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The Audio Branding Process


A classic audio branding process consists of the four phases analysis, conception, production and implementation. Followed by the ongoing fifth phase of maintenance and management of the brand sound.


During the analysis, all relevant information concerning the brand and its environment is collected and evaluated to its relevance for the brand sound. This includes the history, the status quo and any already existing concepts for future brand development. How aware and purposeful is the association with sound in brand communication? What are the requirements for a robust brand sound concept and which challenges need to be mastered? The result is a targeting system and a catalogue of requirements with key performance indicators (KPI) that are defined and measured as precisely as possible.

For the development of a brand sound strategy following questions arise:

  1. What can be heard of the brand already and how can this be evaluated in terms of function, aesthetics and brand conformity?
  2. How do the competitors sound?
  3. What are the target groups and which sociocultural listening habits and associations exist?
  4. How do new technologies influence the auditory customer journey and what does it mean for the potential of the brand?
  5. How can brand sound create additional value beyond classic brand communication? For example, as a functional sound in product design?
  6. How are the current processes and conditions when it comes to licensing, production and application of music, language and sound design? How can these processes be optimized?


Whenever and only when the relevant goals, requirements, framework para- meters and performance indicators are known, the conception of the brand sound can begin. Based on the results from the analysis, the sound identity as aural dimension of the brand core is being developed. What should be ex- pressed in terms of sound, which audio assets (sound logo, brand music, brand voice etc.) are required and how should the brand sound be treated? First moods (audio samples) make the sound concepts audible and offer a room for discussion. Here, pragmatic strategy and artistic creation are mutually dependent. From the conception phase emerges the creative briefing to produce the individual sound assets; each of which can fulfil different applied functions.


The actual production of the individual brand sound assets takes up a relatively small part of work. With a well-worked-out creative briefing, the first layouts can be produced, with all people responsible coordinated and in one or two feed- back rounds finalized.


Even the best brand sound concept remains unheard if it is not implemented consistently. First, all necessary usage rights must be secured and, if necessary, a listening trademark registration must be completed. The new audio assets together with guidelines must be made accessible for all areas of application. For larger companies or complex brand sound concepts, user training (employees, agencies, production houses, etc.) is a good extra next to the internal communication on brand sound. When implementing the brand sound in brand communication on the market, the timing for the rollout needs to be chosen strategically. This could be for example a new image campaign, the introduction of a new product or the implementation of a new communication tool (e.g. an Alexa skill).

Maintenance and Management

After the brand sound has been implemented, it must be continuously maintained and managed. Practical problems must be systematically recorded, solved and documented for further development.

A new brand sound needs enough time to be grasped by the target groups. Ideally, the previously defined KPI should be checked regularly with the help of market research. A performance indicator that has seen little to no attention until now is the Return On Investment. Next to increasing brand value and sales, it also includes cost savings in brand communication. A well-run brand sound management can for example reduce coordination efforts, shorten production times or minimize license costs.

Excerpt 5/6 from RADIOZENTRALE’s Audio Branding Guide.
Author: Cornelius Ringe.

Read part 1/6 here.
And part 2/6 here.
And part 3/6 here.
And part 4/6 here.
And part 6/6 here.