You can probably recognize the NBC chime sequence of three tones or Windows’ infamous startup sound effect. Ask most people if they are familiar with this audio, and they’ll probably recognize it as well.
This is sonic branding, sometimes referred to as sound, acoustic, or audio branding. Put simply, this type of branding refers to the sound of a brand itself and relies on that sound to reinforce brand identity.
While nobody doubts the need for color schemes and brand guidelines, sonic branding is often overlooked in marketing. Most brands don’t have a recognizable jingle at all, yet sonic branding relies on the most powerful memory of the human brain: sound.
Read below as our experts answer the questions behind what sonic branding is, how it works, and why it works.
What is sonic branding?
Although these sounds are typically simple effects or jingles, they hold powerful and emotional weight, connecting an audience with a brand just as deeply as visual elements could. Sonic branding allows companies to convey memorable messages, through audio, to their target audience as a type of mnemonic—a memory and association technique.
Sonic signatures, such as the two-note confirmation noise from Amazon’s Alexa upon receiving a command or the startup noise on your Nokia, are several notes that typically follow a command while also creating an association with other aspects of a company’s branding.
How does sonic branding work?
Research shows that sonic branding yields many psychological benefits. Without getting too technical, studies reveal humans’ ultimate and perceived “best” decisions are chosen in a non-rational way from the limbic part of the brain—which is aroused by sound.
Some of the advantages of sonic branding are how easily sound triggers emotion, even more so than visuals do.
Why use sonic branding?
Visuals are what most people typically focus on, while sound subconsciously alters a person’s perception of those visuals. Using the proper audio for your messaging will invoke positive emotions and associations with your brand in a more creative way.
Sonic branding also gets more attention! A sound can gain the attention of your target market and will reinforce brand identity, as listening to audio alongside a visual message correlates with higher retention and brand recall.
Sonic branding works best when embedded into the overall user experience. When considering your brand, sonic branding works hand-in-hand with logos, colors, brand culture, and brand personality.