For most businesses, the easiest way to imagine a brand is to visualize logos, colors, and letters from a perspective that prioritizes the visual over any other sense. Well, let’s consider that as the participation of the rest of the senses increases, so does the rate of customer loyalty. Thus, with the activation of 2 or 3 senses, fidelity is increased by 43%; and when 4 or 5 senses are activated, it increases to 58%. With this data, it can be confirmed that branding is sensory or not branding since it appeals directly to the senses and emotions.

“We can close our eyes, but we can’t close our ears,” says Nanette Nielsen, a musicologist and researcher at the University of Oslo, emphasizing that acoustics and marks meet at one point: emotions.

Audio branding (Sound Branding or Sonic Branding) It is the creation of a brand’s sound identity in a consistent, differential and appropriable way, through sound design and musical composition. It is not a new concept in its substance, but now it is only new in its form.

It’s hard to think of Intel without its powerful, metallic melody resonating within us. The same goes for the “ta-dum” associated with any connection to Netflix. They’re engaging sounds, and they’ve been repeated so often, that whether you like it or hate it, it’s recorded right in your brain. These are easy-to-remember sound identities that exert a powerful influence on our emotions and behavior. However, there are still many brands that have only been concerned with building a visual identity, ignoring a very important second sense: sound.

Since the beginning of time, human beings have been able to connect emotions and memories with sound stimuli. In fact, we remember 83% more what we hear than what we see.

Sounds arouse a psychological reaction in people, secreting dopamine, which is responsible for behavioral reactions such as attention and motivation. Let’s think that humans perceive reality through the senses and 80% of the decisions we make are made unconsciously, hence the importance of firmly considering the maximum stimulation of our senses throughout the customer journey of any brand.

In the U.S., a very revealing experiment was conducted in a large wine shop. Customers browsed the shelves and, supposedly, made their own decisions by choosing some brands over others. When they arrived at the checkout, the clerk would ask them why they had chosen those wines and if they had heard the background music. In general, and leaving aside the work of the brands in this case, their response was that they liked the label or that they appreciated such a variety of grape, but that they had not paid any attention to the background music. Well, on the day that French music was playing, more than 70% of the wine sold was French, on the day that Spanish music was playing, more than 70% of the wine sold was Spanish, etc. Magnificent evidence that the sound acted directly on the subconscious of the customers.

It is no coincidence that Mastercard has invested up to 15 million dollars in its new sound identity, which is very complete on the other hand. Nor is it a trifle that Netflix has created an entire symphony from its audiologist, with the help of legendary composer Hans Zimmer, with the aim of being used in the presentation of its films in theaters.

The growth of audio branding is linked to the rise of technology. In Mastercard’s case, assuming credit cards are giving way to digital payment methods. Many no longer reach into their wallets for their credit card. With digital payment methods, such as Apple Pay, you only need your phone to take your purchase. We no longer see or touch the card, and therefore we are not making that connection between the card company and its brand identity. For the customer, this digitalization makes their life easier, but the problem for brands is that their identity is fading, at least using the usual forms of recognition.

Of course, you don’t need to have Mastercard’s budget. Audio branding is within the reach of most budgets, you just need an approach that prioritizes certain channels. The first step is to transfer the brand’s DNA to its sound identity, you can intervene in a sound logo, a brand theme, the sounds of the devices, the music on hold, the ambient sound… While big brands can aspire to complete sound ecosystems, small brands can take a top-down approach, translating sound DNA directly to the touchpoint of greater reach and impact for them.

The benefits are more than significant:

  1. Increased attention span. While a visual logo requires someone to pay attention, a sound logo flows directly through the mind.
  2. Best brand souvenir. Hearing a sound initiates the memory section of the brain, which leads to better brand recall.
  3. Convey purpose and value. Music is emotive, and it has a way of communicating complex ideas in a way that is easier for customers to understand.
  4. Boost your personality. Sound, as an emotional vehicle, can humanize your digital presence and make it more attractive to customers.
  5. Improve the experience. Music and sound are enhancers of the experience.
  6. Greater loyalty. Sound triggers much better emotional responses than visual ones.

 

The time has come for brands to stop and reflect on how to consciously and effectively introduce their sound into the world. Some of them are already talking, so why not let them sing to us too. Right now, people are listening more than ever.

 

Carlos Puig Falcó

CEO of Branward