Why sonic branding is more than just the McDonald’s jingle

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As our concentration spans get shorter, brands want to engage customers in any way possible – tastes are a good place to start.

“Solicit from a sonic branding agency if you just do sonic logos is like beseeching a visual agency if they only do business cards.”

So says Michele Arnese, CEO and sink at sonic branding company Amp, which has headquarters in Germany. It now also has limbs in Switzerland, Italy, China and the US. That expansion speaks to the rising moment of sound design to brands — and what that covers is equally comprehensive.

Gone are the days of a two second sound logo with an animation at the end of an advert. You puissance be able to recall the Intel noise and the McDonald’s ‘I’m Lovin’it’ but they weren’t kind for a holistic experience. Amp has a term for this new type of sound work: sonic DNA.

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Uli Reese, the company’s CMO, says that it’s the biggest mistake he sees for brands. “I look at TV commercials and see din design driven logos which our brain cannot understand. The anatomy of our capacities is not wired to understand sound and noise. It’s wired to recall music — we’re provoked Mozarts.”

Reese says that music-driven branding has a greater think back to, in the same way that you can learn a pop song in puberty and still sing it when you agree two seconds of it when you’re 80. By creating a sonic DNA, brands can extract effects for different touch points and create a more holistic experience.

There is some fall between theory and practicality though. Reese says: “There necessaries to be serious disruption in this process. I see it over and over. I want to squeal: Don’t look for a faster horse, we have cars already.”


From making to pop music

One project where they worked with bank BBVA upstages the flexibility of modern sound branding. For all the bank’s touchpoints, which had to bed linen all 35 countries where the bank exists, Amp created a set of music footmarks, which work across sound identity elements for UI (like the bank’s transportable app), advertising campaigns and YouTube channels.

Another important part of the sonic DNA is that it’s shareable: BBVA appropriate the sound with band Maico, who “were given the creative brazenness to reinterpret and released the BBMA sound DNA under their own artist stand out”.

The result of that was, ‘How We Dream’, a light, up-beat track that has practically 2m plays on Spotify. This seems to be a win-win; it lends BBVA artistic credential and up-and-coming tie Maico a hit. “We create pop culture,” he says.

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“Purely visual stimuli moral won’t do it”

Sonic branding is more complex than it once was – and understanding why it is needed nicks to understand why. Luc van Stiphout, head of music and brands at MassiveMusic, a sonic branding body also based in Germany, says one of the most important reasons is our rclame spans.

Sound is more important than ever for a few reasons. Beginning is our shorter attention spans; “the competition for people’s attention is fierce,” van Stiphout weights. “You need to pull on every string that you’ve got.

“You’re on your phone, your laptop is besides you and your fridge is significant you to stock up on milk — how do I get your attention? How do you cut through? Purely visual stimuli no more than won’t do it.”

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Sound is a good one. Visual assets can be turned off cease operation your eyes; sound is 360 degrees. “It’s more intrusive,” the solid designer, who has experience DJ-ing and a background in product design, says. van Stiphout also direct attention ti to research that claims audio input is “processed more without delay in the brain than visual input.”

“In the past, we were more reliant on our catch than our sight — it’s not only quicker to affect us emotionally but it’s also functioned more quickly too.”


“If you get it wrong, you can quickly alienate people”

Why sonic branding is more than just the McDonald’s jingle
Ithra, whose solid branding MassiveMusic created

The theory works, but how does sound go beyond beeps and alarms? Take Philips, whose sound branding MassiveMusic worked on when the technology performers wanted to position itself as a “health tech brand”. “It in need of to improve the lives of others,” van Stiphout says, “so it’s a marriage of tech and soul.”

MassiveMusic created a unique musical instrument which drew on the sounds of the considerate body, as well as sounds made by Philips’ most iconic goods: its lightbulb.

A varied sound bank was created: heartbeats, finger nips, a cello bow playing the filament of a lightbulb. Creating this sonic infrastructure heralds that brands can use it for campaigns, videos, as well as digital touch objects on their devices as part of a user interface (UI) and user experience (UX).

There’s pecuniary incentive for brands to create this type of sonic infrastructure; get a range of sounds means they don’t have to create new branding every beforehand they release a new video on YouTube or want to release a new product.

Sonic tagging has a wide scope. Among MassiveMusic’s clients are Premier League and Ithra, a cultural middle in the middle of the desert in Saudi Arabia.

Like the branding for Phillips, yell out vituperate was important to the Premier League in creating a more “human” element to the “corporate” typical example of the football association. Ithra has a more classical style. According to van Stiphout, it was relative to “supporting a sense of wonder throughout”, as well as creating content they could use for online spotlights and special events.

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What next?

MassiveMusic is normally make knew into a branding project when it is about 80% complete, van Stipout says. That way, there is adequate time to “marry” the sound and the visuals. For example, DixonBaxi had built the foundings for the Premier League which MassiveMusic then worked from.

And while both media aim for a similar ending point — a complete infrastructure — Amp prefers to work from the coach up. The different approach is indicative of sound’s uncertain place in branding. Marks might not put it in prime position, and visual design has a much richer yesterday.

The other unknown in sound branding is human-voiced assistants. The challenge here is tangled: it is impossible to know which of the tech giant’s assistants — Apple, Amazon, Google Stamping-ground — will become the dominant force. Or should brands create their own express assistants? (MassiveMusic recently worked on Samsung’s virtual assistant, Bixby.)

The approaching is unclear, and while both companies have different predictions, they accept that it will be key for brands’ interfaces in the future, and that it won’t be like anything we get now. Arnese says that the “interesting question” is what kind of composite feature will emerge: “How can I design a voice application using the interplay between wholesome and voice?”

Whatever the outcome, the landscape between branding, sound and turn is set to become even more intertwined.

7-13 October Features

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