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The Ultimate Guide to Sonic Branding - Hear Me Out

Updated: Jun 25

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The Ultimate Guide to Sonic Branding

Whether you’re a seasoned marketer, branding expert, comms legend, Brand Owner, or just dipping your toes into the audio waters, this guide will walk you through everything you need to know about leveraging sound to elevate your brand. Good marketing and branding comes when all the senses are stimulated to whip up an emotion that gets buyers buying. However, this guide isn't here to talk to you about that (although our socials and other blogs do that), this guide is here to teach you everything you need to know to be the expert in your brand about using sound to sell.


So, lets start with the basics. What is Sonic Branding?

Well, it's all about creating a unique auditory identity that resonates with your audience. From the subtle pings on your app to the iconic jingle of a TV ad, every sound your brand makes is a piece of your sonic puzzle. Let's dive into the components and processes that make up the vibrant world of Sonic Branding.


Benefits & Outcomes

Investing in Sonic Branding can lead to numerous benefits, including:

  • Brand Recall: Sounds stick in memory, making it easier for customers to remember your brand.

  • Brand Engagement: Unique sounds can captivate and engage your audience more effectively.

  • Audience Retention: Consistent auditory cues can enhance user experience, encouraging longer and repeat interactions.

  • Differentiation: A distinct sonic identity helps you stand out in a crowded market.




There's a bunch of terms related to Sonic Branding that might be confusing when you are talking to colleagues about this. Before we get to the Sonic Brand Checklist (don't skip to the bottom just yet), lets gloss over some basic terms.


Glossary of Terms


Sonic Logo

Also known as mnemonics, sonic ident, or jingle, a sonic logo is a short, memorable sound or musical phrase that represents your brand. Think of the iconic Intel "bong" or McDonald's "I'm Lovin' It" jingle. These are designed to be instantly recognizable and evoke your brand’s essence in just a few seconds.




Brand Track

A brand track is a longer piece of music that encapsulates your brand's personality. Unlike a short sonic logo, a brand track can be used in extended content like videos, events, or as background music in retail environments. It's a comprehensive soundscape that conveys the emotional tone of your brand.


Sonic Strategy

A Sonic Strategy is your brand’s overarching plan for how sound will be used to communicate your values and connect with your audience. This involves deciding where and how different sounds will be used to create a consistent auditory experience across all channels.


Sonic DNA

Sonic DNA refers to the unique set of sounds that define your brand's auditory identity. These core elements are woven into every aspect of your sonic branding, ensuring consistency and recognizability, much like visual branding elements such as logos and color schemes.

Brand Voice

In the same way you can think about music with your brand, voices have been used in conjunction with brands for decades. Think about Gary Linkeker with Walkers crisps, or the Go Compare guy... Maybe even the voiceover of the TV show Gogglebox.


App Sounds/Website Sounds - UI/UX

UI/UX sounds are the auditory cues used within your apps or websites to enhance the user experience. This includes everything from button clicks to notification alerts. These sounds play a crucial role in guiding users through digital interfaces and creating a seamless experience.


User Experience Sounds

User experience sounds extend beyond digital interfaces to include any sound that enhances the customer journey. This can be the chime when entering a store or the sound of product packaging. These sounds help build a deeper emotional connection and improve overall satisfaction.


Audio Toolkit

An audio toolkit is a collection of sound assets and guidelines that ensure consistency across all sonic touchpoints. This may include your sonic logo, brand track, sound effects, and usage instructions, all designed to maintain a cohesive sound identity.


Curated Playlists

Curated playlists are specially selected collections of music that reflect your brand's personality. These can be used in retail stores, at events, or on your website to enhance the ambiance and align with your brand’s ethos.


Event Sounds

Event sounds are tailored auditory elements used to enhance live experiences. This could be the entrance music at a product launch or the ambient sounds at a corporate event. These sounds help create memorable and engaging atmospheres.


On-Location Sounds

On-location sounds include any audio cues specific to a physical location, like the announcements in a train station or the background music in a retail store. These sounds are integral to the sensory experience of being in that space.


Brand Sonic Guidelines

Brand sonic guidelines are the rules and standards that dictate how your sound assets should be used. These ensure that every sound your brand makes is consistent with your overall sonic identity, maintaining brand integrity across all platforms.


Podcast/Radio Ads

Podcast and radio ads are audio advertisements specifically crafted for auditory mediums. These ads leverage your sonic branding to create engaging and memorable spots that connect with listeners in a non-visual space.


Social Media Campaigns/Digital Marketing

Social media campaigns and digital marketing efforts that incorporate sound can greatly enhance engagement. This includes anything from background music in videos to sound effects in interactive posts. Effective use of sound in these spaces can grab attention and improve content retention.


TV Ad Campaigns

TV ad campaigns rely heavily on audio to complement the visual narrative. A strong sonic identity can make your TV ads more impactful and memorable, helping to reinforce brand recall and connect emotionally with the audience.


SEO

While SEO (Search Engine Optimization) traditionally focuses on text and visual content, audio SEO is becoming increasingly important. Optimizing your audio content and transcripts for search engines can help improve discoverability and reach a wider audience.


Brand Recall

Brand recall refers to how easily customers remember your brand. Sounds are powerful triggers for memory, and a distinctive sonic identity can significantly boost how quickly and vividly your brand comes to mind.


Brand Engagement

Brand engagement measures how effectively your audience interacts with your brand. Sonic branding can enhance this by making interactions more enjoyable and emotionally resonant, encouraging deeper connections and loyalty.


Audience Retention

Audience retention is about keeping your audience engaged and coming back. Effective sonic branding can create a pleasant and consistent experience that encourages repeated interactions and sustained interest.


Demographic

Understanding your demographic is crucial in sonic branding. Different age groups, cultures, and social backgrounds have varying sound preferences, and tailoring your auditory elements to your target audience can significantly boost their effectiveness.


Disruptive Marketing

Disruptive marketing uses innovative and unconventional approaches to stand out and capture attention. In sonic branding, this might involve creating unexpected or unconventional sounds that surprise and engage your audience.


Cutdowns

Cutdowns are shorter versions of your audio content, like abbreviated ads or snippets from longer tracks. These are useful for maintaining consistency across different platforms while fitting the constraints of various media formats.


Variations/Reworks

Variations or reworks of your sonic assets allow you to adapt your core sounds for different contexts while maintaining a cohesive identity. This could involve creating seasonal versions of your sonic logo or adapting your brand track for different campaigns.




Brand Checklist

Now that you’re familiar with the key components of Sonic Branding, let’s see how your brand measures up! Check off the elements you currently use:


Where you use sound currently:

  • Social Media

  • TV Campaigns

  • Website

  • App Sounds

  • Event Sounds


If you can tick any of these, congratulations! You’re ahead of the pack. You should definitely consider a comprehensive Sonic Strategy that includes:


  • Brand Track

  • Sonic Logo

  • Cutdowns

  • Brand Sonic Guidelines


Secondary (Nice to Have):

  • App Sounds/Website

  • User Experience sounds (e.g., store chimes)

  • Event Sounds

  • Product Sounds

  • Variations/Reworks

  • Curated Playlists

  • Radio Ads

  • Podcasts

  • Smart Speaker Sounds (Product Purchase sounds & Ads)


Example: Full Sonic Branding for Sky Bingo



Sonic Branding is more than just catchy tunes and pleasant sounds—it's a powerful tool for creating memorable and emotionally engaging brand experiences. Whether you’re just starting or looking to refine your existing audio identity, integrating these elements can significantly enhance how your audience perceives and interacts with your brand.


Ready to Amplify Your Brand?

If this guide has sparked your interest in sonic branding, now’s the perfect time to explore how sound can transform your brand’s identity. Dive into the world of audio, experiment with your sonic assets, and let your brand’s unique voice be heard!




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