Is Audio A Part of Your Branding Toolbox?

(Includes Excerpts From Wikipedia)

Branding encompasses many tactics intended to convey organizational or product identity (who an organization is and what it stands for); enhance consumers’ experience of a product or service; or extend an organization’s relationship with its audience.

Creating a brand experience using sound is within the area of sound branding. Brands now look to engage with their customers on a much deeper level. The opportunities for creating a sound branding experience that conveys a brand essence and soul is possible. Intel’s musical logo is as recognizable as the Intel logo itself. When the Yellow Pages were still commonly used, James Earl Jones’ tone of authority was the “audio logo” for that product; Morgan Freeman is arguably the audio logo for VISA. The automotive industry’s use of both Keifer and Donald Sutherland, among many other celebrities, combines an existing voice brand that matches the customer’s perceived value of and “feel” for the car being sold.

Sound design for mobile phones, ATMs, laptop computers, PDAs, and countless other devices can improve the user experience by making tasks easier and more enjoyable. These sounds can also reveal something about the company that created the experience (and, in the case of personalized ringtones, something about the user him/herself). Manufacturers, software designers, and marketers who create these sonic experiences purposefully and with a view toward expressing something of themselves are practicing sound branding.

When choosing a voice (or sound designer) for your product or service, think about how important sound becomes in representing what you are selling. Find an expertly trained voice or sound designer who not only sounds good to your ear, but will subliminally prove your product or service noteworthy.

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2 Responses to “ Is Audio A Part of Your Branding Toolbox? ”

  1. Great post, Perry!

    Evokes so many memorable campaigns past and present—James Coburn’s work for Chevy Trucks (“Like a Rock”), Gene Hackman for Lowe’s (“Let’s Build Something Together”), Jeff Bridges for Hyundai, and a-guy-that-sounds-a-lot-like-Ed-Harris shilling for Home Depot.

    Sometimes it’s all done with music, and not just the jingles that we remember. It’s been decades since I last saw a TV spot for Maxwell House, but I can still recall the most memorable part of their campaign—the sound of the happy coffee percolator bubbling away. (Yes, I’m showing my age.)

    Then there’s the mighty four-note signature created for Intel. Honestly, can anyone over 12 years of age see the words “Intel Inside” and not hear the corresponding notes?

    Closer to home, there’s a fellow named Wylie Gustafson who ranches here in eastern Washington—plays and sings in a cowboy band “The Wild West” (http://wylieww.com). His claim to fame is singing the original yodel for Ya-hoo-oo-oo.

    The importance of a brand sound to sound brand, indeed.

    Right on, Per!

  2. All great examples, Rod. I remember each of those…Thanks so much for the considered and intelligent reply. (ba Bum bum BUM!)

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