sonic branding how to use the power of sound for marketing
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Building the power of the brand, Soundwave by Soundwave. Sonic brand: how it all began.

Sound is a force. Something that can command, inspire, and elicit powerful emotional responses in people. And in today’s rapid era of digital transformation, big brands and agencies are harnessing the power of audio for marketing purposes.

But using sound as a way to build engagement and sell things isn’t a new concept. In the year 400 AD, church bells were introduced into the Christian church by Senator Paulinus de Nola, to capture the attention of the faithful and encourage them to come to prayer. In the 1500s, ditties were introduced to the streets of London as traders sang songs to bring in punters.

Fast forward to 1922, and elevator music became a thing, soothing anxious passengers who were terrified of those then futuristic steel cages. A decade later, in 1932, national anthems were first played for gold medalists at the Los Angeles Olympic Games medal ceremonies, with the power of sound harnessed to celebrate athletes and honor nations. .

Once upon a time there was a jingle

Jumping another half a decade, until 1984, and the now infamous Michael Jackson performed his iconic moonwalk amid Pepsi’s «  The New Generation  » TV commercial, a campaign that was so successful it attracted thousands of listeners to radio stations. to request the « Pepsi song ». By adapting the song Billie Jean for Pepsi, with lyrics « you are the Pepsi generation, drink and taste the thrill of the day », the commercial drove the world crazy for both the song and the drink it was making. promotion. And people still think of Pepsi as “the drink for a whole new generation” to this day.

Since the 1980s, sounds such as advertising jingles, station, airport or supermarket announcements, television network trills and twangs, even the ping of the dishwasher at the end of a cycle, have become our familiar and constant companions. The Sonic brand is ubiquitous, fully anchored in the culture and consciousness of the consumer. And often we hear and absorb it without even realizing it.

Use sound strategically and across different touchpoints

The Sonic brand has a place in history, surrounds us today and will probably immerse us even more tomorrow. But, on a more practical level, what is it exactly? How is it used? What is it used for the most? The Sonic brand is a holistic or integrated approach to a brand’s use of sound and music across many different touchpoints. And those touchpoints can be anything from a website to a chatbot, jingle, music on hold, sound logo, or the beep of a single button.

The relationship between sound and reaction

Sonic branding is also about the relationship between sound and the consumer, or more precisely the consumer’s brain. First of all, it is important to understand that sound does not occur in a vacuum. It is reciprocal. If a giant explosion were to occur without any human being present to hear it, science wouldn’t strictly classify this as «  sound  » because it is not received by an eardrum. But when an eardrum receives it and transmits this sound to the brain, the human brain will interact with this sound and link it to an intuitive reaction.

The sound is a reciprocal between the thing that produces it and the thing that hears and reacts to it, and this is where the power of sound branding lies. Listen, feel. Feel, buy. It’s a simple equation. Yet many brands have yet to fully harness the strength that is inherent in sound.

sound is an elespacio interaction

Different sounds, different responses

As we have already seen, sound branding can be adapted to various mediums and broken down into various elements, while different sounds or instruments can cause different emotions in people. Other examples of a sound brand include navigation sounds, voice assist technology, soundscapes (used when interacting with a brand in a physical space), and actual voiceovers (an extraordinary example of the latter). being the beloved voice of David Attenborough for the BBC.)

Some brands create long lasting sound expressions, entire brand anthems that can be adapted for use across all touchpoints – for logo or website, for advertising purposes, retail experiences or events such as trade shows. Other brands are using a more micro-sound approach, creating many distinct sounds that are implemented throughout the brand’s infrastructure, while working together to create a more unified whole.

The Art of the Instrumental

The sonic brand becomes even richer as a concept as different instruments are used to elicit different feelings. The strings create a feeling of warmth and security, for example, the horns can create a feeling of courage, the drums can produce something more primitive, while the human voice can make us feel understood and reassured.

The grades themselves count as well. It is believed that melodies in major keys make us happier than minor keys, while harmonic progression can also influence how music makes us feel.

That’s why entire sonic branding agencies now exist to help brands turn their sonic ambitions into a focused and integrated approach. Sonic design is not just about designing a single sound or even a collection of sounds. It’s about examining how different roles play together. And the use of sound not only provokes isolated reactions, but creates an ongoing story.

Masters of sound

When it comes to sonic brand cues, there are some brands that are worth mentioning. It’s hard to ignore, for example, McDonald’s sonic super strength, with its «  I’m Loving It  » jingle transcending time zones and continents. Disney also deserves a mention for the vast breadth and depth of its sound ecosystem, producing entire sound identities for every movie it makes. But it’s Apple and Amazon that are busy leading the Sonic brand into the future, shaping our lives with their AI-based voice assist technology, and making information easier to access than ever before.

Small brands can learn a lot from these sound brand behemoths, revolutionizing the way we perceive, react and communicate, and using sound to change the world as we know it.

So, as we’ve seen, sound affects consumers deeply and immediately, sparking feelings and actions, whether it’s a child sprinting down the road to the sound of an ice cream van jingle, or Mastercard releasing a music record to transform the way customers perceive their business. And that makes sound an amazing marketing tool.

Sound can create a deep bond between a consumer and a brand that has the power to last a lifetime. And in this rapidly digitizing world, now is the time for every brand, great and small, use sound to satisfy eardrums, engage spirits and build loyalty.

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