1. Marcia Yudkin is an author, speaker and marketing mentor who publishes a weekly email called The Marketing Minute. I've been a fan of Marcia's work for years, so I was excited when she reached out to ask about audio logos, one of the services we provide through BusinessVoice, our Caller Experience Marketing agency.

    An audio logo accompanies, supports or even stands in for a brand name. (Listen to samples.) Just like a visual logo, a slogan or a corporate color, an audio logo is an identifier that reinforces brand personality and strengthens recall.

    Here's Marcia's September 23, 2020 Marketing Minute:

    The pandemic seems to have accelerated the use of multimedia in marketing and business communication. So, I thought it would be a perfect time to interview Marketing Minute subscriber Scott Greggory about audio logos - snippets of music, voice or sound effects that identify and brand a company.

    "Just two or three seconds long, audio logos can be used anywhere sound can be played: in broadcast media, on websites, in on hold marketing or online videos, with apps or podcasts, audio books, e-learning and more," says Greggory, Chief Creative Officer of BusinessVoice.

    With repetition, customers associate them with the brand, "producing an almost Pavlovian response," he adds. "Think of the excitement you feel hearing the Netflix audio logo, knowing that your favorite show is about to begin."

    From the BusinessVoice Blog:

    * In the U.S., 75 percent of the top audio 20 logos feature a melody (something that can be sung, versus a tone, sound effect or spoken words).

    * Audio logos with a melody get better results than non-melody ones.

    * Audio logos incorporating the brand name spark five times more brand recall than those with just music or sounds.


    The Value of Audio Logos

    There's no doubt that sight influences most of our buying decisions, but the amount of visual information consumers are exposed to these days is overwhelming. It's impossible to process it all. That's why audible cues - like audio logos - stand out so well. And with enough repetition, an audio logo becomes inseparable from its brand.

    Audio is also enjoying a resurgence, thanks to smart phones, smart speakers and new applications, so audio logos are a logical next step for brands. Anyone who's heard the audio logos for Intel, Taco Bell or Netflix knows how sounds immediately bring those companies to mind. The brands are stronger because of those sounds.

    No one would argue against the need for a memorable logo or a consistent brand color. Those are powerful and valuable visual branding elements. By reinforcing brand qualities and strengthening recall, audio logos serve the same purpose for a different sense.

    RELATED POSTS: Here's the Reason You Need an Audio Logo
    You're Just a Few Notes Away from Building Greater Brand Recognition

  2. When's the last time you thought about celery?

    Probably been a while, right?

    But it just might make you a better marketer.

    Watch this older TV commercial for the Pick-n-Pay grocery store chain.

    There's nothing fancy about the spot. It's just a single scene shot at a noisy loading dock, followed by a still image with the logo and jingle sing.

    Yet, I think it's remarkably effective.

    The spokesman focuses on one topic - Pick-n-Pay's celery. He lets us know that it's fresh, crisp and delicious, and then supports that claim by telling us what the store's professional buyers look for when selecting celery:

    Pale green, glossy stocks of medium length and thickness that are brittle enough to snap easily. The inside of the stalk should feel smooth.

    Not only does that description show that Pick-n-Pay applies specific standards to buying celery, it also lets the audience know what to look for when buying the vegetable.

    Then, the spokesman provides interesting, applicable tips, stating that celery leaves make a great flavoring for soups, the outer stalks are best for cooking, and the inner stalks are best eaten raw.

    Within 24 seconds, he had me genuinely interested in a product I'd previously never even considered.

    I found just this one "explainer" commercial from Pick-n-Pay, but I would love to see an entire series of them. The campaign would be a perfect example of what I referred to in our blog post "Giving vs. Taking: A Fresh Approach to Advertising" - investing long-term to provide your audience with information they can apply, putting their needs first.

    That type of advertising generates interest, builds trust and encourages customer loyalty.

  3. As a member of the Forbes Agency Council, I have the chance each month to contribute to marketing-related “panel” articles at This blog post is part of a continuing series featuring a few of my responses to questions asked by Forbes editors. The theme: Content Creation.

    Question: Your business just received a prestigious award or investment. Based on your experience, what’s the most beneficial way to publicize the achievement?

    Answer: When touting an award, a certification or any other honor, let your audience know why it's important to them. Explain how your win reinforces the claims you make about your product or service. Tell them how it provides a third-party perspective on why they should buy from you. Consumers want solid evidence that they're making good purchasing decisions. Awards can serve as helpful clues.

    Question: B2B podcasts can be great for marketing and outreach, but they require a different touch than other podcast types. What's one must-do (or must-not-do) tip when starting a B2B podcast?

    Answer: A B2B audience is listening for insight that will give them an edge or make them better at their jobs. So, deliver concise content in a format that promotes easy takeaways. That might include quick audio bullet points that re-state key ideas. And don't be afraid to edit to delete any fluff. Your B2B podcast should respect your audience's time and be worthy of their investment.

    Question: Fearful of alienating or losing customers, some businesses may shy away from addressing "controversial" topics in their content - from current events to developments in their industry that haven't originated with them. But content that's not strictly focused on the positives and selling points of their products can establish thought leadership and authenticity. What's one "taboo" topic businesses should cover in their content, and why?

    Answer: No one expects perfection from companies. So, it's okay to admit when you've screwed up, especially when you show the lessons you've learned from your mistakes and how your customers will benefit from your continuing education and transparency. When you're willing to admit to failures and then show the positivity that results, you'll also humanize your brand and present yourself in a way that people can relate to.

    RELATED POSTS: Don't Miss Opportunities to Wow Customers
    3 Reasons to Enter Award Competitions

  4. I spent the last few days watching the opening weekend of the 2020 baseball season.

    It's great to have the game back, even with all the unusual changes:

    • The abbreviated 60-game schedule
    • The extra innings rule that automatically puts a runner on second base starting in the 10th
    • The National League's use of the designated hitter
    • The lack of fans in the stands

    I haven't heard from anyone who's thrilled with all the adjustments, but Major League Baseball found ways to adapt in order to get back to business, just as restaurants, healthcare facilities and other industries have.

    And maybe that's the most important reminder we can take away from the pandemic: life - and business - aren't stagnant. They never have been. Both are in a constant state of flux. Dramatic events like the spread of COVID-19 and the quarantine just increase the pace and intensity of the change.

    The lesson is to actively plan for transitions, so, when events dictate, you're better prepared to deal with the financial, cultural and emotional disruptions.

    Since mid-March, we've been stressing the importance of actively preparing for the post-COVID-19 world so you can hit the ground running. But by thinking at a higher level - always expecting change and embracing its inevitability - you can set yourself up for even greater success.

  5. During our second 30-Minute Marketing Cardio session on April 29th, I noted that a lot of marketing and advertising copy was starting to sound the same.

    “In these uncertain times…”
    “We’re all in this together.”
    “Today, more than ever…”
    “We’re here for you.”

    Very quickly, those and similar phrases were reaching cliché status, losing any impact they may have had at one time. And the negative response in some circles was almost palpable: “All right already! You think of us like family and home is important and this whole thing is unprecedented. We get it.”

    “So, what is your company doing about it?” I wondered in response.

    Some brands did provide answers. A few car companies came up with alternative financing options and return policies for those whose jobs might be lost to the COVID-19 quarantine. Insurance providers gave rebates because fewer customers were driving.

    But there were far more vague, empty references to “the new normal” and “getting through this.”

    That concentration of similar messaging around a single theme over the last few months made the lack of originality and hollow statements more apparent. But we’ve been talking about the issue for years, urging you to avoid easy, trite marketing-speak in favor of true words you believe, promises you can keep, and differences that are rooted in your company culture, not just whipped up to appeal to the current mood of the country.

    When you’re saying the same thing in the same way that so many others are, you can’t stand out. You won’t be remembered as delivering a unique solution. You may even weaken your brand by moving in step with the crowd, rather than daring to cut your own path.

    I encourage you to keep that in mind as you move forward to create post-pandemic content. 

    Here are a few of our other articles that can help you define your brand and content style.