Like most branding and marketing efforts, sonic branding (or audio branding) is both an art and a science. Creativity and knowledge must unite in perfect harmony to create something with true power and the desired impact. Your brand in audio is much more than a sound logo or a brand tune. Let’s have a look at sonic branding across multiple touch points and how to manage it.
At the basis of your sonic branding efforts there should be the sound strategy. I say „sound” instead of „music” because it should encompass not only music, but any sound related to your brand. It describes what your brand sounds like, and why it sounds that way. It features a description of the core of your sonic identity, and how it adapts to different touch points.
At some point you will need some bit of audio or music that forms the very core of your sonic identity. Some sonic branding agencies refer to this core as the sonic DNA, others as the source audio. Heck, there are probably as many names as there are agencies. It could be an audio logo, a full song or even just a transcription of a short tune, sometimes a single note.
This core should reflect your desired image perfectly. It will be the first building block for your sonic identity, so get this one right. There are many ways to come to such a core. Most agencies, producers and composers will follow their gut feeling to come up with something that fits the brand. There are more sophisticated methods available these days, such as brand-matching research tools. There is no right way or wrong way though. It is a process of both creativity and knowledge.
Next, the core has to be implemented in audio that is suitable for all specific touch points (situations in which you engage with the consumer). Every touch point, whether it is a tv ad, your website or even de usage of your product has its own specific demands in terms of what sound is suitable and helpful.
Your tv ad, for instance, might be designed to have maximum stopping power. It is supposed to grab the viewer by the throat and make sure your message comes across. At the same time, you might have physical shops where the atmosphere is relaxing and laid back for maximum shopping pleasure. You can imagine the sound required for your tv ad’s stopping power is unlikely to be very relaxing. And think about the practical issue of time. Your commercial might last 30 seconds. Your stores are open for 8 hours daily! Still, both touch points have to fit your brand identity.
All the different touch points, therefore, need to be addressed in your sound strategy. Building from the core, your auditive communications are adapted to function properly at each touch point.
To help you get started, here’s a couple of common touch points where one might encounter brand sound:
– TV or radio commercials
– Product usage
– At home (branded Spotify playlists?)
And here’s a couple of sounds that could (and should?) be part of your sonic identity:
– Audio logo
– Brand tune
– Instore background music
– Voice response system (both the actual voice and waiting music)
– Product sound
– Interface sound (software/website/app)
– Event sound (music at your fare stands, your own music festivals, etc.)
When done right, sonic branding can give your business a strong boost. From purchase stimulating instore music to recall and positive association boosting music in ads. Just dive in and get in touch if you need any help!