“Having a strong voice is all about being a person that people can feel on the other side of the words.”– Whitney Ryan
Take the logo away from the brand, and what else remains? Are the components identifiable in isolation? It is an important question because it gives you the perspective that a brand is so much bigger than its logo or packaging. However, when it comes to branding jingles and audios have created a special place for themselves. Close your eyes and listen to a lion’s roar, your mind will instantly remind you of MGM’s logo from your childhood, Disney’s chime fills you with hope, and you can point to a Royal Enfield in a sea of people due to its peculiar sound.
Sound is not a stranger to branding. When the movie entered the market, people sat in cinema halls watching the silent films but the theatres were never truly silent because these moving pictures were accompanied by a pianist capturing every emotion as the story went along. In a nutshell, Sound is hard-wired with our emotional circuit. From acting as a stepping stone to building mood to acting as a defining element in the level of likeability, reliability, and even attractiveness, voice/tone is everything.
Once a popular medium to communicate emotions, information, and everything in between, Sound started to fade into the background with the advent of visual mediums. It has risen to power again and, the next era is upon us formally known as Sonic Branding or the ‘Age of Alexa’
In this article, let’s discuss this new era of Sonic branding, why it is so important and why should we all speak up.
What Is The Deal With Sonic Branding?
Sonic branding is a strategic use of music or audio that helps reinforce brand recognition in the minds of the users and enhances the consumer experience. A relatively unexplored aspect by marketers around the world, it is believed that ‘sound’ is an important factor influencing the purchasing behaviour as it is emotionally direct.
One of the industries that have mastered this art is film and television. From the triumphant horns of 20th Century Fox’s anthem to the melodious tune of Dharma Productions to Lion’s roar of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, sonic logos have become an intrinsic part of cinema.
Some of the other brands that have integrated music/audio in their branding are McDonald’s with its ‘I’m lovin’ it’ jingle, LG’s playful tune, and Nokia’s trademark ringtone that ruled over customers for a decade.
The realm of Sonic or Audio branding reins beyond jingles and chimes, it entails the creation of an entire audio language for the brand based on its essence, values, promise, and personality. It is the language that gets expressed across all touchpoints, from the websites and apps to trade shows to TV to the retail and even the product itself. Just as texts and visuals in a brand expression are optimized at each medium, the audio expressions are also sensitively adapted across the touchpoints, so they’re psychologically appropriate to the channel.
Why Is It So Important?
- Sound is a more powerful medium than visual expression. Hearing involves receiving auditory information through ears but it is our brain that listens, filters focuses, remembers, and responds to it.
- Sound is hard-wired into our brains, and can successfully build the mood. It creates a more immediate emotional impact on the consumer.
- The right mix of sound/music can increase the understanding of what a brand stands for. Sound can prove to be a vital element in brand expression.
- Brands should never underestimate sound rather it can be a deciding factor in the purchasing decision. The right use of the sounds can emanate and harness emotions like joy, trust, and nostalgia that can effectively help define a brand’s unique personality.
What Does Your Brand Sound Like?
“A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is. It is what consumers tell each other it is.” — Scott Cook
Whether you are in the process of creating a brand identity or looking forward to rebranding it, it is crucial to understand that branding is the emotional and psychological relationship created between you and your customers. It is the glue that holds your products, services, and content together. Ultimately the mission of branding is to distinguish you from the competition.
Like every great brand, your brand has a personality – a voice. Generally confused with the tone, a brand voice is a mission statement, whereas, the tone is the application of that mission. There is only one voice for your brand and many tones that helps define the brand voice. It mainly comprises the character, tone, language, and purpose, collectively, it shapes the overall voice of the brand.
To develop an effective sonic branding strategy, it is crucial to examine the culture, monitor the conversation, and relate with the community. In the context of branding -:
Culture is formed on the values that the company stands for? Mission, vision, and purpose set your company apart from all the others. It is also unique qualities that make your culture special.
Community is the set of people that the brand directly caters to. To create an effective sonic strategy, listen to what the community says about the brand and how they express it. This will help you engagingly approach the community as you speak their language.
Conversation stands for content that you put out to identify with your community’s shared values, demographics, geological location, passion, and subjects that are important to them.
The true test of a sonic branding strategy is through its brand conversations. If the conversation is effective and robust enough, the content created for interactions is engaging, for the current world, so is the sound. Next time, when you are binge-watching Netflix, opening a coke, or paying through Google Pay, pay attention to how you interact with the brand and its sound. What sort of tone, verbiage, and level of playfulness or seriousness do you find appropriate. Most likely, someone engineered it for the brand taste, elevating the customer’s experience, and reaching the ultimate goal – satisfaction.
If your brand doesn’t have a sonic identity already, now is the time to start thinking about one. As audio technology is on the rise with podcasts, Spotify, and SoundCloud, the audio will become more embedded in our lives. Having a distinctive audio trademark will prove to be an essential branding tool. Similar to the logo, colours, and typeface, a strong sonic brand creates consistency, differentiation, and familiarity across platforms. When done right, your efforts can reap rewards for years to come.
If you wish to rebrand your own business whether it is a logo redesign, a website redesign, refreshed messaging, or a complete brand makeover, it’s time you get in touch with professional branding agencies like Vowels to make your vision come true. We specialize in brand consultancy, strategy, brand guidelines, CI manual, brand presentation, and corporate branding.