Experiential marketing strategies operate from the premise that a brand is defined by the experiences associated with it. With all the experiential touchpoints available to engage consumers in today’s marketplace, managing a brand can involve an increasingly dizzying array of possibilities and pitfalls. Marketers realize more than ever the importance of making careful, intentional choices as they develop and manage their precious brand assets.
From where I sit, one of those intentional choices should be a focus on how a brand sounds. Whether we realize it or not, every sound that touches a brand has the potential to define and communicate that brand’s attributes. We select a piece of music to provide the soundtrack to a brand commercial. We choose a voice to read a script. We create sound design that adds to the atmosphere around the brand. And in the end, every music bed, every song, every voiceover, every sound associated with an experience of the brand is, at some level, contributing to its audio branding.
And that brings me to the point of this post: when it comes to audio branding, everybody’s doing it.
Unfortunately, not everyone is thinking about how they’re doing it. When our sonic choices are afterthoughts, blown about by the whims of personal preferences and instincts, we run the risk of executing some very good creative, but some very bad branding.
As we start to consider the sound a brand makes, we create opportunities to move beyond the conventional thinking that often limits our ideas of brand sound and how to express them through traditional broadcast mediums (e.g television and radio.) Instead, we might begin to consider what we hear when we connect with a brand by phone. Or how a brand sounds in the context of its website or its brick and mortar outlets. We might contemplate how a brand might connect with consumers in the absence of verbal or visual cues.
My hope in jump starting this dialogue about audio branding is that it helps to increase our awareness about the importance of audio in creating a brand experience. We need to examine the choices we make about what sounds we use and how we use them. What was the process that lead to the choice of those particular sounds? How many times do we think about the way those choices affect the brand? How often do we pause to consider that every sonic choice seeps into a consumer’s experience of the brand?
Tell me what you think…