What is Your Sonic Brand?
We love to ask marketing executives what their sonic brand is. It’s usually an eyes-wide-open, head-tilt moment because while sonic branding isn’t new, many marketers don’t understand it. Most do, however, understand what the term “brand” means.
Consider your company’s logo. Anywhere your brand has an opportunity to catch your customers’ eyeballs, you ensure that your visual logo is visible. It’s on your website, it’s on your letterhead, it’s on your business cards, it’s on your social media pages—it’s even in your email signature. In addition, your company's logo is likely to be emblazoned on a variety of merchandise like T-shirts, coffee mugs, beer glasses, and backpacks.
Over time, your audience has come to recognize your visual logo and now associates it with your brand and your company. It has become indelibly memorable.
Sonic brands work much the same way. The difference is that they appeal to consumers’ sense of hearing, not sight. Instead of a visual that is seen and is stored in iconic memory, sonic brands use audio—the power of echoic memory—to reinforce brand identity.
A sonic brand is a piece of audio content that serves as a signature sound for your brand. It creates for consumers an unbreakable link between the brand and the signature sound. In doing so, it becomes indelibly memorable.
Like a favorite hit song, a well-developed sonic brand gets into the consumer’s mind and never gets back out. When they hear the signature sound, they think of the brand. When they think of the brand, they recall the signature sound.
Whether you realize it or not, you’ve been exposed to sonic branding from birth. Your mother’s voice was the first sonic “cue” you received—an aural confirmation that it was, in fact, Mom attending to your needs. Later, you began to recognize her various vocal tones—happiness, sadness, anger, regret—all of which told you what you needed to know about her mood at any given point in time.
When you started watching television, you were exposed to another kind of sonic brand—the kind that creates unique product, brand and company identification. How many times have you heard Nationwide tell you, “Nationwide is on your side”?
Now, they’ve expanded upon that that by including that sonic brand in a number custom “jingles” that are all variations of the same theme (which really sound like a smooth jazz songs) performed by jazz vocalist Jill Scott.
These new custom jingles exude warmth, security, serenity, confidence, and a range of positive human emotions. They’re everything you’d expect from a rock-solid, longstanding insurance provider like Nationwide. Each jingle ends with Jill Scott delivering the classic Nationwide vocal sonic brand “Nationwide is on your side.”
What is your sonic brand?
And so, we ask you again: What is your sonic brand?
You can begin answering that question by conducting a deep examination of your brand: its values, its promises, its benefits, its customers, the emotions it should evoke, and its “voice.” If you’re not ready to fly solo in this effort, talk to us about our brand auditing services. It’s the first step in the sonic branding process.