Audiobranding: the sound identity of brands.

Until relatively recently, when talking about a brand, reference was made only to the logo. Sometimes, hopefully, to corporate visual identity in general. Today it has already become clear that a brand is much more than that, and in fact, it is something as broad and ambiguous as people’s opinion of it. That’s why talking about branding is becoming a more interesting and broader topic that collects aspects of marketing, strategy, consumer behavior, neuroscience, etc. And without a doubt, brands occupy all our senses.

So, in case we didn’t have enough of brands seeing them everywhere, today we’re going to talk about how we perceive them through audio. As the word itself says, it’s about audiobranding.

I think what I like most about this issue is that it can be totally irrational.Although we only remember 2% of what we hear, music and sounds evoke emotions that are much more intense than any other sense. For example, it is generally more possible for a melody to bring us sadness or happiness than an image or a smell.

All we do working on Branding is to try to cause certain perceptions in the minds of consumers. Considering that 95% of the decisions we make are generated in the subconscious, and from there they pass to the conscious part of the brain, I think using sounds to evoke emotions is a very, very powerful technique (music represents 80% of the emotion a person feels!)

This article on how the brain behaves in the purchase process is very interesting and details more about it.

It’s hard to draw the line that separates audio branding as part of your brand from the sound elements you use in your communication. An audio logo has a different function than the song you select for a particular campaign. For example, at Christmas, many ads have Christmas and emotional melodies, but they don’t represent the brand. Is it all audio branding? Where do we draw the line?

In the case of perfume spots the music is usually very powerful, and there is usually some very differential sound, as well as the way they say the name of the brand. I’m sure most of us can read these names the way they say them in the ads: J’adore Dior, Carolina Herrera, Chloe…

This spot is a great example:

Perfume brands work both the visual and the sound part because being a sensory product, which we cannot smell through a screen, they have to transmit the smell through the music (and the image, of course). – As in the food industry.

Even smaller businesses, inadvertently, are applying audio branding one way or another. For example, a small neighborhood fruit shop probably has the radio on. Instead, a gourmet shop, specializing in French cheeses and Italian pasta, has probably chosen a more sophisticated playlist. It may not be audio branding as such, but the customer who enters the store, perceives the difference between the radio (cheaper, ordinary, lifelong products), and the playlist with quiet, more instrumental, and evocative music (more expensive, unique products).

There are many sounds that brands haven’t really made on purpose, or have been accidental when using better materials. For example, the sound when closing the door of an Audi, soft and light, has nothing to do with the sound when closing the door of a KIA, which is more mechanical. I haven’t been lucky enough to close the doors of a Jaguar or Ferrari, but I imagine it will be more similar to the sound of the Audi. Similarly, the ‘clik’ that sounds when you close a lipstick of big brands like Chanel or Dior conveys quality, while a cheap one does not produce that effect. (if you don’t believe it, try it).

So far, brands are still experimenting with audiobranding and there is no clear roadmap on how to apply it. What we do see that many brands have already applied are sound logos or audio logos.

And of course, jingles are also a tool to penetrate the minds of consumers. An example we all know is that of Carglass, who has also adapted their jingle to each language.

How far will audiobranding go?

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