From websites and donor packs to direct mail and advertising, charities will give careful consideration to how their organization looks, spending considerable resources on image to maximize engagement with the public. The process of choosing the right photography, typography and color palette is all part of the vital brand differentiation process. But are nonprofits missing an opportunity by paying attention to the way they look, but not enough to their audio branding?
Hearing Is Believing
Hearing is one of our most powerful emotional senses. It is particularly effective in provoking the emotions that lie at the core of what drives people to engage with a certain charity. Feelings of sympathy, empathy, sadness, frustration, guilt, loss, grief, anger, a need to make change or to do great things, are all drivers in making people give more often.
Sound is capable of evoking all these sentiments and can have a significant impact in shaping customer perceptions and behavior. In fact, a recent study by PHMG discovered 60 percent of people believe music is more memorable than visuals when used in marketing. Research has also found that organizations that match their brand to music are 96 percent more likely to be remembered, so ensuring your audio branding is congruent with your charity values can create that all-important first and lasting impression.
Make Your Charity Heard
There are three key elements to consider in audio branding: music, voice and content.
When choosing the voice, it isn’t just as simple as getting a member of the team to read off a script.
Think about gender, age, delivery, pace, accent and tone. Should the voiceover sound authoritative or caring? Serious or emotional? Reassuring or energetic? Ultimately, the voice of your charity should match your existing brand image and values.
Research shows voice artists in the nonprofit sector are an equal mix of masculine and feminine, often alternating between prompts. They tend to fall in the 30- to 40-age bracket and have friendly, yet reassuring, styles of delivery, which will encourage people to dig deep with their time or money.
Bring Your Charity Alive… With the Sound of Music
Music has the ability to transport the listener to a certain moment in time. How they feel about the tune is intrinsically entwined with their previous experience of it. The first song at a wedding will remind the bride and groom of their special day but what if the same song has negative emotions attached to it for another caller?
An existing music track can never be made to retrofit a brand. It’s far more effective to create a custom track unique to your nonprofit, with each distinct part reflecting a different aspect of your brand personality.
The notprofit sector tends to use music reflective of the cause, heritage and their caller demographic, rather than simply the fact they’re a charity. Generally, music is in a major key and carries an uplifting and positive feel.
For example, charities doing humanitarian work often use traditional instrumentation such as pianos and strings and employ a calm tempo—whereas foundations focused on a local community or sport tend to lean toward live bands, using electric guitars and punchy drums to reflect their motivation and drive.
Please Give Generously
Powerful and persuasive content is also key. Repeating the same message endlessly can create fatigue. Refreshing your content on a regular basis ensures callers stay engaged, while keeping them informed about upcoming fundraising events, and shares ways they can help by volunteering or recent campaign successes.
A few seconds on hold also provide the perfect platform to speak to supporters on a personal level, reassuring callers how their money is spent and sharing emotive content like personal testimonials from people the charity has helped.