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The Sound of Success

What is your sonic brand?



Close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you. More than likely you will hear the sounds of successful sonic branding.

The pop of a Snapple lid. Hometown hero Peyton Manning humming, “Nationwide is on your side...”

Sound can connect consumers to a brand on a deeper level than any logo. As consumers develop a growing reliance on voice technology, making audio connections becomes a must. Sonic branding and the use of sound can reinforce your brand identity...and even drive increased sales. Yet, the power of sonic branding is generally overlooked by many marketers.

Casinos have been at this game for quite a while now, and you may have never noticed. As the industry transitioned to coinless slots, operators quickly understood that the clanging sound of coins falling into a metal tray signaled winning even if you weren’t the one pulling the handle. That sound had to be engineered into the mechanics of the newer slot machines.

Audiobrain’s owner/creative director, Audrey Arbeeny, is an Emmy Award-winning executive producer and pioneer in the field of sonic branding. Arbeeny is guided by the notion that humans are deeply connected to sound.

“We are natural receptors for sound and vibration,” she says. “Our (adult) bodies are vibratory systems made of 50 to 68 percent water. Additionally, sound is housed in the emotional center of the brain. It is stored very deeply which is why we respond to and remember music and sound once it is stored. Think of a song from when you were a kid. You’ll remember every word, even if you haven’t heard it in 30 years.”

The next time you open your store, spa, or customer outlet for a day of business, think about the sound of your brand. As it turns out, music plays a bigger part than just filling up the quiet time. If your logo is the identity of your brand, and your store and employees are the face, that sound you select to guide your customers is the voice of your brand. The right sound has the potential to put customers in the best mood to purchase by defining the brand in a deep, emotional way that will (ideally) connect with them.

Have you ever walked into a store or restaurant that had no background music playing? How did you feel? Uncomfortable? Did you feel the need to leave? How about the last time you walked into a store and they had some oddly selected music playing? What if you were purchasing a luxury item but the store was playing a selection of metal and hard rock? As a customer, we don’t ever really think about the sound of a store. You might sing along if you recognize the tune...or you might not care at all.

The sound of your environment is just as important as the displays and signs. Sonic branding can be used to enhance your time at a place of business, encourage you to shop quickly or slowly, maybe even spend more money. Additionally, the proper sonic approach can create a sense of privacy for customers, allowing them the space they need to comment and make decisions. And, if you’re lucky enough to be a high-traffic, high-demand business, proper use of music can make lines feel shorter. The same applies to the music and messages that are played when customers are on hold.

Because you are more likely to remember music that doesn’t fit with the atmosphere, the best music is the kind you don’t really notice because it’s such a natural part of the brand experience.

What kind of mood do you want your customers to be in while they are in your store? Does it match your brand?

It’s time to say goodbye to “elevator music” and welcome your sonic brand. Buying from you can, and should, be an environmental experience your customers will enjoy and repeat.


Julia Carcamo is president and chief brand strategist at J Carcamo & Associates, specializing in brand and marketing strategy. She is also the co-founder of espNOLA, a Hispanic marketing and engagement agency. Learn more at jcarcamoassociates.com and espnola.com.
 
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