Audio Branding, aka a Sound Logo, is a sound branding tool that you can incorporate into your web site or blog and used as the acoustic equivalent of a logo. Think: Intel, NBC, T-Mobile or THX. Typically a short distinctive melody or sounds, these sounds are typically used at the beginning or end of ads.
Sneaky, in a good way
Sound is a powerful learning center in our brain. Ever notice how the music in a scene of a movie leads you to feel something bad/good/funny, etc. is about to happen? Our brain hears a sound then anticipates the ending.
As a part of your brand toolkit, sound can help shape a potential client’s perception of you and potentially help you connect with them on a deeper level. Plus, it works in a sneaky way your ads and blog posts can’t – people don’t need to pay attention to notice it.
You may already be doing it
Have you downloaded a customized ringtone to your phone? It says something about you. Admit it … do you wonder what’s really behind the curtain when a relatively conservative person has their ring tone set to “I’m bringing sexy back”. Better yet, have you assigned a “special” ring tone for someone – loved one, or an ex? Did you choose that partially based on your opinion of them? (Yeah, I admit it … I’ve assigned some “special” ring tones once or twice)
(Quick Check: If you were at an attorney or CPA’s office for your first consultation, and their phone rang with Jay Z’s “99 Problems”, 3OH!3’s Don’t Trust Me” or Katy Perry’s “Waking up in Vegas” could it make a bad impression? If you need to explain your ring tone to potential clients, you may want to change it. Just a thought. )
The idea is the easy part. Execution is a bit more difficult. An audio brand must represent the emotion you want associated with your personal or company brand, be memorable and unique. When in doubt, use a professional service.
It’s not always custom-composed. Nokia’s now instantly recognizable ring tone is actually a small excerpt of a guitar solo by Spanish classical guitarist Francisco Tarrega written in 1902. They’ve trademarked the sound. And, United Airlines has adopted George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” as its corporate theme.
Don’t dash off, find an old guitar solo and take a few notes for yourself. The musicians/composers are protected under copyright laws. If you are interested, contact a professional service that will help you identify the ideal sound based on what you want to convey as well as guide you through the licensing process.
- Music won’t define your entire brand
- Use a professional service – If not carefully orchestrated, sound becomes irrelevant clutter
- Use your short music bumper (2 seconds) at the either the beginning or end of your videos, your voicemail, the beginning of your on-hold message, embedded in your enewsletter, when someone hits your blog or web site
- Be consistent when and how it’s used
- Down drown them in it. Don’t subject them to it every time they click a link or button on your site.
I think this is a really cool idea. Those of you that jump on this and do it right could have a distinct advantage and appear innovative. I don’t believe agents are tapping into sound as a way to brand themselves, but as always I invite you to correct me if I’m wrong.
Just for fun …
What’s your theme song?