The power of sonic branding

Today I got an email about a fascinating talk called “The Power of Sound: Making Every Second Count.” The talk was given by award-winning composer Joel Beckman at the Promax UK 2016 Conference, ‘The New Normal’. This hit a nerve with me, as I have long been a believer in the power of “sonic branding”.

Below I share some highlights from Joel’s talk that show why you should be creating amplifying and reinforcing sonic properties for your brand.

1. New media are wired for sound

We live in a digital world where most media are now ‘wried for sound’. Think YouTube, Facebook and Instagram video for example. This creates more opportunities than ever before to harness the potential of sound to create distinctiveness for your brand.

2. Sound works fast

Sound efficiently and quickly engages people, something that is important in today’s busy world where attention spans are shrinking. Joel explains how sound actually works faster than any other form of stimulus. Different types of sound can instantly trigger different emotions. A string quartet are generally romantic, warm and expansive. A trumpet fanfare is rousing, heroic and powerful.

3. Sound ‘activates’ your brand 

Joel quoted research from Leicester University showing that brand advertising using sound or music fitting with the brand had 96% higher recall than advertising with no sound, or the wrong type of sound. For example, windscreen repair company Autoglass have used a musical slogan for many years: “Autoglass repair, Autoglass replace.” This is used in the UK but also in France, where it is “Careless répare, Careless replace.”

And sonic devices do more than just prompt recall, they also work as a key to trigger brand meaning. For example, when you here a few notes of the James Bond theme tune a whole set of associations and emotions come flooding into your brain in an instant.

4. Reinforce and amplify your sonic properties

As with all brand properties, the challenge with sonic devices is to use them consistently over time to create memory structure. One example is the start-up sound of the Mac computer, which has been used for many years as part of a distinctive experience. Joel describes this sound as being almost a “religious experience”. See below on the blog for a video with the evolution of this property. Joel was surprised to hear that Apple plans to ditch the sound on the new MacBook Pro range, and predicted that Apple will make a U-turn on their decision.

In conclusion, sound can play an important role in creating engaging content that triggers memories and emotional connections.

You can watch the full talk here.