When crafting a brand identity, what do you think of first? Chances are the answer is something along the lines of a logo, a colour palette or a tone of voice. But have you considered the role of sound in your brand? In this article, we’re going to take a look at sonic branding, what it is, and how it can be leveraged to strengthen the overall identity of a brand.

When crafting a brand identity, what do you think of first? Chances are the answer is something along the lines of a logo, a colour palette or a tone of voice. But have you considered the role of sound in your brand? In this article, we’re going to take a look at sonic branding, what it is, and how it can be leveraged to strengthen the overall identity of a brand.

What is sonic branding?

Sonic branding is, unsurprisingly, all about how your brand sounds.

In the increasingly busy and noisy environment of the modern world, brands are putting more effort into ensuring that they catch your attention. Sonic branding helps your business to be heard and not just seen.

You know exactly what the brand is as soon as you hear it. Think the McDonalds whistle, the Netflix ta-dum, the iPhone default ringtone, the XBOX 360 startup sound… All of these are great examples of sonic branding, and specifically what’s known as ‘sonic logos’.

Your logo in sound

Sonic logos are a great way to improve brand recall and develop bonds with loyal customers.

Because of how quickly our brains process sound, the perfect sonic logo can almost enter the mind subconsciously. By associating a certain tone or jingle with your brand, you can create instant recognition with your audience even if they’re not looking at a poster or reading an advertisement.

Sonic branding encompasses not just these audio signatures but a complete soundscape designed to evoke your brand in an instant.

Why is sound so effective?

Sound has an amazing ability to evoke a reaction within our brains – which shouldn’t come as a surprise if a piece of music has ever given you goosebumps, or you’ve felt a gut-wrenching feeling when hearing a baby cry.

Our bodies actually react to sound quicker than any other sense, helping us to sense danger quickly back when Homo sapiens spent more time worrying about predators than brand identity.

We’re hardwired to react to sound, and we learn what certain sounds mean, both in an evolutionary and a social context. Nowadays, sound can be a helpful tool to let us know that it’s safe to cross the road, that our card transaction has been accepted, or that an error on our computer needs attention.

Sound and music are extremely evocative, which is why they can be an extremely powerful tool to create a brand identity with real depth.

The link between music and emotion

As well as sounds, music can play a huge role in creating a sonic identity for your brand.
Our brains create a neurological link between music and experiences, which is why a song can trigger memories of a certain place and time, or even bring up very real emotions. This is powerful stuff, and can be extremely valuable for brands looking to create a human connection.

Whether licensing an existing song or composing a unique soundscape to accentuate your customers’ brand journey, there’s lots of potential for brands to capitalise on our brain’s deep connections with music.

There are likely certain songs that you associate with brands but have no idea what the actual song is, or even that it wasn’t written for the brand. For example, the piece of classical music adopted by Alton Towers, or the calming guitar-based instrumental used in the once-ubiquitous M&S Food ads.

Thanks to the power of the brain’s connections with music, there’s a decent chance that just hearing Fleetwood Mac’s Albatross will get your mouth watering. Assuming you’ve seen the ads, of course. And for completion’s sake, Alton Towers uses In the Hall of the Mountain King by Edvard Grieg. A personal favourite, I might add.

Do you need sonic branding?

As we’ve seen, sonic branding is an extremely valuable tool but it’s more important for some companies than others.
If you create any of the following, you would most likely benefit from creating a strong sonic brand:

  • TV and radio adverts
  • Podcasts and vlogs
  • Audio or video social media content
  • Video how-to guides
  • Physical electronic devices

Remember that sonic branding works best as a single ingredient in your overall branding recipe. Make sure the sounds you choose complement your name, colour scheme and general ideals to strengthen the bond between your sonic and visual identities.

The importance of sound in branding

Sound like music to your ears?

If you’re passionate about branding, talk to the experts at DWH.
While we can’t guarantee that sonic branding will play a huge part in every project, we’d love to help you to create a strong identity that your customers will not only remember but also be passionate about engaging with.

If you need help with your digital marketing strategy in 2022, contact DWH today and we’ll be happy to discuss the right way to move your brand forward.