According to James D Roumeliotis in his book: ‘Sound Branding - Wired to Go’, “Sound Branding is common sense”. Quite simply, he says, we are all wired to go. It is said that the human ear reacts to certain sounds more than others. This is sound branding.
Sound, most notably music, triggers emotions, auditory pleasures, memories and associations. This form of brand management is a multi-sensory form of communication and a holistic corporate model, which drives perception. It creates attention with familiar associations and has the power to differentiate your campaign from the dross of mediocre media.
The first benefit of sound branding is that it enhances brand identity and loyalty.
Sales will rise, and people will sing your song on the way to work. Take the memorable Intel or Coca-Cola jingles as key templates. There are others.
Who doesn’t recognise Harley Davidson’s distinctive and trademarked motorcycle exhaust sound? Or Kellogg’s cereal crunching? What this demonstrates is strategic marketing channeled by the power of sound. Firms committed to sound branding know that it delivers product personality.
The proliferation of digital media has only increased the effectiveness of the sound branding experience. Test drive the examples below to see that this is not so:
1) Bentley Motor Cars developed “The new sound of Bentley” - a stirring and thunderous soundtrack and the prelude to a potent new Bentley driving experience.
2) Hip boutique hotels such as Puro Hotel in Mallorca, whose beach bar has been voted one of the world’s 50 best by CNN Travel, surrounds you everywhere with lounge/chill-out genre of music compiled by its in-house DJ ? whether you open their website, choose to listen to their on-line steaming player, purchase a CD, relax by the pool sipping a passion fruit mojito or come nightfall, gather around to dance to their house tunes.
3) Fashion retailer, American Apparel geared for a ‘twentysomething’ audience, constantly plays a fast paced “feel-good” tempo type of music in the background streamed from its own Viva radio station – its official in-store music and audio network. As part of its overall store ambiance, it plays it live in over 160 of its retail locations worldwide. This feat has demonstrated its influence on shopper purchases resulting in increased sales.
Martin Lindstrom, branding expert and author of several books on the subject of ‘neuromarketing’, wrote in his book “Brand Sense” (on “Branding the Sound of Falling Aluminium”), that the Danish luxury audio/video brand, Bang & Olufsen, has raised the bar in the manufacture of cordless phones with the Beocom 2 model phone ring tone. He is quoted stating:
“By refining this existing sensory touch point, additional brand equity is established, and a new aspect of the Bang & Olufsen brand is raised in the universe of the brand.”
Birgitte Rode, CEO of Audio Management adds, “The difference between the BeoCom2 sound and other ringing tones is, that the Bang & Olufsen sound is human, it makes you feel at home, and it´s instantly recognisable.”
Iconic fashion designer, Karl Lagerfield once said that “Fashion and music are similar because music expresses a time frame as well.” Music effects volume and the good vibrations. Upbeat music appropriate for the evening will not appeal to morning customers enjoying their coffee.
Imagine you are launching an Italian-themed bar. Interject Italian vibes from artists such as Zuccero and Eros Ramazotti. If your theme is geared to a hip Bobo audience, include a driving beat from cutting-edge alternative and electronic artists.
Designing and implementing custom music and visual strategies emotionally anchor a brand to its clients. The purpose of branded digital music compilations is to turn your listeners into disciples of your brand. Every aspect of your custom CD speaks volumes about your brand. Think Colette in Paris.
That said, custom produced white label CDs place equal importance on print, media, and visual elements in addition to the music. Specialty music compilation companies such as Sonodea and Custom CD Corporation oversee all logistics related to custom branded CDs.
They work closely with clients on everything from music themes to packaging. This ensures that the music resonates with their customers’ clientele and target demographics. Sonodea also creates sound environments for retailers, boutique hotels and restaurants.
A brand’s identity is comprised of visual, auditory and other sensory components that create clear client recognition. Music has the ability to seduce the soul, raise the spirit, and build social connections. Brand retention becomes child’s play with the right soundtrack.
Business like other domains has become show business. Brand image is all about experience, perception and differentiation. Sound branding is therefore, a fundamental part of the equation and the brand experience.
The book’s author, James D Roumeliotis, is an expert on luxury brand management based in Montreal, Canada. He is a regular contributor to RedHerring on luxury brand management and marketing strategy.