Sonic branding is becoming more important every day given the growth of voice in marketing. Companies like McDonald’s, Intel, and Disney have been using sonic branding to propel their businesses to success for many years, but with the explosion of access to voice-based, audio-first consumer devices, sonic branding is now a must-have consumer engagement strategy. Visa even spent over a year in the development of its latest sonic branding strategy: a less-than-a-second sound “to signal speed and convenience.” The process involved neuro-research, relied on focus groups spanning eight different markets, and eliminated over 200 other sounds that elicited “visceral reactions” like anger.
All that effort has paid off for Visa, as 83% of respondents surveyed about this sound admitted to being “positively impacted” by it, with another 81% claiming they would have a more positive perception of merchants using it. Visa's apparent success is further proof that sonic branding works, and this is the reason many global brands have their own sonic logo (think of NBC's chime sound or Microsoft's startup prompt). It is also why you need to consider sonic branding for your own business.
But what exactly is sonic branding?
What is Sonic Branding?
Sonic branding is the use of music, sound, or voice (or any combination of them) to reinforce or highlight a brand’s identity. This sound is something that people immediately and unmistakably associate with a brand upon hearing it. This type of branding has the same end-goals as visual branding: stimulate an emotional response or attachment and evoke instant recognition.
A most obvious and successful example of sonic branding is Netflix's sonic logo: the ta-dum sound, or two 16th note timpani strikes on D2 and D3. It is the sound you hear before you watch anything on the streaming service. It is simplistic and two beats long only, but it is indubitably Netflix's, and recognized by every subscriber. More importantly, it has become one of the world’s most iconic sounds.