzes consistently proves that brands who embrace audio marketing best practices are winning consumer's hearts and minds through the power of sound."
The Veritonic Audio Intelligence Platform analyzed over a hundred of the top consumer brand audio logos in the U.S. and U.K. markets. The platform first processed the files using artificial intelligence algorithms to identify trends, strengths and weaknesses. It then captured the reactions of a representative same of 3,700 individuals in both regions.
Download a copy of the 2021 Audio Logo Index HERE.