Sonic Branding

Ever been caught off-guard by a sound that takes you straight to a brand? Think of Intel’s characteristic chime, MGM’s lion roar, or the catchy McDonald’s tune. These aren’t just random sounds; they’re examples of sonic branding. This strategy employs sound to forge an emotional bond with customers and make a brand stand out from its competitors.

Sonic branding has been around but is gaining traction in today’s digital landscape, where visual saturation and multitasking on various devices are common. Sound has the unique ability to pierce through the clutter, grabbing attention and invoking memories and emotions that bolster brand recall and loyalty.

This article delves into sonic branding’s significance in modern marketing, illustrating how to establish a distinctive audio brand identity. We’ll share the best practices and standout examples, demonstrating how sonic branding can assist in hitting marketing objectives and expanding your business.

What is Sonic Branding and Why is It Important?

Sonic branding, known by several names including audio branding, sound branding, or acoustic branding, embodies the strategic incorporation of sound within a brand’s identity. It transcends the simplicity of a catchy tune to encompass a variety of sound elements such as rhythms, songs, tones, cadence, voices, and even the strategic use of silence. Daniel M Jackson, the author of “Sonic Branding: An Introduction,” articulates in an interview with Transform magazine that many brands mistakenly reduce sonic branding to simply a jingle or sonic logo, overlooking its potential as a comprehensive suite of cohesive sounds that fortify a brand’s identity.

The significance of sonic branding lies in its power to forge an emotional bond and connection with listeners, thereby elevating brand recognition and loyalty. Sound’s ability to trigger recall, evoke memories, and stir feelings enhances customers’ connection to a brand on a multisensory level. Spotify’s 2021 Culture Next Report reveals, “63% of millennials and 65% of Gen Z assert that audio is the most immersive media form, enhancing their depth of experiences.”

In the visually saturated digital era, where consumers are bombarded with imagery and often engage with multiple devices simultaneously, sonic branding offers a unique advantage. It has the capability to cut through the clutter, capture attention, and either complement or amplify the impact of visual branding elements. With predictions suggesting the wireless headphones market will hit $45.7 billion by 2026, coupled with the growing use of artificial intelligence in creating lifelike voices for advertisements and content, the rise of sonic branding – or the “sonic boom” of 2022 – is well underway.

As the industry progresses, it’s crucial for brands to adapt and connect with their audience through preferred mediums and methods. From brand presence in social media to immersive experiences in the metaverse, audio plays a pivotal role in navigation, communication, and creating an authentic, immersive experience in digital spaces. With a receptive audience and a booming multi-billion dollar market at stake, brands have a golden opportunity to explore and innovate across various sonic platforms. The first step is to establish a sonic identity that resonates with the brand’s overall identity, from logo creation to social media engagement. In the sections that follow, we will delve into how brands can craft a distinctive and memorable audio identity, and how to utilize auditory opportunities to engage with audiences in fresh and impactful ways.

How do brands create a unique sonic identity?

Sonic identity, also known as audio branding, represents the strategic integration of sound into a brand’s identity. It transcends a mere jingle, embodying a rich tapestry of rhythms, melodies, tones, vocal styles, and even strategic pauses. Daniel M Jackson, the author of Sonic Branding: An Introduction, elaborated in an interview with Transform that many brands perceive sonic branding merely as a jingle or sonic logo, overlooking its potential as a comprehensive suite of coherent sounds that fortify a brand’s identity.

To forge a distinct sonic identity, an in-depth comprehension of your brand’s core, values, personality, and target demographic is paramount. This process also entails market analysis, competitor research, and staying abreast of industry trends. The goal is to pinpoint a sound that aligns with your brand’s voice and tone, striking a chord with your customers on an emotional plane.

Among the myriad strategies to establish a sonic identity, crafting a sonic logo stands out as particularly effective. This short, distinctive sound symbolizes your brand and ensures immediate recognition from your audience. Whether it’s a melody, spoken word, sound effect, or a blend thereof, a sonic logo can be strategically placed at the beginning or end of your advertisements, videos, podcasts, or any audio medium. Iconic examples include the Intel chime, Netflix’s Ta-Dum, and McDonald’s ‘ba da ba ba ba’.

Yet, the sonic logo is just one facet of a sonic identity. The choice of music, voice, and sound effects used across your audio content is crucial. These elements must resonate with your brand’s message and vibe—Coca-Cola opts for lively, joyful tunes to evoke happiness, whereas Apple prefers sleek, minimalist compositions to mirror innovation. Selecting a voice that embodies your brand’s character and appeals to your audience, whether natural or synthesized, is equally vital. Furthermore, sound effects should not only complement your content but should also leave a lasting imprint on the listener.

In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into crafting a bespoke brand jingle or sonic logo, exploring the elements that render a jingle catchy and unforgettable. Additionally, we’ll examine the evolution of sonic branding in the age of digital and social media, and its integration into comprehensive marketing strategies.

What is the process of creating a custom brand jingle or sound logo?

A brand jingle or sound logo encapsulates your brand’s identity in a short, unforgettable sound sequence that instantly connects with your audience. This can be a distinctive melody, a unique voice, sound effects, or a blend of these. It’s an effective tool used at the start or end of commercials, videos, podcasts, and other forms of audio content. Notable examples include Intel’s iconic chime, Netflix’s memorable Ta-Dum, and McDonald’s catchy ‘ba da ba ba ba’.

Crafting a custom brand jingle or sound logo intertwines creativity and strategic thinking. It’s crucial to align with your brand’s core identity, values, persona, and the demographic you aim to attract, alongside considering the market dynamics, competition, and ongoing industry trends. The goal is to find a sound that not only aligns with your brand’s voice and tone but also strikes a chord with your customers emotionally. Ensuring that your sound stands out as original, memorable, and maintains consistency across various platforms is paramount.

The creation process of a custom brand jingle or sound logo can differ based on your budget, objectives, and preferences, but it typically involves the following steps:

  • Research and brainstorm: Begin with an in-depth analysis of your brand, target market, competitors, and industry trends. Brainstorm potential sound ideas that reflect the mood, style, genre, instruments, vocals, and lyrics that you envision for your brand. While drawing inspiration from existing sounds is beneficial, originality is key.
  • Compose and record: Utilize professional software and equipment to compose and record your jingle or sound logo. Whether you choose to do this yourself, engage a skilled composer, or employ an online service, it’s vital to experiment with various sounds, melodies, rhythms, and effects until the perfect match for your brand is found. Confirm the sound’s quality and clarity by testing it on various devices and speakers.
  • Edit and refine: Through editing tools and techniques, fine-tune your sound by adjusting its volume, pitch, tempo, length, and balance. Adding final touches such as fades, transitions, and filters helps polish your sound, ensuring it’s professional and complies with the technical requirements of your intended platforms.
  • Implement and evaluate: Once implemented across your audiovisual content (e.g., ads, videos, podcasts, website), it’s important to assess how your sound logo integrates with your visual brand elements like logos, colors, and typography. Monitor its impact on audience engagement, including attention, recall, and recognition. Gathering feedback and data allows you to tweak your sound as necessary for optimal performance.What makes a jingle catchy and memorable? A jingle is essentially a succinct, engaging tune that embodies your brand, designed to be instantly recognizable by your audience. It might manifest as a melody, a chant, a special sound effect, or a blend of these, strategically placed at the start or end of your advertisements, videos, podcasts, or any audio content. Iconic examples include the distinct chimes of Intel, Netflix’s signature Ta-Dum, and the memorable ‘ba da ba ba ba’ from McDonald’s.

How has sonic branding evolved with the rise of digital and social media platforms?

Sonic branding has always been part of the marketing landscape, but its significance has surged in the era of digital proliferation. In a world where visual bombardment is the norm, and multitasking across multiple devices is commonplace, the unique power of sound stands out. It not only captures attention amidst the cacophony but also invokes powerful memories, emotions, and connections, bolstering brand recall and fostering loyalty.

Yet, the ascent of digital and social media platforms brings both challenges and opportunities for sonic branding. These platforms provide a variety of ways for brands to connect with their audiences through sound—be it podcasts, videos, live streams, stories, or reels, thus broadening the canvas for auditory engagement. However, this also means heightened competition and the need for a seamless sonic identity that translates consistently across diverse channels and situations.

To navigate this new landscape, brands must refine and innovate their sonic branding approaches to fully harness digital and social media’s capabilities. Among the leading practices and trends in sonic branding today are:

  • Creating a sonic ecosystem : This involves developing a cohesive set of sound elements that together forge a unique sonic identity. This ecosystem comprises a sonic logo, brand music, a brand voice, and sound effects, all applied consistently over various platforms. This synergy ensures a distinctive auditory signature that complements visual branding, conveying the brand’s character and values.
  • Personalizing the sound experience : Tailoring sound experiences to the individual preferences, behaviors, and emotional states of listeners is crucial. By leveraging data and insights, brands can customize their audio content, while interactive and adaptive sound technologies allow for content that shifts in response to user interactions. This level of personalization forges deeper connections, fostering loyalty and trust.
  • Integrating sound with other sensory elements : Beyond sound, incorporating other senses—visuals, scents, tastes, and textures—can elevate the brand experience to new heights. This multisensory approach engages the audience on multiple levels, enriching the brand encounter and setting it apart in a crowded marketplace. In the following sections, we delve deeper into how sonic branding can be woven into overall marketing strategies and identify the hallmarks of a timeless and impactful jingle.

How is sonic branding integrated into overall marketing strategies?

Sonic branding plays a crucial role in shaping your brand’s identity through the strategic implementation of sound. It serves to establish a unique and memorable audio signature that not only complements your visual branding elements but also conveys your brand’s personality and core values. Nevertheless, sonic branding should not be viewed as an isolated tactic; it is an integral aspect of your comprehensive marketing strategy. To craft a seamless and impactful brand experience for your audience, it’s essential to harmonize your sonic branding efforts with your wider marketing initiatives.

Several tactics can be employed to weave sonic branding effectively into your broader marketing strategy, influenced by factors such as your objectives, budget, and preferences. Some widely adopted methods include:

  • Brand identity: Leverage sonic branding to articulate and showcase your brand identity, encompassing your mission, vision, values, and character. Ensure that your sound selection is congruent with your brand’s tone of voice and visual identity, accurately reflecting your brand’s essence and market positioning.
  • Brand awareness: Utilize sonic branding as a tool to boost brand recognition and awareness among your target audience. Strive for a sound that is distinctive, memorable, and maintains consistency across various platforms and scenarios. Employ your brand’s sound to craft a sonic logo, brand music, or a recognizable brand voice that resonates with your audience effortlessly.
  • Brand loyalty: Foster and sustain brand loyalty and trust among your customers through engaging, relevant, and personalized sonic branding. By creating an emotional bond and positive associations with your brand, sonic branding can significantly enhance customer loyalty. Implement your brand’s sound in rewarding your customers, possibly through loyalty programs, special discounts, or exclusive offers.
  • Brand advocacy: Encourage your customers to turn into vocal supporters and promoters of your brand by making your sonic branding shareable, interactive, and socially engaging. Capitalize on your brand’s sound to spur user-generated content, such as reviews, testimonials, or referrals, and to ignite viral campaigns through challenges, contests, or unique hashtags. In the following sections, we dive deeper into the elements of an impactful and enduring jingle, and examine how music influences brand perception and consumer behavior.

What are the elements of a timeless and effective jingle?

A jingle is a brief, catchy tune that symbolizes your brand and is instantly recognizable to your audience. Whether it’s a melody, spoken words, a sound effect, or a blend of these, it can significantly amplify your brand presence in ads, videos, podcasts, and other audio platforms. Some iconic examples of jingles are Intel’s chime, Netflix’s Ta-Dum, and McDonald’s ‘ba da ba ba ba’.

So, what elements make a jingle both catchy and unforgettable? What psychological tricks make these tunes stick in our heads? Research highlights several key factors that contribute to a jingle’s memorability:

  • Melody: The series of notes making up the jingle’s most recognizable part is its melody. A melody that’s both simple and unique tends to be more appealing and memorable.
  • Rhythm: This is the beat and accent pattern backing the melody, giving the jingle its distinctive feel. A rhythm that aligns well with the brand’s message and vibe can make the jingle more engaging and memorable.
  • Lyrics: These are the words paired with the melody to deliver the brand’s message. Effective lyrics are clear, concise, and resonate with the target audience. Rhymes and the repetition of key phrases or slogans enhance recognition and recall.
  • Emotion: The emotion a jingle evokes plays a crucial role. This can be influenced by the melody, rhythm, lyrics, vocal style, and sound effects used. A jingle that emotionally resonates with the audience will leave a lasting impact and foster a positive brand connection.
  • Repetition: How often and for how long a jingle is played can also affect its memorability. Repetition helps engrain the jingle in the audience’s memory, reinforcing the brand’s identity and message. In the following sections, we’ll delve into how sonic branding has transformed with the advent of digital and social media and how to weave it effectively into your marketing strategy.

How does music influence brand perception?

Music wields a profound influence on how individuals perceive and emotionally connect with brands. Beyond its ability to trigger emotions and memories, music expertly communicates a brand’s essence, ideals, and distinct qualities, setting it apart from competitors. This segment delves into the pivotal role of music in shaping brand perception and its indispensability in marketing tactics.

Research highlights several ways through which music molds brand perception, including:

  • Creating a mood : Music possesses the capability to craft an ambiance that aligns with or contrasts the brand’s ethos and product attributes. Fast-paced, vibrant tunes may instill excitement and a sense of immediacy, whereas slower, calming melodies might evoke tranquility. Furthermore, music can cater to specific demographics or cultural scenarios. Tunes incorporating local sounds or dialects resonate with authenticity and familiarity, while those featuring international vibes might spark intrigue and discovery.
  • Enhancing recall and recognition : A distinct and catchy auditory element like a jingle or sonic logo significantly boosts a brand’s memorability and recognition. Aligning a brand with a well-known genre, artist, or song leverages pre-established popularity, enhancing its visibility and appeal.
  • Shaping attitudes and preferences : Music directly affects listeners’ attitudes towards and preferences for a brand by influencing their emotional responses and assessments. Uplifting, positive tracks can render a brand more appealing, while somber music could potentially deter interest. The perceived value and quality of a product can also be elevated through sophisticated and high-quality music, whereas amateurish soundtracks might detract from its appeal. Clearly, music plays an integral role in forming and influencing consumer perceptions and feelings towards brands. The selection of music for a brand, therefore, requires thorough deliberation and strategic planning. We will further discuss the psychological impacts of music on consumer behavior and the measures brands can undertake to synchronize their musical choices with overarching marketing objectives in the following sections.How does music psychologically affect consumer behavior? Music wields the power to shape perceptions and emotions towards a brand, evoking deep connections, triggering memories, and establishing a brand’s identity, message, and values. It is a distinguishing factor from competitors. This section delves into the psychological impact of music on consumer behavior and its significance in crafting marketing strategies.

Studies have shown that music can influence consumer behavior in various ways, such as:

  • Attention and memory: Music grabs consumers’ attention and keeps it, increasing the chances that they will notice and remember a brand and its offerings. It can also bolster brand recall and recognition through distinctive auditory elements, like a catchy jingle or sonic logo.
  • Emotion and mood: Music can sway consumers’ emotions and mood, affecting how receptive they are to a brand and its products. It harnesses the power to forge emotional bonds and generate positive associations, boosting customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Perception and evaluation: Music can shape how a brand and its products are perceived and evaluated, influencing their appeal and desirability. It can also impact perceptions of quality and value, positioning a product as more luxurious or worth purchasing.
  • Motivation and action: Music can drive consumers’ motivation and subsequent actions, affecting their likelihood to make a purchase. It influences the time and money spent on a brand, as well as the propensity to make repeat purchases or recommend the brand to others. Clearly, music plays a pivotal role in consumer behavior towards a brand. Selecting appropriate music is a critical strategic decision that demands careful thought. The following sections will examine how brands can tailor their music strategies to align with broader marketing objectives and highlight examples of brands that have successfully leveraged music to enhance or redefine their identity.What steps can brands take to ensure their music strategy aligns with their overall marketing goals? Music wields the power to shape perceptions and emotions towards a brand, forging deep connections through its ability to evoke feelings and memories. More than just an auditory experience, music acts as a vehicle to communicate a brand’s core messages, personality, values, and to stand out in a competitive landscape. However, it’s crucial to remember that music serves as a piece of the broader marketing puzzle, necessitating seamless integration with other marketing initiatives to offer a cohesive and impactful brand experience to the audience.

Brands can follow several key steps to ensure their music strategy effectively complements their overarching marketing objectives:

  • Define your music objectives: It’s essential to specify what your music strategy aims to achieve within the larger marketing framework. Consider whether the goal is to boost brand awareness, loyalty, advocacy, or sales, to engage with new or existing audiences, or to target a particular segment. Reflect on how music can refine or reimagine your brand’s identity, image, or personality.
  • Know your audience: Gaining insights into your target audience’s preferences, behaviors, and emotional triggers is crucial. Understand their musical tastes, listening habits, and the platforms and formats they prefer. Utilize data from your channels as well as external sources, like social media, streaming services, and online surveys, to paint a detailed audience profile.
  • Choose your music style: The chosen music style should align with your brand’s voice and emotionally resonate with your audience. Consider the mood, genre, tempo, instruments, vocals, and lyrics, as well as any cultural or contextual influences that might affect audience perception. While drawing inspiration from existing music is helpful, ensure your selections are original and rights-respected.
  • Create your music content: Employ professional tools and possibly collaborate with composers or use online services to craft your brand’s sound. Experiment with various sonic elements until you find the perfect fit for your brand. Ensure the music is memorable, consistent across platforms, and test it across different devices for optimal quality.
  • Distribute your music content: Share your music on platforms your audience frequents, adhering to the specific technical requirements of each. Consider content length, volume, format, timing, and potential partnerships or collaborations to maximize reach and impact.
  • Measure your music performance: Evaluate the effectiveness of your music strategy by gathering feedback and analyzing metrics related to audience engagement, recall, and action. Adjust your strategy as necessary to continually refine and improve its alignment with your marketing goals. In the sections that follow, we’ll delve into case studies of brands that have successfully leveraged music to redefine their identity and discuss the intricacies of effectively communicating a brand’s message through sound.

What brands have effectively used music to enhance or redefine their identity?

Music holds an extraordinary capacity to shape perceptions and emotions towards a brand. It can ignite emotions, spark memories, and create deep connections, making it an ideal medium for conveying a brand’s message, personality, and values. It also sets a brand apart from its competitors. This section will delve into examples of brands that have ingeniously employed music to bolster or transform their identity and achieve their marketing objectives.

Here are a few brands that stand out for their strategic use of music to either enhance or completely redefine their identity:

  • Converse: Known for its deep ties with music and culture, Converse has initiated a slew of music-related projects. The brand’s Rubber Tracks studio offers emerging artists free recording sessions, while the Three Artists One Song project fosters collaboration between different musicians on a unique track. Additionally, the Converse Music Tumblr platform is a treasure trove for fans to uncover new music and artists. Through these endeavors, Converse has solidified its reputation as a brand that embodies creativity, authenticity, and a sense of rebellion, resonating well with its young and diverse target audience.
  • American Express: This financial services giant has cleverly utilized music to refresh its brand identity, making it more appealing to a broader and younger demographic. The brand has launched several music initiatives including the Unstaged series, which brings together top artists and directors for live-streamed concerts, and the Sync Show, which incorporates social media and interactive elements into live events. Furthermore, the Amex Music app provides card members with exclusive access and rewards. These initiatives have helped American Express reposition itself as a modern, innovative, and customer-focused brand, enhancing brand awareness and fostering loyalty.
  • Red Bull: Best known as an energy drink company, Red Bull has ventured far beyond its original product line through music. The company’s diverse music initiatives like the Red Bull Music Academy, which offers workshops, lectures, and performances for budding musicians; Red Bull Records, an independent record label; and the Red Bull Music Festival, a platform for showcasing talent in various cities, have all contributed to expanding its identity. Red Bull’s strategic use of music has recast it as a brand that transcends lifestyle, entertainment, and media, cultivating a dedicated and enthusiastic community. In subsequent sections, we’ll explore the challenges involved in conveying a brand’s message effectively through music and discuss strategies for selecting music that amplifies a commercial’s impact.

What are the challenges of conveying a brand’s message effectively through audio elements?

Audio components like music, voice, and sound effects hold immense potential in delivering a brand’s message and forging an emotional bond with the audience. However, tapping into the power of audio requires thoughtful consideration and strategic planning to overcome certain challenges:

  • Choosing the right sound : Identifying a sound that aligns with your brand’s voice and resonates emotionally with your target audience is no small feat. It involves a deep dive into the sound’s mood, style, genre, instruments, vocals, and lyrics, not to mention taking into account cultural and contextual influences that could shape how the audience perceives and reacts to it. Ensuring your sound is unique, memorable, and consistent across various platforms and circumstances adds another layer of complexity.
  • Balancing sound and visuals : Harmonizing your audio with visual branding elements — like your logo, color scheme, and typography — is a delicate balance to achieve. The goal is to make sure the audio and visuals complement and bolster one another, presenting a unified and coherent brand experience. It’s also crucial to avoid overwhelming your audience with excessive information or sensory input, using sound and visual signals wisely to direct their attention and engagement.
  • Measuring impact and effectiveness : Assessing how effectively your audio influences your audience and meets your marketing objectives is challenging and intricate. This requires gathering and analyzing audience feedback and data on a variety of metrics including attention, recall, engagement, and emotional response, among others. Additionally, benchmarking your audio’s performance against competitors and industry standards is essential for identifying areas for enhancement and adaptation. In the forthcoming sections, we’ll delve into strategies for selecting music that can elevate a commercial and discuss how music can be the catalyst for making a campaign go viral.

What are some strategies for choosing music that enhances a commercial?

Music significantly elevates the effectiveness, memorability, and emotional impact of a commercial. It plays a crucial role in establishing a mood, improving brand recall and recognition, shaping consumer attitudes and preferences, and sparking action. Nevertheless, selecting the perfect track for a commercial involves creativity and a well-thought-out strategy. Below are key strategies to ensure the music you choose elevates your commercial:

  • Align your music with your brand identity and message : The chosen music should mirror your brand’s voice, tone, and convey the essence, values, and personality of your brand. It is essential that the music supports your brand’s message and goals, which could range from informing and persuading to entertaining and inspiring your audience. Ensuring harmony between your musical and visual branding elements is crucial to offer a seamless and consistent brand experience.
  • Know your target audience and their music preferences : Gaining insight into your target audience’s music preferences is critical. Understand what genres and styles appeal to them, how music resonates with them on an emotional and cultural level, and tailor your selection accordingly. Recognize the platforms, devices, and formats your audience uses to consume music, ensuring your choice fits the commercial’s context and medium.
  • Be original and distinctive : Opt for music that sets your brand apart, avoiding tracks that are clichéd, overused, or reminiscent of your competitors. Steer clear of music that could potentially infringe on rights or licenses, avoiding legal or ethical pitfalls. Aim for a unique and memorable piece that serves as an auditory signature for your brand.
  • Experiment and test different music options : Engage in testing various musical choices to gauge their impact on your audience and marketing objectives. Experiment with different styles, genres, tempos, instruments, vocals, and lyrics to explore various emotional and impressionistic outcomes. Evaluate the music’s performance across different devices and speakers to ensure optimal sound quality and clarity. Gathering feedback and analyzing data will help you understand how your music selection affects aspects like audience attention, recall, recognition, engagement, emotion, perception, motivation, and action. In the forthcoming sections, we’ll dive into how music can serve as the cornerstone for a campaign’s virality and the role of voice technology in shaping sonic branding.

Can music be the driving force behind a campaign going viral?

Music possesses the power to elevate a campaign, making it unforgettable and emotionally resonant. It sets the tone, boosts recall and recognition, influences attitudes and preferences, and spurs people into action. But the question remains: Can music be the sole catalyst for a campaign’s viral success? Is it possible for music alone to propel a campaign to spread rapidly across the internet and social media, capturing the attention of millions or even billions of potential customers? The short answer is yes, although there are certain conditions that must be met.

Research indicates that music can indeed be the driving force behind a campaign’s viral success, provided it adheres to these key criteria:

  • It is original and distinctive: The music needs to be unique and memorable, setting itself apart from others. It shouldn’t resemble any other music or campaign out there, and must create a unique auditory identity for the brand. Additionally, the music must not violate any copyrights or licenses to avoid legal or ethical problems.
  • It is relevant and engaging: The music should resonate with the target audience, aligning with their tastes, behaviors, and emotions. It should also reflect the brand’s message and objectives, communicating its essence, values, and personality. Essentially, the music should form an emotional bond and foster a positive connection with the brand and its campaign.
  • It is shareable and interactive: The music should encourage sharing and interaction, prompting audiences to participate and produce their own content. It ought to capitalize on the power of social media and digital platforms, making use of features such as hashtags, challenges, contests, or live streams. The goal is to cultivate a sense of community and belonging, turning the audience into passionate endorsers of the brand and its campaign. Here are some campaigns that have successfully used music as their viral engine:
  • Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”: This campaign utilized a catchy and humorous jingle across a series of whimsical ads featuring the Old Spice spokesperson. The jingle was simple, memorable, and perfectly communicated the brand’s message of confidence and masculinity. Additionally, the campaign leveraged social media and interactive elements, such as creating personalized videos in response to fan comments. This strategy led to over 40 million YouTube views and a sales increase of 107%.
  • ALS Association’s “Ice Bucket Challenge”: This campaign urged people to either douse themselves with ice water or contribute to the ALS Association. It cleverly used Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” song, which fit the challenge’s theme. The use of social media and encouragement of user-generated content, like nominating friends to participate, helped raise over $220 million for ALS research and increased awareness significantly.
  • Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches”: Featuring a unique social experiment, this campaign had women describe themselves to a forensic artist who then drew their portraits based on their self-descriptions. A second portrait was drawn based on strangers’ descriptions. Accompanied by Ludovico Einaudi’s touching “Una Mattina,” the campaign aimed to challenge conventional beauty standards and boost self-esteem among women. Through social media and an appeal to emotional storytelling, it amassed over 180 million views on YouTube and lifted sales by 6%. In subsequent sections, we’ll delve into how voice technology is shaping sonic branding and what the future holds for this trend.

How is voice technology influencing sonic branding?

The emergence of voice technology, including voice assistants, smart speakers, and artificial intelligence, is transforming how people interact with brands and consume content. This realm of technology not only simplifies consumers’ lives but also opens up fresh avenues and poses novel challenges for marketers aiming to delve into sonic branding. Sonic branding involves the deliberate incorporation of sound into a brand’s identity, enabling a company to establish a distinct and memorable audio signature. This audio signature complements visual branding elements and conveys the brand’s personality and core values.

Studies show that voice technology impacts sonic branding in various significant ways:

  • Boosting the demand and importance of sound : The rise of voice technology is cultivating an audio-focused and voice-prioritized world. Consumers are increasingly turning to sound for communication, searching, shopping, and entertainment. This shift demands that brands give greater consideration to their soundscapes and their influence on audience perceptions and actions. Sound has the power to penetrate the clutter of visual stimuli, grab attention, and trigger emotions, memories, and connections that support brand recognition and fidelity.
  • Widening the avenues and formats for sound exposure : Voice technology introduces an array of channels and formats through which brands can connect with and captivate their audience using sound. These include podcasts, videos, live streams, stories, and reels, enabling brands to craft a diverse and engaging range of sonic content like narratives, interviews, how-tos, reviews, or musical pieces. These platforms also facilitate real-time interaction with audiences and the tailoring of sound content to user responses, feedback, and surroundings.
  • Intensifying competition and the intricacy of sonic identity : Moreover, voice technology escalates the competition and complexity involved in forging a unique and cohesive sonic identity across various platforms and environments. Brands are compelled to distinguish their sound from competitors and the surrounding audio landscape, striving for a sound experience that is consistent, harmonious, and resonates with their audience. Additionally, they must navigate the technical demands and best practices of each platform, such as content length, volume, format, and posting frequency. The following sections will delve into strategies for selecting music that elevates commercials and discuss how music can act as a catalyst for making a campaign go viral.

What is the future of sonic branding?

Sonic branding, which utilizes sound strategically as part of your brand identity, enables you to forge a powerful and distinct audio signature that complements your visual branding and conveys your brand’s character and values. However, sonic branding isn’t a set-and-forget strategy; it’s a continuously evolving approach. As advancements in technology, shifts in platforms, and new trends emerge, the realm of sonic branding adapts in tandem. This section delves into the emerging trends and future developments predicted to reshape the sonic branding landscape in years to come.

Looking ahead, some key trends and opportunities in sonic branding include:

  • Voice technology and artificial intelligence: The rise of voice technology, including voice assistants and smart speakers, alongside artificial intelligence, ushers in a more audio-focused and voice-prioritized world. Consumers are increasingly turning to sound for communication, searches, shopping, and entertainment. This emphasizes the need for brands to refine their audio presence carefully, considering its impact on audience perception and behavior. Sound has the unique capability to cut through visual clutter, grab attention, and spark emotions, memories, and associations that bolster brand recall and loyalty. To capitalize on voice technology’s potential, brands should evolve and innovate their sonic branding tactics by crafting a sonic ecosystem, personalizing audio experiences, and integrating sound with other sensory elements.
  • Social media and user-generated content: The landscape of how consumers find, engage with, and share music and audio has transformed with the advent of social media and user-generated content. Today’s consumers are not just passive listeners but also active creators and curators of sound. Through platforms like TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Spotify, they can produce, remix, and share their audio content, as well as discover and connect with their favorite artists, influencers, and brands. This shift necessitates that brands become more inventive and participatory with their audio content, encouraging and rewarding audience interaction. Furthermore, brands must be nimble and responsive, using social listening and analytics to track their audio content’s effectiveness.
  • Metaverse and immersive experiences: The introduction of the metaverse and immersive experiences presents novel possibilities and hurdles for sonic branding. The metaverse is a virtual space where individuals can interact among themselves and with digital content spanning games, entertainment, education, and commerce. Immersive experiences leverage technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality to generate a convincing and captivating simulation of the real world. These advancements allow for the creation of varied and immersive audio content, such as narratives, games, concerts, and simulations. They also facilitate real-time interactions with audiences and the customization of audio content based on user reactions, feedback, and surroundings. Nonetheless, employing these technologies necessitates careful consideration of the technical specifications and ethical considerations of audio content, including its quality, accessibility, and privacy. In the following sections, we will examine some strategies for selecting music that elevates a commercial, and explore how music can be the catalyst for a campaign’s viral success.


In this insightful piece, we’ve delved into the pivotal role of sonic branding within marketing strategies, revealing how to forge a distinct and memorable sound identity for your brand. We’ve showcased top practices and standout examples of sonic branding that can propel your marketing objectives and business growth forward. While sonic branding isn’t a novel idea, its significance has skyrocketed in our digital era. Today’s consumers, bombarded with visual content and often juggling multiple devices, find that sound can slice through the clutter, seizing their attention. More so, it has the power to trigger memories, emotions, and connections that bolster brand recognition and fidelity.

Yet, it’s crucial to recognize that sonic branding doesn’t stand alone; it is an integral part of a comprehensive marketing scheme. It should blend seamlessly with your other marketing initiatives, presenting a unified and consistent brand narrative to your audience. Moreover, staying ahead means constantly refining your sonic branding approach to harness emerging technologies, platforms, and trends, like voice technology, social media, user creations, the metaverse, and immersive experiences.