Sonic Branding: What It Is And Why You Should Be Doing It
Does your brand have a signature sound? Today, most brands don't. Many brands choose to focus on other aspects of branding instead, disregarding the power of sound entirely. One of the main purposes of branding is to build recognition and brand awareness. An original sound effect, jingle, or song can help you with that by making your brand more memorable and recognizable. Sonic branding is about making sure that your brand is heard as well as seen. So why not start leveraging this overlooked tool?
What Is Sonic Branding?
Sonic branding refers to the unique sounds associated with your brand, product, or service. This association is developed as a part of a strategy that helps your audience immediately associate certain sounds with your brand. The end goal is to create a ‘sound logo’ and an audio identity that makes your audience instantly think of your brand when they hear your sound/song and vice versa.
Why It Matters
It only takes humans 0.15 seconds to react to sound, and every moment in our lives is affected by it. When we hear certain sounds, we automatically experience an emotional response. For instance, the ‘whoosh’ sound you hear on an Apple device after sending an email lets you know your communications have been successful, or the click when you lock your car lets you know you're safe. We are consuming sounds every moment of every day, and we don’t have to be actively listening to absorb the message each of those sounds sends. From the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep, our life is filled with sound. Sonic branding is your opportunity to be a part of this symphony.
A Guide To Sonic Branding
The process of capturing your brand’s essence with only a few notes of sound can be challenging, but it pays off. Creating a sonic logo allows you to add a recognizable component to your strategy that captures the attention of customers who are barely paying attention. So, how should you get started?
1. Start with an audit: Before you dive into figuring out your signature sound, you need to determine where you are standing. Whether you are actively building your sonic branding strategy or not, the odds are you already have the roots of your audio identity out there. Pay attention to the music you play on your Reels or the words you say at the end of a video, ask yourself what they say about your brand and build your sonic brand based on that. What do the sounds you already use say about your brand? Which sounds best exemplify your brand? After you answer these questions, find a way to make a sound that encapsulates the essence of your brand.
2. Keep your 'sound logo' simple: The first audio component you should have when building your audio identity is your 'sound logo.' Much like a visual logo, a good sound logo is a component that builds recognition and awareness in a matter of seconds. However, even though you want your audio identity to be memorable and recognizable, you need to keep it simple. You might be tempted to construct an overly complicated piece, but the best thing you can do is keep your sound as simple as possible. If you think about iconic sonic branding examples, you’ll notice that their sound is clean and simple. Think about the lion roar from MGM. As simple as it is; this sound is instantly recognizable by almost everyone.
- Tip: Create a sonic logo that doesn’t rely on words. Find a sound that elicits a specific feeling from your audience.
3. Tap on emotions: Even though sonic branding is an underused tool, there is still too much sound in our everyday lives. If you want to join the sonic world, make it mean something. As mentioned earlier, your sonic logo needs to evoke a feeling. Your customers don’t want yet another source of meaningless noise. Create a sound identity that enhances your audience’s experience, making it worth their time and attention.
4. Use original sounds: Because tapping on the emotions is so critical for a successful sonic strategy, companies often try to take ownership of everyday sounds that already provoke certain emotions. However, copyrighting every day sounds like footsteps or birds chirping is near impossible. Moreover, a lot of familiar sounds are already owned by other companies. So, create an original sound that highlights your position in the marketplace and reminds your customers just how unique you are.
Benefits Of Sonic Branding
As you can see, a compelling sound can help your brand stand out from the competition. Sound evokes emotion, enhances recall, and strengthens the connection with customers by appealing to different senses. Many benefits come from implementing a great sonic branding strategy, but let’s go over those that stand out the most.
1. Your brand will get more attention: In a world where people are constantly bombarded by information, attention is perhaps the most difficult yet most important asset to obtain. Sonic branding will help you capture the attention of your audience and build brand recognition. Moreover, as mentioned earlier, people don’t need to listen actively to absorb a message, which allows you to reach your customers even if they are not listening.
2. Strengthening loyalty: When it comes to triggering emotions, sound surpasses visuals by a lot. You can tap into your audience's emotions to strengthen their loyalty and commitment to your brand with sounds.
3. Convey your purpose and values: Because sonic branding is meant to resonate with your audience on a more emotional level, it can be the perfect way to transmit your brand’s purpose and values. The right audio identity can express what your brand stands for and help you bring that message to your customers.
4. Better brand recognition and association: Not only should your customers be familiar with your company, but they should also remember it too. Many of your brand assets serve that purpose, such as your logo or your brand’s style, but studies prove that sound can lead to a quicker association and better memory.
5. Boost your brand's personality: As an emotional vehicle, sound can humanize your brand and make it more appealing to customers. Because people react faster to sound than any other media type, your sound identity can help you give greater depth to your brand’s personality.
6. Enhance your audience's experience: Music and sound are powerful tools that encourage people to engage with your brand further. Whether it is on social media, traditional media, or your webpage, having an audio identity will enhance your audience’s experience by appealing to all of their senses.
How To Incorporate Sonic Branding Into Your Social Media Strategy
The first thing that comes to mind when talking about sonic branding is TV commercials and jingles, but this powerful tool can, and should, also be applied to your digital marketing strategy. Let’s explore how you can leverage the power of sound in each of the most popular social media sites.
As of today, Facebook is the largest social media platform in the world. Incorporate your sonic branding into the videos you upload to this platform to build brand recognition and increase engagement. Use your sound logo at the beginning of your videos and build a recognizable tone.
Youtube is the largest video-sharing platform and the second largest search engine. Whether you have your Youtube channel, are running ads, or both, you should be leveraging the power of sound to build recognition on this channel. There are plenty of opportunities for sonic branding on Youtube. Still, we recommend you start by creating animated sound logos for your videos and including them at the beginning and end of each video. This will reinforce your brand's position in the listeners’ minds and will lead to better recognition.
Instagram is primarily a visual social media platform, making it a great place to incorporate your sonic branding strategy and stand out from the crowd. Include your sonic logo in the videos that you post and consider creating voice-overs for reels. Moreover, because businesses can’t use copyrighted music in their videos, Instagram is the perfect place to get creative and capitalize on your own sounds and songs.
Apart from the many reasons why your brand should be on TikTok, this platform is the perfect place to implement your sonic branding strategy. According to TikTok, 73% of users stop to look at ads that have audio and 65% want to hear original sounds from brands. Giving your audience what they want can give you an advantage over your competitors.
Examples Of Brands That Excel At Sonic Branding
- Apple: From the Mac startup sound to the default iPhone ringtone, Apple excels at sonic branding. While the sound of Mac’s startup has evolved over time, its essence remains, making it instantly recognizable by nearly everyone who hears it.
- Walt Disney Pictures: Disney movies have had several distinctive jingles over the years. While these jingles and sounds vary, all of them accomplish one thing: they tap into your emotions and communicate that you are about to watch something extraordinary.
- Nationwide: The Nationwide iconic sound logo has been around for over 50 years. Nationwide is a great example of successful sonic branding because its ‘Nationwide is on your side’ jingle transmits everything the audience needs to know in just a couple of seconds. This sound logo conveys peace and reassurance, which is everything an insurance company should strive to be.
- Netflix: Ta-dum- that is the sound you hear the moment you open Netflix. This sound is reminiscent of going to the cinema, which was why it was created. You can probably hear it in your head right now! This simple and short sound is enough to create recognition and association with the brand. However, Netflix also has one more sound logo for original movies and TV shows, it is a two-beats sound bite, yet it is instantly recognizable. This second sound logo is interesting because it comes from a scene of the widely successful Netflix Original series House Of Cards.
Sonic branding is an under appreciated marketing tool that could help you differentiate your brand from competitors. If you are not doing it already, what are you waiting for? Work with a sonic branding agency to find your original sound and enhance your marketing strategy.
Whether you were wondering what sonic branding is or thinking of ways to include it into your marketing strategy, we hope this blog helped you figure it out. For more tips and advice on all things marketing and branding, check out the rest of Power Move Marketing's blogs!
Author: Julia Prieto