audio branding : everybody’s doin’ it (part one)

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.

Whether we realize it or not, every sound that touches a brand has the potential to define and communicate that brand’s attributes.

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…


  1. Lara
    Posted September 15, 2010 at 8:30 am | Permalink | Reply

    I’ve been trying to get my boss to realize the importance of branding for her business for years. I’m going to start sending her your blogs in hopes that she’ll finally see the light.

  2. Posted September 20, 2010 at 8:56 am | Permalink | Reply

    I work on the social media marketing aspect of an In Store Audio communications company, Press Play Jukebox, based in Trinidad & Tobago. Press Play is pioneering the audio branding field here in Trinidad by utilising a nationwide network of stores as their outlet. They stream pre-recorded music, including adverts for companies, opening up the door for businesses to develop their sound and harness the technology. Sounds can be lost on radio or tv, but via their system, they stand out – ads and brand plugs can be programmed for day, time and location relevant airings.

    Sound branding is definitely a severely under-utilized marketing tool. In the Caribbean, however, many companies use music or jingles to map their brand. This form of sonic branding is quite popular.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: