Let’s start by defining what a SONIC BRAND IDENTITY is.
A sonic identity is to your ears what a visual identity is to your eyes.
It is a brand’s proprietary unique voice that conveys the brand’s core values into a musical language to enhance emotional connections and build brand attribution. It infuses a consistent and recognizable audio message in every communication touchpoint, including live and digital experiences.
So, unlike many people may believe, a sonic brand identity doesn’t limit itself to an audio logo or ‘jingle’ and requires a more thorough process of investigation of the brand.
It can be described in three main steps:
Audio Audit, Understanding the Brand’s Essence
The creative process starts with an audio audit of the brand in order to understand its core values, attributes, target market, and competitive landscape.
From there, those closest to the brand work conjointly with a sonic branding strategist and composer to translate the mental image of the brand into a musical language.
Sonic Logo Composition
From this first step a sonic logo or audio logo is revealed. This is the musical DNA of the brand.
It is a series of sounds or notes that when they are played, trigger the memory of the brand for which they are designed to represent.
It is short—3 to 5 seconds—and impactful. Think about the sonic logos of Intel, HBO and Southwest – you KNOW these brands when you hear their sonic cues.
Photo by Gavin Whitne
The final step then consists of creating a Sonic Identity, a long-term audio brand strategy, that will enrich the brand’s visual identity and in the long term, create engagement and sympathy towards it.
In order to achieve that, we can cite as examples:
- Developing an AUDIO ECOSYSTEM OF ASSETS that reflects the musical footprint of the brand.
That means creating a series of original compositions for all manner of promotional and marketing materials, including YouTube advertisements, music on hold, website splash page, ad campaigns, television commercials, radio commercials, corporate videos, training videos, long-form videos, animation, etc. and for use by internal marketing teams, investor relations, partners, ad agencies, PR firms and others you collaborate with to communicate your brand.
- Offering a brand musical manual with guidelines, to make sure the sonic logo is used consistently and unaltered.
The manual would also be used to explain how to use and incorporate the musical footprint of your brand in a consistent way throughout all your communication touch points, no matter who may be leading an individual implementation.
Developing a sonic brand identity isn’t necessarily expensive and can be accomplished on nearly any marketing budget.
Think about music as an ASSET for your brand.
When you include a sonic branding identity as part of your marketing strategy, when both the visual and audio aspects of a communication strategy work in synergy, it increases the efficiency and the memorability of a message and ultimately AMPLIFIES your brand.
More on sonic branding here: OJC Artisan of Sound.