Sound branding, according to Wikipedia - also known as audio branding, music branding, sonic branding, acoustic branding or sonic mnemonics - is “the use of sound to reinforce brand identity”. Sound branding is said to be “increasingly becoming a vehicle for conveying a memorable message to targeted consumers, taking advantage of the powerful memory sense of sound”.
The concept is believed to be one of ‘common sense’. Humans are all ‘wired to go’ with ears reacting to certain sounds more than others. It’s increasingly becoming a marketing technique which can help to reinforce brand identity. Whereas many people only think of background music or sound effects for the cinema, in truth, many advertisers use music and background noise to help sell products and services. Sound branding works because commercial producers are able to take advantage of our powerful memory sense of sound.
Sound branding can include everything from short musical pieces to simple songs, jingles and even sound logos (audio representations of a company logo) which are able to trigger emotions, auditory pleasures, memories and other associations. Sound branding is a multi-sensory form of communication and a holistic corporate model which can drive perception. It’s also able to create attention with familiar associations and differentiates from the dross of typical advertising media.
Sound branding can aid in creating a strong impression of a company within a person’s mind. Ideally, it can reveal something about a company or about a specific product. Science suggests that sound has a direct and instantaneous link to the rational and emotional parts of the human brain. Sounds - such as words - can quickly cause an emotional response. If you know anything about advertising, you also know that emotional response is what you want as an end result… this is what makes a company’s customers take action!
Audio identity is an important part of sound branding. A company must let its audience know who it is through sound and music. There are two primary ways to do this:
- firstly, there is traditional promo-branding, which identifies a brand and communicates directly with an audience
- and secondly, there is actionable branding. The term could also be understood as “subliminal advertising”. This is when producers make an effort to affect emotions and influence the behaviour of listeners through sound.
Companies such as Bentley Motor Cars, Coca-Cola, Harley Davidson and American Apparel all use memorable auditory effects through their advertising campaigns to enhance brand identity and brand loyalty, thus increasing overall 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 Bang & Olufsen has raised the bar in the manufacture of corded phones with the Beocom 2 model phone ring tone. He is quoted as 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 BeoCom 2 sound and other ringing tones is, that the Bang & Olufsen sound is human; it makes you feel at home and is instantly recognisable”.
As we say above, sound branding can also be known as sonic branding. Sonic branding is basically the same concept as sound branding and is sometimes used with reference to complete systems of sounds as opposed to a musical score. Sonic branding is critical not just for commercials but also for mobile phone systems, ATM machines, laptop computers, PDAs and other devices that make user interaction an aurally satisfying experience. Every single tone counts - and a company that takes branding seriously will take sound branding seriously (adapted from Source)