Optimization, Personalization & Testing

Brands are failing to connect with Gen Z through sonic branding

  1. New research reveals that sonic logos of leading brands are 60% less likely to be recognised by Gen Z than older demographics
  2. New logos are also failing to connect – with 14% for Gen Z, compared to 21% for other ages
  3. Findings released in advance of upcoming report: The SoundOut Index 2023

SoundOut, the leading sonic branding and testing agency, has revealed how US brands are failing to connect effectively with Gen Z in their sonic branding efforts. New research from a 150,000-strong consumer study has revealed how the sonic logos of leading household brands are 60% less likely to be recognised by Gen Z than older demographics.

The findings, released in advance of an upcoming report, The SoundOut Index 2023, measured the increase in sonic branding attribution for over 135 major US brands between 2021 and 2023, drawing on the findings from over 150,000 consumer studies. Attribution measures the ability of a consumer to name the correct brand from exposure to the sonic logo alone. SoundOut compared the results from the perspective of Gen Z respondents (those born between 1997 and 2015) to those over the age of 25.

The results revealed that Gen Z are 60% less likely to have increased their attribution of a sonic logo to a leading brand over a two year period, compared to older demographics.

Looking at the 50 brands that have increased attribution the most across all age groups, the average increase in brand attribution is just 6% for Gen Z, compared to 15% for those over 25 years old. For all 108 brands that have had a sonic identity for over two years, the overall average attribution for Gen Z has increased by just 2%, with many brands registering decreased recognition and attribution over the period.

When SoundOut looked at the best performing new sonic logos released during the past two years, a similar pattern emerged.  Average attribution for Gen Z was 14%, yet for the over 25s it was 21%.

SoundOut suggests that this is not because sonic logos are failing to register with Gen Z, but because Gen Z’s attention is elsewhere – somewhere most brands have not yet reached. With Gen Z representing 32% of the world’s population and spending an average of 105 minutes a day on TikTok, the platform is now the key location for brands to target this demographic.

One brand that has bucked this trend is Home Depot, which saw its sonic identity randomly go viral on TikTok in 2019, but without any brand association. Through a highly successful TikTok campaign in 2022, Home Depot ‘reappropriated’ this sonic identity and, as a result, managed to register double-digit increased attribution with Gen Z (14%) against 7% for the over 25’s.

Grace Hammond, SoundOut Co-Founder and head of its Gen Z operations said: “Gen Z are notoriously elusive when it comes to engagement with brands, but it does not make them unreachable.  TikTok is a music-first platform and brands can and should harness this by combining appropriate influencer campaigns with music that always resonates with core brand personality but that is also trending on the platform at any moment in time.  The TikTok algorithm hugely boosts posts that feature trending music, resulting in far greater exposure for brands at marginal additional cost.  If the sonic logo is also incorporated, brands have a far higher change of building attribution with Gen Z.”

SoundOut now tests all top 100 trending TikTok tracks every week and makes these available for matching to a brand on its OnBrand music marketing platform. Brands can identify, at any point in time, the tracks that are both on trend and on brand to use on TikTok campaigns.

For more information about SoundOut’s audio testing and sonic branding services, visit www.soundout.com or contact the team directly.

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