The stream of water flowing through the rocks, the sound of winds, birds chirping basically the sounds of nature. It has a soothing effect on most of us, stands for peace and tranquillity. The sounds in your kitchen represent food, living room represents life, street sounds are for life within chaos, the sound of car lock is for safety. Each sound holds meaning in our subconscious and triggers an emotional response. Fascinatingly it takes about 0.146 seconds for humans to emotionally respond, after hearing particular sounds. Now, what value does the sound or audio have in the world of business? Specifically, how and why do you catch these ‘0.146’ seconds from the customer? Let’s figure!
The foundation of voice technology can be traced back to the 1950s. Recently the growth has been tremendous. Amazon Echo, Google Home and even Alexa says, ‘sound has arrived’. The corporates are aware of logos, colours, images, the stuff related to visual branding. Sound, voice or sonic as it is called is still not part of the mainstream branding strategy. But soon it will be for sure.
Here we need to know……What is sonic branding? In simple words a sound that reminds you of a certain brand or product. For instance, when you hear the James Bond theme, there is an instant connect. The music piece signifies mystery, adventure, sophistication, danger and everything we relate to the franchise. Similarly, your brand will also have a sound piece, dedicated to itself. Just like your brand logo, it will speak for your brand mission, character, brand story everything in a few seconds. Giving birth to that sound and owing the legal rights to it all is the part of sonic branding.
Articulating it further, what is sonic branding, audio branding or sound branding for your company? What is ‘your brand sound’? You must know it before the sonic branding revolution sweeps away. Does your brand have a special sound in the media section? Is this sound unique enough to own a stamp? Which channels do you use to distribute it? The strategy?
Lots of questions and now the answers. Let’s study the brands which already know the importance of sonic branding and are killing it!
The audio branding of Columbia Pictures in the form of logo introduction creates magical and feel good vibrations. A sneak peak into the feelings you will experience from then. It stays with you. Doesn’t it?!!
The famous McDonald jingle introduced in 2003 and sung by Justin Timberlake. I’m sure its ringing into your mind right now, “I’m Lovin’ It”! Of course, it’s a part of a visual advertisement. After all these years the sound is synonymous with the brand itself. Now the jingle holds its space as a sound branding tool. The MacDonald’s jingle raked in 84% for excited and 82% for happy in a global research. The familiarity and the empathy connect across the world is that high.
The Mastercard audio logo also cuts across all music genres and countries. They have created their sonic branding – audio clip that the customer will relate to Mastercard. It will play as and when they make purchases or see it on TV. Different versions have been developed for food joints or taxi. To conquer the global audience, they have roped in musicians and creative teams across the world. More than eighteen months were spent to get the result. Legendary Mike Shinoda from LinkinPark was also a part of this. As referred by Business Standard write up, Sonic branding: How the sound of your brand can be a recipe for biz success. The best in the business are already into it.
If you are an Apple user, you already know their sound branding experience. Whether it’s the scrolling sound or the sound of Apple TV, a text message and so on. As aesthetic as its visual branding. In the present scene if we talk about, for me the Netflix and TEDtalks sonic branding stands out. The Netflix audio branding kicks in as we log on. It says ‘something impactful’ has arrived. That something symbolises mind blowing streaming content. The TED talks droplet voice branding, gives the thoughtfulness dialogue, sensibility and creativity vibes. AdWeek explains, sonic branding is the process of “distilling a multimillion-dollar brand into a few seconds of sound”.
The unforgettable example of……. What is sonic branding? ….. is Intel’s audio branding. About twenty-two years ago, this audio branding was created with five musical notes. This was one of the marketing ideas they used handy. Today can you imagine Intel without ‘Intel Inside clip’? It has remained consistent and has worked for the brand. It beautifully aligns with the brand’s virtues and characteristics. The simplicity of its sound resonates with the brand’s simplicity. It also gives a shout out for the brand’s modernity, intelligence, trust factor and systemized outlook.
“With the explosion of podcasts, music streaming and smart speakers, an audio strategy is no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ for brands—it’s a necessity.” Says Matt Lieber, co-founder and president of Gimlet Media, an award-winning narrative podcasting company. He adds the power of sound connectivity to emotions cannot be ignored anymore. “A sonic identity—the audio calling card for a brand—is now just as important as a brand’s visual identity.”
Sound is everywhere in nature and life itself. The clicks, the hums, the beep, the beats and the list goes on. The businesses, small and big are in no position to ignore the power of sonic branding. It has been predicted by a research that voice shopping will touch $40 billion by 2022. Tim Nudd puts it, as said by Mastercard in his article for Muse.
The West is on its way to the revolutionary sound evolution. India needs to buck up now! Edison Research points out consumers spend on an average of about four hours a day listening to audio. Amazon has made a splash into the sonic world with ‘Audible’, giving sounds to the well-known books. Sound personalization will be a big ticket from now on. Traders should pick the ‘silent’ hints in the market, with major brands taking that ‘sound step’.