Audio Branding: The Hidden Gem
with Jodi Krangle
Fast forward to 1993. Through gaming (Dungeons and Dragons, to be exact), I was introduced to “Filk” music—the music that’s played at science fiction/fantasy conventions. In 1994, I joined two friends from the fandom world to form an acoustic band called Urban Tapestry. In our time together, we’ve headlined at music conventions in Canada, the U.S., and Europe.
Here are some fun facts about me:
* I was honored to be the Winner of the 2018 SOVAS Award for Outstanding Narration Demo. (That's the voice over Academy Awards. 😉 )
* I’m a filker! My all-female, acoustic band, Urban Tapestry is pretty well-known in the Filk scene (science fiction- / fantasy-themed music).
* I’m a self-taught computer nerd. I sold computer hardware back when the 386SX was shiny and new. (Wow, am I showing my age!)
* My love of computers led to my discovery of this mind-blowing thing called the internet back in the early 1990s. That led me into web design and the creation of a songwriting resource called The Muse’s Muse that I ran from 1994 until 2016.
* I started doing search engine optimization and internet marketing work back when banner ads were all the rage. (I’m getting older by the second . . . )
* If I could have a chip in my head keeping me connected to the Internet, I’d totally do that. I’m just about constantly connected (which is how I’m able to respond to emails so quickly)!
In case you’re wondering, yes, I’m a grown woman who (still) loves comic books and D&D. Think of me as a smart, wry, Tina Fey-like, post-apocalyptic warrior princess leading an army of Dr. Who and Firefly fans in an epic battle cry.
I’ve done voiceovers in the healthcare, corporate, hospitality, political, and non-profit sectors, among others. I tend to stick to the commercial and corporate narration lane of voice overs - and my ultimate goal of making other people money with my voice, led me to discussing audio branding - something I knew I was contributing to with my voice.
My highly satisfied clients include Dell, Bose, BBVA, Subway, Mitre, Unisom, Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Kraft, Travel Alberta, HGTV, and more.
I also happen to have some folks listening who are fellow voice talent wanting to understand more about the larger picture their voices are contributing to. But I also reach people who are just interested in the subject of how to understand how sound affects us in our daily lives.
Voice overs are what I love (I've been doing this over 15 years full time now) - but I also want to do my best to raise all boats for those of us who work in sound. Audio shouldn't be the after thought in a production - and it often is. It's unfortunate - because paying attention to the sound early on - making it equally as important as the visuals - can make a so so production into something truly outstanding - because it'll reach us on a deep, emotional level. (You think I'm making this up? Try watching a movie without the sound on and see how emotionally invested you are in what's happening on the screen. Not much, am I right? I'm not a horror fan. If I turn off the sound on a horror movie, I can watch it just fine. 😉 )
“Because it’s very difficult to be different and distinctive and you kind of need both of them in this modern advertising world because everything’s so fragmented. Um, people are not just sitting down at the TV at a certain time or listening to the radio together. You know, it’s a much more solo experience than it was when we were growing up. And I think lots of people aren’t seeing the same stuff or hearing the same stuff. And so therefore it’s very difficult for brands to make an impact.” — Josh Butt
This week’s episode is the second half of my conversation with award-winning content creator, sonic branding expert, and Ampel co-founder and Chief Production Officer, Josh Butt as we talk about the shifting podcast marketing landscape, the rise of audio AI and its impact on the industry, and which famous sonic logo still triggers a Pavlovian cue in Josh’s brain even decades later.
As always, if you have questions for my guest, you’re welcome to reach out through the links in the show notes. If you have questions for me, visit audiobrandingpodcast.com where you’ll find a lot of ways to get in touch. You can also join regular Clubhouse chats in The Power of Sound House every Wednesday (check the schedule for times). Plus, subscribing to the newsletter will let you know when the new podcasts are available, when new audio rooms are scheduled and what they’ll be about, and it’ll give you access to a resource called The Studio with lots of interesting sound-related mp3s, videos, educational pdfs, and exclusive discounts from previous guests.
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(0:00:01) – The Importance of Sound in Marketing
The second half of our discussion starts with some of the most famous sonic brands of the decade, some of which have reinvented themselves while others found a tried-and-true sound. “They spent a lot of money and time and efforts,” he says about HBO’s distinctive melody, “to figure out if they should change it and the answer was no, and bravo, because, they didn’t need to change it.” We talk about the increasingly crowded podcast market, with advertising expected to double within the next two years. “Everyone wants a podcast,” Josh says. “Everyone wants an ad, Everyone wants a sound.”
(0:20:29) – Evolution of Sonic Brands
We also discuss the breakthrough in AI over the past year, particularly in sound and music, and what it means for both brands and content creators. “Well, we’re gonna hear a lot about AI voices and AI music,” he says, “and I think you know we should jump on that.” Josh also tells us about the dangers AI music might pose, from creator livelihoods to a homogeneous sound that makes it more difficult to stand out. “They’ve got a big problem,” he explains, “because they’re gonna end up being very bland… it won’t be distinctive, it won’t be memorable, it won’t be hummable, it won’t be singable.”
(0:23:56) – Branding and Advertising in Media Landscape
We also talk about the power of sound to shape lifelong impressions and Pavlovian habits, whether it’s Intel’s unforgettable four-note logo or, in Josh’s case, EA Sports’ classic “It’s in the Game” motto. “You know it’s a game,” he says, “but the Pavlovian response that exists… it just made me want to play FIFA.” We talk about how such memorable sonic logos are surprisingly few and far between, and the lost opportunity they represent. “The brands that don’t do it are missing out,” Josh tells us, “and the brands that don’t do it as soon as possible are missing out because it’s very difficult to be different and distinctive and you kind of need both of them in this modern advertising world. “
- Audio’s underestimated impact on advertising and saturation of podcast ads.
- Sonic branding’s role in marketing and advertising, and the need for a unique sound.
- The power of sonic branding to influence consumers and build an identity.
Connect with the Guest
Connect with Josh Butt on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshbutt/
Connect with the Audio Branding Podcast:
Share your passion effectively with these Tips for Sounding Your Best as a Podcast Guest!