May 13, 2022 | Cheyenne Baptiste

Is Your Brand on Mute? Embracing Audio in Agrimarketing

It’s not enough for your brand to be seen – it should also be heard. 

The media landscape continues to evolve and like it or not, we have entered what I like to call the golden age of audio. From both a marketer and consumer perspective, this is music to our ears. 

Consider this: It’s a Monday morning and you’re heading to work on a busy street with your headphones on or your AirPods in, listening to your favourite podcast. Or you’re in the kitchen cooking dinner and telling Alexa to play your fave lounge Spotify playlist. Or, you’re a farmer, tuning in to your favourite talk radio satellite stream while you spend long days in the tractor.

In all of these cases, listeners are not exposed to much advertising content from other mediums. Most people aren’t looking at a device screen at the same time as they listen. Digital audio is their sole content companion and they’re not being bombarded with too many marketing messages.

If you’re a marketer, advertising on digital audio channels allows you to enter the user’s listening experience where there is very little competing content. When you advertise on digital audio platforms, you have the chance to reach people who may be thinking and doing things that they may not be thinking about and doing on other marketing channels/platforms that are far more cluttered. Your ag brand has the opportunity to get an exclusive ear share – capturing the attention of people who aren’t distracted by their screens.  

Speaking of screens, there is an emerging trend of a phenomenon known as of “screen exhaustion”. Professionals spend all day in front of a screen and find they need a break at the end of the day. Parents can see the effects that excess screentime has on their kids’ behaviour and mood – not to mention their own.  

The audiences you are trying to reach are no different. They’re seeking entertainment and educational alternatives. A recent study found that 56% of Gen Z and millennial respondents agree that there’s too much visual stimulation1. Audio offers an escape from that.

Research has shown that sound has a significant impact on brand metrics including a 26% increase in brand awareness and a 46% increase in brand favorability.  Click To Tweet

Why Sound?

Sound has become the primary component to create presence, awareness, and brand attribution. Sound conveys meaning. The fastest human sense, faster than smell, taste, sight, and even touch, hearing triggers an emotional response, which can be a large driver of brand loyalty. Visuals alone cannot elicit such emotion.

How many of you remember those earworm jingles from your childhood? Most of us have fond memories and can easily identify the brand immediately after hearing (or singing) the jingle.

Research has shown that sound has a significant impact on brand metrics including a 26% increase in brand awareness and a 46% increase in brand favorability.  An 86% correlation has been made between a reaction to sound and a desire to return to that experience.

With the flood of visual ads on print, digital, and social media, brands are fiercely competing for the visual attention of their audiences. With audio assets, brands are able to cut through the clutter, make an instant emotional connection, and create stronger brand recall.

What Does All This Mean for Ag Brands?

Podcasts and other forms of digital audio marketing are fairly new to the ag industry and fortunately, it has not penetrated the market (yet). This is a great opportunity for agriculture and agtech brands to be early adopters. 

Think back to the earlier scenario of the farmer. Growers and producers spend a lot of time performing activities that might demand their visual attention, or the use of their hands, making audio the perfect way to connect with them. 

5 Audio Tactics Worth Exploring

Podcasts are a low-cost and highly engaging marketing tool that can appeal to a broad demographic – or drill down to the nitty gritty details. Providing information or edutainment to your audience is a great value add to your content marketing strategy. If starting a podcast seems daunting, sponsoring episodes of a relevant podcast can be even more cost effective. 

Curated playlists, such as those you can create on platforms like Spotify, can give your brand the opportunity to create sonic experiences for your target customer. Audio is known to improve attitude and productivity. There is a paradigm shift towards developing a more holistic approach to experience building, using audio as a core strategic element. What would your ideal farm customer listen to while in the tractor? 

Viral sound has become one of the biggest areas of growth for audio opportunities. Thanks to TikTok and Instagram Reels, snippets of songs, and short, engaging sounds have the potential to go viral. Of course, you don’t need to write your own hit song or create your own viral sound but capitalizing on viral sound trends in your social media content should be top of your list of new tactics to try.

Audio platforms, like Clubhouse, swelled in popularity last year and then seemed to disappear. They’re still there, though their audiences are smaller, and much more focused. Hosting audio only panel talks can be a great alternative to organizing webinars – just remember that you’ll need to first bring your audience to a platform that many have already abandoned.

Streaming radio is nothing new, of course. The same radio spots you place on traditional radio can usually find a home on streaming radio services as well – especially if you’re using programmatic placement to ensure you find your audience on the stations they’re tuning into regularly.

Use Sound to Create Lasting Connections

As I see it, this is a golden opportunity for brands to explore a marketing tactic that continues to emerge. As consumers increasingly adopt digital audio content, brands will continue to see its potential – the create memorable, lasting connections with their desired audiences. Audio advertising spend continues to trend upwards.

I predict that sonic branding/digital audio tactics will become a larger part of strategic front end planning for all brands – and now is the time for ag brands especially to embrace it. How does that sound? 

1 Spotify trend survey among 4,000 respondents 15-37 globally [U.S., MX, BR, FR, DE, U.K., PH, AU], February 2019

Cheyenne Baptiste

Cheyenne joined WS in November 2021 with 14 years of experience in advertising, brand strategy, public relations and social media marketing.