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Audio Branding


Brand sound is the audible dimension of a brand identity. Like the visual brand design, the brand sound can be a compilation of multiple and diverse – yet audible – brand elements.

Sound Logo
The most popular element is the so-called ‘Sound Logo’, which is used, like the visual counterpart, as a sender signature. A good sound logo represents the brand in condensed form and triggers the listener’s expected associations within 0.5 to 3 seconds. You can work with many elements: Melody, rhythm, sounds, voice, language and so on. One of the most renown sound logos is still the one from ‘Deutsche Telekom’ from 1999.

Jingles are the predecessors of sound logos, so to speak. They were meant to be melodically recognized, longer than sound logos and often have singing elements with memorable rhymes. ‘Haribo macht Kinder froh, und Erwachsene ebenso’ knows and sings every German child and will remember for the rest of their lives. In modern brand communication, jingles are not used anymore all that often. That has multiple reasons, for example the constant shortening of advertising formats with its more compact messages. But at radio stations they are still the main component of the auditory wrapping – the so-called Station ID.

Brand Music
Brand music can be used for the communication of more complex emotional concepts and generation of moods. In the past, a single piece of music was mostly used as a brand song or brand anthem to cover a longer timeline. But now, modern brand sound concepts rely more on a brand music library that consists of several pieces of music composed specifically for the brand. The uptime of brand music is now much shorter than it was before. Reasons for this are for example the replaceability in digital media and the overall faster spinning world. Brand music concepts, who rely on a bigger pool of musical pieces, own more flexibility and thus are more sustainable. Like the pictorial language of a brand, single pieces of music can convey different brand values or be intended for specific purposes.

Brand Voice
Whereas the brand signature in visual design carries the visual brand message, the ‘Brand Voice’ carries the aural brand message. Unlike the writing in visual branding, the human voice is by far one of the most emotional elements in brand sound. Once derived from the brand personality and mobilised as a brand instrument, the brand voice can create a direct, emotional and – above all – authentic connection between brand and human. Nothing alike can reveal a person’s emotional state more clearly than his own voice. Nothing alike can move us more than the voices of others. Thus, brand voice is particularly important for language assistance. In the future, the brand voice will become even more essential for a customer relationship.

Sound logo, brand music and brand voice resemble the basics of a brand sound. Due to these developments in the past years, more special brand sounds as- sets are being added constantly. In digital media design, at the edge between human and machine, a new universe of product and functional sounds emerges. The more coherent and consistent all brand sound assets are developed, the stronger the brand.

Excerpt 3/6 from RADIOZENTRALE’s Audio Branding Guide.
Author: Cornelius Ringe.

Read part 1/6 here.
And part 2/6 here.