HVAC branding stereotypesThe marketing used by heating and air conditioning firms still plays to traditional gender stereotypes, new research has revealed.

A study conducted by PH Media Group has found the typical voice profile used in their audio branding is male and aged 35 to 45.

The most popular voice is also friendly, clear, and distinctive in tone, helping to convey a sense of obliging service and authority.

But audio branding specialist PH Media Group advises heating and air conditioning companies to consider breaking with stereotypes where appropriate and choose branding that reflects an increasingly diverse customer base.

“The fact the most popular voice used in the trade is male will come as no surprise, given traditional perceptions of the industry and the make-up of its workforce,” said Dan Lafferty, director of voice and music at PH Media Group.

“This is not necessarily a bad thing, as a deep, masculine voice can be used to convey a sense of authority, especially when combined with corporate music.

“But that doesn’t mean it will necessarily be the best fit across the board and companies should use a voice which best reflects their products, customer base, and service proposition.

“A feminine voice might be appropriate to reflect a changing customer base and can be equally authoritative while also being perceived as soothing and welcoming.”

The research audited the heating and air conditioning trade’s on-hold marketing — the messages heard by callers when they are put on hold or transferred — to reveal which voice and music is most widely used.

The most popular music tracks were corporate, dynamic, and modern in style, designed to reinforce a professional and knowledgeable image, instilling customers with confidence.

Many firms opt to use popular music tracks but, due to existing emotional associations, these tracks are often unsuitable in convincing a customer to buy.

“Sound is a powerful emotional sense,” added Lafferty. “People will often attach feelings, both positive and negative, to a piece of commercial music, which will be recalled upon hearing it.

“Placing a piece of commercial music in an on-hold situation, no matter how cheery and upbeat it may seem, is a lottery of the individual’s previous experience of the track. Using commercial music is also a square peg, round hole scenario, taking a piece of music and trying to make it fit a new purpose to convey a message it was never intended to.

“A bespoke music track starts from the ground up, with each element forming or reflecting the brand proposition, and with there being no previous exposure among the client base. The physical attributes of the track — whether major, minor, fast, slow, loud or quiet — are used to communicate emotional meaning, rather than the personal experience of the individual.”

Content for the European Spotlight is provided courtesy of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Magazine, London. For more information, visit www.racplus.com.

Publication date: 9/22/2014

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