As India is steadily transitioning towards becoming a truly digital economy, technology-driven advancements are disrupting and redefining every domain that exists. The country has witnessed several key innovations in the payment ecosystem in the past few years including net banking, digital wallets, contactless payments, and so on, with each making a significant contribution towards the digitisation of its economy.
Emerging as a new game changer in this sphere is the sound waves-based mode of payment, which is widening the scope of digital payment methods by simplifying financial transactions between devices. It is making it possible to transact even without the usage of internet connectivity or communication tools like NFC.
Sound technology has unlocked several possibilities when it comes to digital applications, especially in domains that require customised user interaction. While sound waves have already taken giant strides in revolutionising and democratising the world of payments, this medium has also emerged as a new and highly effective one for brand expression in the retail sector.
With industry giants across verticals like Mastercard and VISA, HDFC and IndusInd, and Vistara Airlines investing billions in what is being referred to as ‘sonic butlers of the future’, there is no doubt that sound-based technology is gradually gaining traction and taking over the consumer world.
Enhancing consumer experience
The unpredictability of consumer behaviour and consequent shaping of trends in this sphere is no joke. In fact, this ‘moving’ consumer behaviour has led to the rise of several new aspects of technology that were never predicted before: conversational AI, for instance. A similar storm is gradually brewing in the audio space that only a few marketers are aware of.
With the growing popularity of voice-based assistants like Siri and Ok Google, the robust rise of music streaming apps, podcasts going mainstream, and the ever-steady radio listenership, there is massive potential for the medium of audio to be leveraged by marketers. In this era where most of the communication takes place through digital channels, audio can help engage the audience in a better manner.
Communicating effectively with consumers is now more difficult than it ever was. On an average, a consumer gets bombarded with and approached by over 5,000 brands on a daily basis, whether through a TV advertisement, a product placement on a YouTube video, an online banner or a popup, a billboard when driving home, or on the display when traveling in a metro, etc. Consumers neither have the time nor energy to invest in going through it all.
With all these brands fighting for a figment of consumers’ attention, the need to be as distinct, remarkable, and omnipresent as possible has been severely felt. In the modern context where consumers lead a ‘sonic’ life, what is the solution then?
The practice of using audio as the identity of a brand is not new—it has been tried, tested, and proven. For instance, the very mention of ‘Washing Powder Nirma’ instantly reminds one of the jingle, and people often find themselves humming that familiar tune before they even realise it.
Organisations like Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac, Intel Inside, and Reliance etc. with a ‘sonic logo’, capture their very essence in a musical note or two for consumers to remember.
Therefore, in order to stand out from an absolute chaos of logos and colours that overwhelm the consumers’ minds to near passivity, sonic branding has emerged as an effective solution.
Sonic branding goes way beyond establishing a brand-audio connection – it becomes an inherent part of a consumer’s experience with the respective brand and its identity. This is because sound is essentially the language of the universe. For human beings, it has been a very instinctual medium to reach out to and connect with the rest.
Sound has the power to evoke a certain feeling towards a product, service, or a brand, and distinguish it from everyone else.
Sound is universally known and accepted as an emotional, impactful, and engaging connecter. Having an audio identity will not only help connect brands with their consumers on an entirely new dimension, but will also have the potential to function as an effective tool facilitating voice shopping and payments, in this increasingly digital era.
Therefore, sound-based technology is the perfect amalgamation of technology, accessibility, convenience, and resonance, which is gradually disrupting, optimising, and transforming the digital ecosystem of both payments as well as consumer experience.
(Sudeshna Singh is head of marketing at ToneTag. This is a Readers’ Blog and the views expressed are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them.)
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