Everyone consumes content differently. Sighted people might scan an article for highlights, individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing could use closed captioning while watching a video, and those in the blind community might prefer a podcast version of a blog post.
People have always needed accessible content — it just wasn’t widely available. Thankfully, some companies are taking steps in the right direction. Netflix has made several video titles available in an audio-described format, and Facebook and Twitter use artificial intelligence to generate alternative text and audio captions. A Tide campaign during the Super Bowl last year used audio descriptions to add richness for people who depend on audio for comprehension.
For your brand to be accessible, it must include sensory experiences that allow everyone to interact. That means audio capabilities are less of a “nice to have” tool and more of a necessity in your marketing strategy. Just as you have a set of brand guidelines for your visual identity, voice, and tone, you should have a set of standards for your audio and sonic branding.
Reaching Additional Audiences with Accessible Content
Without a supporting audio strategy, your marketing efforts might be less effective. Creating inclusive marketing materials is vital if you want to reach all audiences and meet regulations. If you adhere to World Wide Web Consortium guidelines, accessibility becomes part of your organization’s blueprint and, ultimately, your brand.
When you design for accessibility, everyone benefits. For example, subtitles and alt text can make content consumption easier for sighted people who may be scrolling. Similarly, an accessible audio strategy ensures that your content is accessible to people who have hearing impairments, who don’t read well, or who get headaches from staring at screens for too long.
Putting Together a High-Quality Audio Strategy
With audio, there are numerous factors to consider to ensure everyone’s experiences match your brand. Here’s how you can invest in sonic branding:
- Use voice search to optimize your search marketing efforts.
Search engines will pull featured snippets from voice search, allowing you to leverage your search strategy accordingly. For example, if you have multiple locations for your brand, you can use your Google My Business page to earn rankings and optimize your local search efforts. This will capture people using popular “near me” searches. You can also reverse-engineer the audio snippet you want to produce by structuring your on-page content appropriately.
- Align marketing tactics with goals.
The audio strategies you use can correlate with varying stages of the sales funnel. For top-of-funnel efforts like building brand awareness, invest time in podcasts and audio advertising. For conversion goals, focus your marketing strategy on how to optimize for voice search. Just be cautious of slang and colloquialisms that might not translate if you’re a global brand. Not all efforts can just be repackaged and repurposed.
- Be consistent across all content.
You wouldn’t release a video without your visual logo, would you? Create a sonic logo that you can include at the end of every video, audio ad, and podcast episode. A sonic logo can become the heart of your overall brand, literally and figuratively setting the tone for your brand. Make your sonic logo memorable and straightforward to help you stay top of mind with customers (think McDonald’s, Dell, or Farmers Insurance.)
There was a time when movies were silent, but that’s no longer the case. Imagine going to a theater now with neither sound nor subtitles! You’d miss the punchlines, nuances, and essentially everything that makes movies immersive experiences. That’s why inaccessible marketing materials must also become a thing of the past. By embracing an audio strategy, you can make your marketing efforts more inclusive and better for everyone.