5 Tips to Find Your Brand Sound

5 Tips to Find Your Brand Sound

We all know emotion sells; music and sound emote more deeply than any other medium.

Anthea Varigos
Posted by Anthea Varigos

You know what your brand looks like, but do you know your BrandSound?

Brands have established clear visual cues to represent themselves. Logos and well crafted copy have been the front line in the language of commerce.

The visual media landscape has evolved from papyrus to print to digit. The aural media has progressed from morse-code, through radio, vinyl, cassette, cd to mp3… These two avenues combined in creating compelling narrative to a stationary audience with the earliest ‘talkies’ through to modern film and TV.

Consumers now have immediate access through multi-format communication tools to the combination of both visuals and sound. Branding should follow.

Certainly visual cues drive motivation. Language elicits cerebral response.  Sound inherently moves us on a physiological level, and also on an acutely emotional level. The sound of a predator sets off a primal signal for survival. The sound of a child laughing inspires equally powerful emotion. “The stirring or animating power of music entails emotional no less than motor arousal. We turn to music, we need it, because of its ability to move us, to induce feelings and moods, states of mind.” (Oxford Journal: The Brain)

The media which now we absorb hourly has capabilities to harness this sonic connection.

Why are BrandSounds so important?

In the current digital climate almost 70% of Australians are online. In 2013 we spent 24 billion minutes on the internet, which equates to approximately 46 thousand years. We collectively viewed 39 billion web pages last year. 13.4 billion apps were downloaded globally in 2012 (Neilson Statistics). To put this into context, there were more than double the page views in Australia last year than Gina Rinehart’s current wealth. That’s a lot of opportunity to connect sonically and emotionally with your customers!

Perhaps not surprisingly, consumers in this digital age want more emotional connection with brands.  “We’re seeing more of an emphasis on brands building emotional relationships with consumers because it’s powerful and it works…”  Jim Stengel (former Global CMO Proctor & Gamble)

We build this emotion through compelling ideas, narrative, KSMs and content – and now in the age of Apps & digital, with sound and music. “Music activates the amygdala which is involved with the processing of emotion, as well as areas of the prefrontal cortex involved in abstract decision making. When we’re listening to music, the most advanced areas of the brain tie in to the most ancient.” (Why Your Brain Craves Music, TIME)

The difference between BrandSounds and traditional jingles?

Advertising has effectively used music and sound to engage emotionally through jingles. These are still important for marketing campaigns, however the online customer is actively searching rather than passively receiving as with TV and cinema.  “Many consumers remember a commercial, yet do not associate the commercial with the name of the advertiser… a signature sound or a sound logo can help increase the association scores of BMW commercials…” Al Ries (founder and chairman of Ries & Ries)

It is time to think beyond the traditional jingle. Narratives and stories are fundamental to communicating ideas which sell. Due to the rapid growth of technology, we now have the option of hearing brands – a luxury that in the past only companies such as computing and movie/sound production houses could access.

The BrandSound entwined with your logo create your brand’s emotional DNA. The prime example of BrandSound is the Intel Inside sound byte. Your jingles enhance and assist with your advertising, they change seasonally. Your BrandSound should be updated as you do your logo; rarely and with good reason.

How to BrandSound? 

There are three steps to creating the perfect BrandSound:

  1. Know your brand
  2. Know your consumer
  3. Know and sonically deliver the emotion that connects them

How can brands sonically deliver emotional connection?

Consider the Intel Inside benchmark and delve into the question: When are we as consumers truly emotionally connected with computer processing chips? Most of the time we are unaware of their existence. The most acute emotional moment we have with our computers & their processors is when they don’t turn on! This is why the Intel BrandSound has such a strong emotional bind with us – it has literally become the sound of turning on.

The automotive industry also has well known BrandSounds. The emotional connection to cars is more obvious. It is interesting to note that two of the most successful automotive BrandSounds draw from a similar sonic memory. Both BMW and VW have BrandSounds with a distinctive “tck tck”. This addresses a very real emotional connection between consumers and cars: the rather subconscious fear of being safe in a vehicle that moves at great speed. The “tck tck” is reminiscent of the sound of a firmly shutting car door.

How will marketers benefit from adopting a BrandSound?

Building brand enthusiasts and thus brand equity, are vital in the competitive world. Emotional relationships are equally important to FMCG marketers as to luxury goods. Technology offers us more opportunity that ever before to harness this vital power of BrandSound.

70% of smartphone users use their phone while consuming another form of media, according to Google’s Mobile Ads Blog. In other words customers are using their personal media devices in parallel to other interactions with your brand. Browsing the web on tablets, watching your ad on TV all whilst sharing their experience on social networks via their mobile device.

Specifically to the FMCG market, generic house brands “increasing levels of competition between branded and private-label products and changing consumer shopping patterns will create a difficult landscape for operators over the next five years to 2016-17 as supermarket shelf wars intensify.” (stuartalexander.com.au) Adding BrandSound to your marketing mix intensifies the emotional connection with your consumer, and personalises your brand – quickly and deeply.

Bonus BrandSound Tips – Be bespoke!

1. Treat the creation of your BrandSoundas you would a logo

2. Utilise the history of music and sound in your BrandSound creation

3. Understand the true psychological connection your consumers crave

4. Update your BrandSound as you would your logo,

4. Leave fads and trends to jingles.

BrandSounds can harness a huge array of emotion. Victory, comfort, success – what do you want your consumers to feel when they connect with your brand?

You know what your brand looks like: Now what is your brand sound?