Researchers suggest that we see a million brand images a year. When you’re walking around the mall shopping, in the grocery store, stopping for gas at the convenience store, and even in your home. Brand images are ubiquitous. So much so that we tend to ignore them.
This situation puts brand marketers in a difficult position. You can bombard your target audience with your message until they want to strangle you, or you risk being ignored. Obviously there are other options if you have the budget to hire a team of Clydesdales and a cute puppy, but most of us don’t have production budgets like that.
What’s a non-international conglomerate to do?
Engage more of the senses. We see the ads and hear the commercial spots, but is there anything truly interesting in what you hear?
Music has been ranked as the media that most people would least like to live without.
Music has been ranked as the media that most people would least like to live without. And according to the Sounds Like Branding survey conducted by Heartbeats International, music was rated above TV and Internet.
Music can awake memories sleeping deep in our subconscious. It is connected to our emotions and affects our mood. Music can be used to relax, sing along, or escape from reality. It is the soundtrack of our lives, and when the beat stops, there is no life.
Not everyone connects deeply to music, but my experience is that most do feel a strong connection. For some, it’s the soothing sounds of the symphony, while for others it’s a guitar screaming out a soulful rock ballad.
But if you think back to when you were a kid, I’ll bet you can remember the theme songs to several of your favorite TV shows. In fact, you can probably sing the words along with the tune. As a small child, my favorite show was Bewitched. Hearing the theme song to the TV show brings back memories of that time in my life. If you grew up in the 1960s, you probably remember this too.
Music plays an important part of our memories. In fact, I can hear a song and many times will have a memory associated from some time in the past. This association with sound and memory is so strong that many brands are beginning to tie a musical component into their brand profile.
This isn’t new. While I remember the Bewitched theme, as well as many others (The Andy Griffith Show, The Banana Splits, Johnny Quest, and many others) I also remember the jingles of some of the biggest brands in the world.
According to a study by doctors Adrian North and David Hargreaves, brands with music that fit their brand identity, are 96% more likely to be recalled than those with non-fitting music or no music at all.
Let’s face it, most decisions in the consumer marketplace are made with emotion. And nothing fires the emotional jets like music. If your brand can create an emotional bond with your target audience, you’re more likely to be seen as a trusted source, and that translates into sales.
One way to tie your brand to music is through music, if you hadn’t got that theme by now. Many people are familiar with music jingles in commercials. In fact, that’s what I was really showing in the Coke, Almond Joy/Mounds, and Honeycomb YouTube videos. However, Jingles tend to be more product related.
Let’s say for example you’re Conn-Selmer, Inc. Conn-Selmer makes musical instruments and they manage several different brand lines of instruments. You might have a specific jingle for Selmer saxophones and a different jingle for Bach trumpets, or King trombones. And within the Selmer saxophone brand, there are several different models. Some models are for beginner band students in the elementary school, some are for intermediate players and some for professionals. You might have separate jingles for each different model of saxophone. But a sonic logo would cross lines of all your brands. It would cover Conn, Selmer, King, and Bach, as well as their other brands. One unifying sound for the whole company. So whether you’re pushing beginner band instruments or Steinway pianos, you have one theme, one sonic logo, that represents the whole company.
Here in Huntsville we have Schwarze Industries. They make street sweepers and have two divisions, parking lot sweepers that clean the parking lots of malls, sports venues and office parks, and street sweepers that work public streets, airport runways, and so forth. They don’t, but they could have jingles for each different product line or even, each specific model of sweeper. However, they could also have a sonic logo that crossed over all lines and represent the company as a whole.
A good example of this is the Honeycomb video above. If you’ll listen to the very end of the spot, at about 0:57 you’ll hear a sonic logo. This one actually has music and words. “Post cereals make breakfast a little bit better.” This sonic logo from the 1960s is a perfect example of a product specific jingle, for Post Honeycomb, and a sonic logo that crosses all product lines and refers to the company.
Your brand is made up of lots of pieces. There are standard pieces that most companies have, like collateral, website, in-person impressions, and maybe most importantly, your corporate culture. Sub pieces of these components include your logo, fonts, color pallet, graphic standards, corporate dress code (if it exists), how you answer the phone, and how your employees deal with each other and the customers. Non-standard items might include traditional advertising, digital advertising, and even small details like your on-hold music and cell phone ringtone.
We’re trying to use our brand to make an impression on our target customer. Our brand should help tell our story. If music is such a strong memory cue, why don’t we use music more?
It’s hard to get right. Actually, developing an appropriate logo is hard. Very few graphic artists, much less regular people, can read a creative brief and create the ideal logo to represent your brand. There are graphic artists that can do really cool work, but that doesn’t mean they can develop a logo from a brief. It’s a skill that few possess.
Same is true of a musical logo. Actually, I think it’s even harder to create an appropriate musical logo because people who’ve been trained in music weren’t also trained in design or marketing. So just like the difficulty in finding people who can turn an idea into a picture, it’s really difficult to find people who can turn an idea into a sound.
When they do get it right, you know it.
WGBH is Boston’s public TV and Radio station. They are responsible for TV shows like This Old House, Nova, Masterpiece, Antiques Roadshow, and others. They have themes and jingles to go with each of these ‘products’. However, they also have a sonic logo that covers the whole of the TV and radio stations. Have a listen:
Having lived in Boston for several years and having watched many WGBH shows, I’m very familiar with their sonic logo. These days, when I hear the sonic logo, I know I just missed This Old House or Antiques Roadshow. But, I actually think of Bob Vila and Norm Abram, from back in the 1980s, with the original This Old House.
Ad4! has created a sonic logo for our business. Have a listen.
How do you get a sonic logo for your business?
If you know one of those special people who can turn an idea into a sound, you’re good to go. If not, might as well call Ad4! We’ve got those special people who can create logos and sounds out of ideas. And if you don’t have one of your own, you’re probably missing an opportunity to be remembered and ultimately, increase your revenue.
Connect with me on: