Sound and music is one of the most undervalued elements in a marketers arsenal by which to affect shopper and consumer behavior.

We have 5 traditionally recognized senses – sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. Sight and sound are arguably the two most important senses we have relative to our ability to operate to our optimum. And most marketers obviously agree as the large majority of marketing efforts utilise sight and sound to connect with their audiences.

However, when it comes to developing powerful brands and products, a sound is often only used as the jingle, the add on, or just part of the process. But the sound is so much more than this.

Having spent many years in aiding organisations in developing brands and the associated visual outworking of those brands in Corporate Identities, Print and Digital advertising, as well as all the brand collateral that goes with it, I can vouch for the fact that the power and impact of music is not only undervalued, but underutilised in its power to persuade and effect shopper and consumer behaviour towards attention, interest, desire and action (AIDA) – changing behaviour in other words.

With the above in mind, here are five simple steps to creating a brand sound identity.

 

  1. Conduct a brand sound audit and create clear insight

Most brands have a very well established visual brand identity with detailed guidelines on how to apply the brand across various formats and mediums relating to print and digital visuals. And most of this was established on insight and the goals and objectives of the business. What most brands don’t have, however, is the same type of focus on the sound associated with the brand. When conducting a brand sound audit and searching for clear insight, ask these simple questions:

  • Do we truly understand the impact sound can have on changing consumer and shopper behavior?
  • To what extent do we focus on the visual vs the sound representation of our brand? Have we done any research on this? What are other brands and or our competitors doing in this area, how are they benefitting?
  • Do we have a clear direction on the sound and music representation of our brand and how it fits with the visual representation and our target audience?
  • How, where and when could we utilise sound and music more effectively in our brand marketing efforts? What insight do we have around this?
  • How could we leverage sound and music more effectively in our brand marketing efforts to increase interest, engagement, conversion, and loyalty?

 

2. Establish the core brand sound personality

Once you have conducted a brand sound audit and have some clear insight, the next step is to establish the core brand sound personality. As much as a visual reference can give a brand personality, sound does the same thing. In fact, sound and music can even play a leading role in establishing a brand connection with your audience. To this end, establishing the core brand sound personality is as critical as the visual identity. Ask these simple questions:

  • Have we spent time developing a brand sound personality which is in tune with who we are and our target audience?
  • What does our brand voice sound like?
  • What is our brand sound mission?
  • How will the brand sound personality integrate and enhance all current brand collateral and marketing channels?

 

3. Develop the brand sound identity

Having established the core brand sound personality, it is now about developing this identity. This is where you start the journey of building the brand sound identity much like the visual brand identity. This is not about assigning the most musical person in your team to spearhead the project. Rather, it is about ensuring that the entire organisation understands the power of brand sound and then engaging with the right internal and external partners to develop the identity. Whilst advertising agencies have by nature been the go-to partners for the outworking of the visual brand identity and marketing collateral, this is not necessarily the default route for establishing a strong brand sound identity. Some simple steps to developing your brand sound identity could be:

  • Find the right internal and external partners  
  • Create a brand sound logo and tagline
  • Form your brand voice through various pieces of sound and music
  • Build a brand message and elevator pitch in sound and music
  • Make sure your brand sound personality is distinct, memorable, scalable and flexible (able to grow and evolve with the brand), cohesive and integrated with the visual brand personality and, lastly, easy to apply.

 

4. Create easy to use application guidelines for internal and external use

Most businesses have some type of corporate identity or brand manual which is used throughout the organisation as a guideline for internal and external use. These manuals set the parameters for the visual application of the brand – what colours to use, where the logo must appear on various formats, the types of visual imagery to associate with the brand, and of course where to find the various brand collateral elements and library etc. This should be done for the brand sound identity as well; to ensure that the sound and music elements associated with the brand become as consistent as the visual elements. The brand sound identity should really be an extension of these manuals and should include:

  • A brand sound logo and tagline
  • Additional brand sound elements
  • Any music pieces, songs and or jingles developed for the brand
  • A description of the types of sounds and music to be associated with the brand
  • A description of where, when and how to use the various sound and music elements with the visual brand elements – in campaigns, advertising and various other applications
  • Contact details for the relevant internal or external role players should people have queries and or need certain sound and music elements developed

 

5. Continually monitor, evaluate and update

As with any business, continually monitoring, evaluating, adapting and updating your brand visual identity and personality is vital. This is also important when it comes to brand sound identity. Measuring engagement and feedback as well as adjusting to local and global trends and changes, all become part of the continuous loop to keep ahead of the pack. Some simple questions to answer should be:

  • How is our audience reacting to the various sound elements and music of our brand?
  • How are we measuring this and what weighting are we putting on this vs the visual reference?
  • Whose role is it to continually monitor, evaluate and update?
  • What is the process to update based on feedback?

So the next time you hear any sound, song and or jingle related to brand marketing, think about your own brand and ask yourself, ‘how deliberate have we been in creating our brand sound identity?’

If you are looking to create a strong and effective brand sound identity, why not contact us for a free consultation at info@thorntreeandwalker.com. We would love to discuss your needs and share our possible solutions.

Research, references and links
https://www.fastcompany.com/40423551/the-relationship-between-brands-and-music-needs-to-evolve