Our modern world is a symphony of sounds, yet many brands have not awoken to the potential of sonics. The TV, radio, podcasts, the omnipresent chiming of our digital devices, the soft drone of home appliances, or the singing of birds outside our window; these often-overlooked aural elements subtly impact our mood, behaviors, and overall perception of our daily encounters. Yet most of us rarely stop to think about these sounds, or our quick and often emotional responses to them. It occurs intuitively and at the fringes of our awareness.
Brands have the potential to harness the power of sound in various innovative ways. On the many possible occasions we encounter a brand there are opportunities for it to have its own sounds. Obvious examples include advertising, digital apps and retail environments. But sometimes there are more unexpected places too. I was recently surprised upon using a Costa coffee branded vending machine when upon paying for my coffee the machine started playing sounds of a coffee shop!
Sonic branding presents an opportunity to establish unique auditory signatures that become as identifiable as a visual logo. Sound can be exploited in the form of audio ads disseminated through radio, podcasts, and streaming services, reaching a large and diverse audience. The deliberate design of product sounds can enhance the user experience, creating a more immersive interaction. A distinct brand voice can be crafted and used across automated phone systems and voice assistants, providing consistency across platforms. The creation of ambient soundscapes in physical spaces like stores or events can significantly elevate the customer experience. Finally, brands can engage their audiences through interactive sound experiences such as sound-based games or interactive audio advertisements.
Brands such as THX, Intel, T-Mobile, Microsoft and Apple pioneered the fast, emotional power of sound to create sonic logos for their brands. Brands create their own sonic logos, or audio branding, for several reasons. Sonic logos help establish brand recognition by creating a unique and memorable auditory identity. They also foster an emotional connection with consumers by evoking specific feelings or moods. Sonic logos differentiate brands in a crowded marketplace and ensure consistency across various platforms. They enhance memorability and adaptability, allowing brands to tailor their audio identity to different contexts. Ultimately, sonic logos are a strategic tool that harnesses the power of sound to create a deeper and more holistic brand experience.
And, like a visual logo, a brand’s sonic logo can become part of our lives for decades.