Build Personal Connection with Sonic Connection Branding

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of branding? Maybe you think of a logo, or a slogan, or even specific colors. In fact, 83 percent of advertisers rely on sense of sight when compared to the other senses. But what we don’t think of are the iconic sounds that we associate with these brands. Sonic branding has been around since the dawn of radio, but is one of the most underutilized tools a brand can use. When it comes to brand identification, 79 percent of consumers can recognize a brand from sound alone, inducing certain emotions. Sound has the power to form deeper connections than sight does, therefore, building a stronger personal connection with your audience.

The strategic use of sound can play an important role in differentiating a product or service, enhancing recall, creating preference, building trust, and increasing sales. If done right, sound has the power to make you feel a certain way. The reaction someone has while hearing a particular sound cements the importance of your brand. It enhances the feeling your brand conveys.

That being said, sonic branding has to encompass the essence of the brand while rising above it. Sound is tied to the personality and position of the brand, beginning a conversation around emotions that help brands get to the heart of their identity.

Building trust for the brand

The use of sonic branding is a powerful tool for marketers. The audio language for a brand is based on essence, values, promise, and personality that happens across the company. Sound, when used in combination with these elements, will build trust for the brand.

An example of a brand that does this well is Shane Co. Their radio commercial was recorded by CEO Tom Shane. While the words share the features and benefits of their fine jewelry, Tom Shane’s tone of voice creates associations of a sophisticated brand that you can trust to take care of your jewelry needs. It’s one of the most memorable commercials, ending with the iconic slogan, “Now you have a friend in the diamond business.”

Shane Co. is just one example of a memorable brand solely from sound. When you think of fine jewelry and have heard the famous commercial, you immediately think of Shane Co. And chances are, they will come to mind as your first choice for a jeweler because of the personal connection they built with you based on trust.

Telling a brand’s story

The reason branding exists is to tell a brand’s story across all forms of media across all channels. And sound is no different. Many brands have capitalized on their audio counterparts to create a story around that message.

A perfect example of this is the London Underground’s “Mind the Gap” message that reminds passengers to mind the gap between the train and the platform. This message is effective not only because it’s repetitive, but because it’s sharing a relative message the audiences need to know. It’s catchy and memorable, yet simple, which is what has made it become so iconic over the years.

This message has been around forever, so the city of London capitalized on it; they have created all sorts of souvenir items with the message. This extends the story of the audio message for locals and tourists alike, so they can create a connection between the souvenir with the slogan and the message they receive while riding on the Tube. Most importantly, they know where the message comes from and know how it fits into the story of the London Underground.

Creating an Emotional Association

Perhaps the most significant outcome from sonic branding is creating an emotional association with its audience. Sound has a tremendous impact on memory, allowing audiences to associate sounds with a particular moment in time. Maybe it’s the song that was playing during your first kiss, or it could be the sound of a train that reminds you of an old apartment. Regardless, sounds are closely tied with our emotions.

An example of this is Coca-Cola. We all know the iconic sound that Coke has — the sound of opening a Coke, pouring over ice, the bubbles and fizz, and the “ahh” of satisfaction. Through their “Taste the Feeling” message, Coke utilizes the familiar sound that we all know to not only sell their product, but to sell an experience. By using sound to express this, Coca-Cola was able to breach cultural and language barriers and thereby reach consumers all around the world.

Many brands go so far as to trademark their sounds, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Oftentimes, you need to be a strong presence in your market before you can argue that sound distinguishes your business. Because of the difficult and tedious process, many companies are better off copyrighting their sound, to enforce their ownership.

Using sonic branding is a powerful branding element that connects the dots across an entire company, including logo, product, and history. In the example of Coke, the sonic message they convey only enhanced their red iconic logo and curved bottle. Their use of sonic branding expresses the feeling their audience have when drinking a Coke, which in turn, emotionally resonates with them.

Sonic branding is one of the most underrated tools a company can use to create a personal connection with their audience. It has the power to establish trust for a brand, extend its story, and create an emotional association. Next time you are looking for something to give your brand a competitive advantage over the rest, give sonic branding a try.

Featured Photo| Matthieu A

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