CES has long been a tech enthusiast’s playground, but these days you are as likely to find yourself in deep discussion about the latest innovation with advertisers, marketers and content creators as with a programmer. C Space is the dedicated space for content people here at CES, where the great and the good converge to debate the changing ways in which we consume content, and how best marketeers can ensure their content connects.

High on the agenda is the role of audio. Audio is often overlooked in the content mix, seen as somehow less compelling than video. And yet we all can recall the one jingle from our childhood that either drove us mad or drove our parents mad as we insisted on singing it over and over again.  Hands up if one is playing in your head right now.

If you are subconsciously humming along to “for mash get Smash” or a similar tune, be assured that you are not alone.  Take the Taco Bell bell. In tests it gains 85% immediate recognition among consumers. Humans respond to sound.

However, before we all rush off to pen the next number one, let’s not forget the role of sound in storytelling. Serial was a runaway success telling a compelling story in a fairly traditional way. Audio can be the engine of emotion – and emotion drives loyalty in a most effective way.

How can brands take that storytelling approach and apply it to their own marketing. Is there an opportunity for interactive audio where the story is personal and the data invaluable?  Nestle is actively investigating how it takes the huge brand equity of its ‘take a break’ positioning and using it to connect with a new audience – the music lover. In partnership with Spotify, Kit Kat will create its own playlist which will be played in the breaks between the user’s chosen playlists.  

What is more, there is a clear appetite for audio. The most sold electronic device in the US  in 2016 was headphones. Walk around the halls at CES this week and you’ll see more and more sound devices from in car systems to wireless ear buds and funky coloured portable speakers. With digital audio now firmly on the map, it remains to be seen how marketeers adapt to this most overlooked channel.

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