What is sonic branding? Why it is crucial for your brand and how to get started. This episode explains what sonic branding is, gives examples of how it has been used effectively and how you can get started with sonic branding. With more and more businesses producing videos, podcasts and video ads the rise in sonic branding has been increasing so it is important now more than ever to get your audio brand handled.
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Building an audio element to your brand is often an afterthought for most businesses. And in some cases it’s something that people don’t even think of at all. But if you use music or sound effects or any kind of audio that could be your voice or the timbre of your voice, or the way that you use sounds to help elevate videos or anything that you do.
Then you’re already starting to build out an audio elements, your brand, whether you realize it or not. And most people are familiar with building a visual brand. So that’s kind of your logo, your visual identity and the design elements that go with it. But not a lot of people understand what building an audio brand is or what Sonic branding is and how you can use that to build up a sort of soundscape for your brand.
So what is Sonic branding? Well, if a visual brand is all about how your brand is seen, then Sonic branding is about how your brand is heard. Now Sonic branding has been around for a long time, but recently due to the fact that more and more people can now produce videos and produce podcasts. Sonic branding is really coming into its own.
Because more people are having to think about the audio side of their brand than ever before. There’s lots of different ways that you can build this out and different things that you can use to develop your Sonic branding. So everything you do from the music that you use to the sound effects that you use to the voiceovers that you have, the people you choose to be voiceovers, and the way that you use your voice and videos or podcasts.
All comes together. to form your Sonic branding. Think of things like the sound when you start your PlayStation up or the Intel inside advert from the nineties or those really annoying, but surprisingly memorable Gocompare adverts. All of these use audio elements or Sonic branding or audio hooks to kind of make them more memorable and build out that brand.
And that experience. If you look at any Coca-Cola advert, you’re bound to hear things like the ring pool and how they’ve accentuated the opening of the ring pool, or the way that the ice hits the sides of the glass and the fizz, the bubbles popping. All of this has been done deliberately in order to build out a soundscape that helps to describe the Coca Cola brand.
So why does this matter? Well, as with all Brand, you were trying to build something in the mind of your audience that is memorable, distinctive, and iconic, and then elicits a gut feeling or association that connects your audience to your brand. Now, there is no better way of doing this than using sound now using sound.
And if you’ve ever gone to watch a film or any sort of TV program, and you’ve turned managed to turn the music off, I don’t know if you’ve ever seen anything like that. But if you turn the music off of a film, it really does seem bland. It seems like there’s nothing going on and you don’t know what to feel.
The music almost in films tells you what to feel and how youshould be feeling and brands that are clever. And you site branding the right way. What they do is they help to take the viewer or the listener on a journey and allow them to understand what they should be feeling. And this adds a layer to your brand where you can add that extra something that really talks to your audience.
So if your brand is based on a personality type of say the jester jester archetype, or the hero, you can really use that in the music that you use. So you can already imagine if I said to you the jester archetype. The kind of, fun-loving kind of playful type character. You can imagine some sort of soundscapes and sound effects that might go with that brand.
If you say the hero type archetype, you can imagine sort of music, the triumphant kind of sounds that could be used to get that across with your Sonic branding.
So, how does Sonic branding fit into your wider brand identity? Well, as with all sort of elements to your brand identity, it wants to be consistent.
It wants to make sense with the rest of the other elements of your brand. And it wants to do it in a way that compliments your brand as opposed to dominates it. So you can imagine from the previous point, like we said, if you’re a hero brand archetype, The soundscape or the Sonic branding wants to make sense with your internal brand.
So if you’re the hero archetype, a slow meandering, harp is not going to be the right sound for a hero sort of brand, whereas for a caregiver type brand, it might be. So it wants to make sure that the Sonic branding is still appropriate with the particular brand. It makes sense for the internal brand and it also adds an audio backdrop. To allow the visual brand to play in.
So examples of Sonic branding, we mentioned earlier on the insert inside advert from the nineties with that jingle that just everyone can still remember. Coca-Cola adverts with the little sound effects at the ring pool and the ice in the glass. Another one that’s quite recent is the intro to Game of Thrones. So a particular intro to music that was used for that was done so well that it really sets up the stage for that series and that fantasy world. But the things actually that happened before that, so the two adverts before the Game of Thrones came on. So in the UK, we had a Volvo and then we had the HBO stinger.
Both of those really showed great examples of Sonic branding. So the HBO sound that came on with the logo, the HBO logo, like kind of, I can’t explain the sound, but that kind of operatic sound almost that it become iconic in itself and kind of primed you ready for the Game of Thrones series to come on that piece of Sonic branding.
Now it was really well done. And before the HPO stinger in the UK, we had Volvo advert. It’s kind of a Volvo. Short, I know ten second piece that would come on before the HBO and then game of Thrones. And that Volvo advert was like a breath of silence followed by Volvo, spoken in a Swedish accent in a very calm, deliberate way, which if you think about the brand Volvo and the idea of safety and the idea of something being sturdy and stead fast and very organic and very natural and very down to earth and family orientated.
The way that that audio stinger came across in that particular advert was so in keeping with the brand, it was really well done. And if you look at the logo of Volvo as well, the way that they’ve spaced out the letters and the visual identity, it’s almost like when the person who was saying the word Volvo was saying it, they were reading the spaces in between the actual brand logo and that visual identity.
So it was done in a really good way, and it really helped to get across the characteristics of the brand and not just the visual identity, but the audio brand and how they put that across.
So where can you start with your audio branding or your Sonic branding? If you look at some of the TV ads and look at some of the ads on the streaming platforms, take note of what they’re doing and what people are actually using and how they’re using audio to build their brand.
Think about what emotion or feeling you’re trying to create with your brand, you know, is this mysterious and elusive? Is it heroic and triumphant? Is it fun? Is it caring? And then think about the sounds and the instruments that you could use to convey those particular feelings and emotions, you know, are they natural sounding?
Is it electronic? Is it very sort of organic and tribal and drum based? Is it upbeat? Is it fast paced does the tempo change? All these things can be used to add color and variations to the particular brand. Your brand and the feelings and emotions you’re trying to create, maybe your brand would benefit from using sort of a lot of silence or really faint sounds or potentially spoken word, or even an operatic choir.
You know, anything is possible for you to use, to get the Sonic branding side of your brand done and get it handled and effectively communicated so that it resonates with your audience. But it’s still in keeping with your existing brand. You do want to make sure that this fits in with your existing brand and it’s something that you can be consistent with.
There’s no good in sort of setting up. Your Sonic branding at the beginning, but then it’s something that you can’t follow up on or you can’t be consistent with. So make sure whatever you do, whatever you use for your Sonic branding, you have an idea of what you’re trying to create so that you can replicate that down the line and you can keep adding to it as you need to, whenever you do sort of a new video series or you do a new ad, you can tweak it slightly, but it’s still in keeping with the previous Sonic branding and your actual overall brand as a whole.
So now you have a clear idea on what sonic branding is. If you’re looking to have any help with this, or you need any help with it, there’s a link in description to schedule a call with us Elements, Brand Management. We can have a quick discovery call and see what we might be able to do to help you with your Sonic branding.
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