What is 3D audio?
3D sound, also known as binaural audio, is a recording technique that captures the surroundings in 3 dimensions. Standard surround sound simply captures the angle of a sound (front-back, left-right). 3D audio recordings capture an environment in full three-dimensional space including the distance from the microphone.
3D sound recordings are most frequently created with two microphones placed at different positions in relation to the subject of interest. Sound engineers then manipulate these recordings through digital processing to create the illusion of space for listeners wearing headphones or earbuds.
The experience is frequently referred to as virtual reality for your ears.
This technology may be new in marketing but already has a strong track record with consumers.
The most prominent example of binaural audio in action is ASMR, also known as Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response.
It is a phenomenon in which people experience chills, a tingling sensation, and relaxation to the sound of audio ‘triggers’ including whispering, tapping, or water. No one knows the exact reason why ASMR triggers these reactions in some people. Popular theories include various neurochemical responses or simply something that everyone enjoys for different reasons.
ASMR videos are created with 3D binaural sound to evoke a sense of calm and relaxation. Over 6 million videos of ASMR have been posted on YouTube and the popularity of this form of entertainment has been growing YoY since 2014. You can listen to an example here.
There is no doubt that consumers are familiar with the concept of sound experiences however it is still, most certainly, a novel opportunity for marketers.
How can 3D audio be used in marketing?
3D audio can be used to create immersive encounters that allow customers to experience and understand a brand’s message. Possibilities include the origins of their products, their manufacturing process, or for hotels, the sounds of destinations.
When it comes to marketing hotel brands online, 3D audio can offer an immersive experience for potential customers by allowing them to explore destinations from their own homes before they travel. 3D audio recordings offer the best way to engage potential customers in an adventure that will inspire them to book a trip.
An example campaign would be to produce soundscapes of the unique character of a selection of hotel destinations. These soundscapes could be integrated into existing property marketing by creating a map of worldwide properties that you can ‘listen to’. In addition, content can be used for an omnichannel brand marketing campaign across earned media, paid media, and social media. These 3D soundscapes create an emotional connection between potential customers and their destinations, resulting in a dramatic uplift in engagement and consideration.
What type of hotel brands would benefit the most?
While 3D audio is a powerful choice for most companies, hotel brands that focus on integrating local culture into a guest’s stay will benefit most from the ability to convey a property’s culture or ‘vibe’. 3D audio can also be used by corporate groups to demonstrate the wide variety of destinations available to travelers.
Brands like LXR, Andaz, and EDITION are best positioned to use 3D audio experiences for a major marketing campaign because they focus on the destinations and communities their hotels sit within.
Challenges of Using 3D Audio
Despite its benefits, 3D sound recordings are still a very new form of marketing. This can cause difficulties as most creative, marketing, and advertising agencies are unfamiliar with the technology and are unlikely to advocate for it. This provides a great opportunity for brands that are willing to embrace this new avenue.
There’s also the hurdle of generating 3D audio content that is both entertaining and believable. Marketers working with this early-stage strategy generally consider it to be a form of so-called ‘infotainment’ in which a marketing message is embedded within content that the audience voluntarily engages with. As a result, it is critical to seamlessly weave these two strands into one another. A disjointed approach by battling creative & marketing teams is unlikely to yield the desired result.
Benefits of a 3D Audio Campaign
3D audio campaigns create excitement among potential customers by immersing them in your brand messages and destinations from their own homes. Early adopters of this novel technology can generate remarkably large amounts of earned media coverage like when Virgin Atlantic created an ASMR video highlighting their customers’ favorite sounds of travel. 3D audio is also incredibly versatile with a campaign being suitable for different platforms, whether it be short clips on TikTok, a captivating TV ad, or a ‘sound map’ of destinations to explore on your website.
3D audio is a powerful marketing tool for hotel brands that want to provide customers with an immersive experience. 3D soundscapes can be used to demonstrate the origins of products, manufacturing processes, or destinations in 3 dimensions. When it comes to 3D audio as a marketing strategy, we recommend hotels focus on their local culture and community rather than just focusing on the property or brand alone.
Are you looking to drive marketing initiatives that interest, excite and convert potential customers?
Padfield Media are specialists in creating high-impact campaigns & activations for global brands.