Monthly Archives

January 2023

Lightbox Loves: The Audio Renaissance

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves

Technology has transformed the audio landscape with the increased penetration of new devices making audio consumption easier than it’s ever been for listeners. 

Since 2014 smart speaker penetration has gone from 0% to 39% of households while smartphones have rocketed from 63% of adults having one up to 93%. As a result, audio listenership is booming and digital audio channels annual adult listening in mediums such as podcasts (+11% to 33%) and music streaming (+8% to 52%) continue to go from strength to strength.

Similarly, the motivation behind consumers listening is evolving. In 2014, research showed there to be 6 need states fulfilled by audio across core pillars of context and content. These being Broaden My HorizonsKeep Me in the Loop and Provide Social Currency (content-led) and Help Me EscapeLift My Mood and Amplify the Moment (context-led).

New research from 2022 discovered the existence of a 7th need state existing in the context-led pillar; Keep Me Company, driven by the need for companionship in the post-COVID world and a rise in economic hardship.

From a media perspective it’s key to understand the mindset a consumer is in when listening and plan accordingly however for an advertisers campaign to fulfil their true potential then audio branding plays a key role in 2 ways: consistency & contextual relevance.

Having a clear and consistent audio logo/sonic identity will enable brands to have recognition across all AV touchpoints. In a study of over 300 radio campaigns, it has been proven that use of consistent audio assets over time is more effective. While from the perspective of context, adverts that have been creatively tailored to relevant contextual moments achieved a 70% increase in engagement and 40% increase in memory encoding.

As seen with video, a one-size fits all approach is rarely the optimal strategy. Commercial radio may account for 78% of all commercial audio listening but adapting linear audio creative to fit with consumers need states and contexts across the widening array of audio environments could be the key for advertisers to build deeper connections with their audience and reap untold rewards as a result.

Sources: Generation Audio, Radiocentre (Nov 2022) ; The Growing UK Audio Landscape, Mediatel (2022) ; Hear and now – How Situational Relevance Can Bolster Radio Ad Effectiveness, WARC (2019) ; What We Know About Radio and Audio Effectiveness, WARC (2022)

Lightbox Loves: Comfort and Control in the Age of Poly-Crises

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves

Before Covid hijacked headlines, the likes of the heightening climate crisis, cost of living crisis, social inequality and political uncertainty would have all been classed as era-defining in their own right. However, as people face an onslaught of one crisis after another, people are being forced to cope with the next news headline long before they can process previous events that have affected the nation.

This constant state of poly-crisis has meant that people are rejecting the tumultuousness of their external experiences and instead are turning inwards to safeguard their sanity and preserve their sense of mind. In fact, the7stars’ QT finds that happiness levels are at an all-time low since pandemic restrictions were lifted in the summer of 2021. In June 2021 alone, referrals to psychiatrists increased by 24% as people became more in tune to their personal internal state.

Doing so has granted people at least one of two things – control and comfort.

A retreat to a more personal world has allowed people to compensate for a lack of control on the outside, looking inwards to personal measures of value, success and progress. This has given rise to the likes of the anti-ambition movement as well as a surging uptake in AI (e.g. AI face filters has 14.9B views on TikTok), where users can gain more control in creating their own world, not only as a form of escapism from the uncertainty but also to grant themselves self-authority.

As people experience a loss of control, their trust towards establishments and brands has also diminished, with the7stars’ QT revealing that Brits’ confidence in almost every UK institutions from the NHS to the government, have all declined. Additionally, a 2021 survey by Havas has revealed that more than 7 in 10 of people don’t believe promises that brands make. In turn, trust has transferred towards de-centralised forms of influence such as smaller scale influencers. Brands can strive to dissipate feelings of distrust by demonstrating honesty and openness, dropping pretence and instead allowing brand loyalists to become a part of their brand story. This can be achieved through non-hierarchical ways of communication and the employment of authentic messaging.

The ongoing sense of uncertainty in society has also shaped people to become creatures of hedonism and comfort. One way this has materialised is through the resurgence of nostalgia inducing products and services (e.g. the return of typewriters and vinyls), with 69% of Gen Z’s saying they find comfort in the familiar.

As a coping mechanism, people are leaning towards their internal instincts to navigate decisions as opposed to adopting practical mindsets. This has meant that consumers have a greater tendency to buy impulsively, giving in to indulgences such as junk food, cigarettes, and alcohol. In fact, just under 7 in 10 of ‘buy now, pay later’ Gen Z users have now racked up debts across multiple platforms in a bid to use retail therapy to self-soothe. As comfort becomes more significant, brands will do well to think beyond the sphere of what they offer consumers on a materialistic level. Instead expressing genuine intent to help people as an establishment and aggregating wider brand values will go a long way in supporting consumers through tough times.

Source: the7stars QT, Canvas8

Lightbox Loves: FOMO

By | Featured, Lightbox Loves

YOLO, JOMO, FOMO…. Which acronym do you identify with most?

Before you choose, there’s now more to add to the list.  Might you have FOBO (Fear of Better Options: a feeling that you’re missing out on potentially better alternatives)?  Or what about FOJI (Fear of Joining In: the fear of sharing things on social media that don’t garner a response)?

A Psychiatry Journal article highlighted that FOMO, and associated similar feelings, have been on the increase since the FOMO term was originally identified back in 1996.  Correlated with the proliferation of communication platforms and smartphone ownership, news and content has become ever more accessible.

Officially entering the dictionary in 2004, the FOMO term has become commonplace in conversation ever since.  However, while many scholarly articles focus on the negative or behavioural economic effects of FOMO, there’s also a positive upside to FOMO that’s often overlooked.

The science behind FOMO is pretty simple.  Losses loom larger than gains.  In fact, the pain of losing is psychologically considered to be twice as powerful as the pleasure of gaining.  But let’s not forget, it’s a perception, not a measured response.  And that’s where there can be a helpful benefit.

A perceived feeling of not wanting to miss out on something has the power to encourage action. Driving people to participate, to join in with others, or just to be a part of something bigger.

In times of social and economic uncertainty the role of community and experiences – both offline and online – that celebrate togetherness are incredibly powerful for making people feel happier and enjoy a sense of belonging.

There’s an opportunity for brands to fuel the FOMO in 2023 to celebrate communities big and small across the nation.  Dialling up the joy that comes from sociability and the positive impact of involvement and engagement.

Sources: Kahneman & Tversky, 1979, the7stars Lightbox Lowdown