Sound identity is just as important a marketing tool as corporate identity. It is therefore part of the strategic means to enhance a brand image, but also to attract and retain customers.
> Download: Marketing evolution report ” align=”middle”/>
What is the sound identity of a brand?
Sound identity, also called sound branding Where audio branding, is the audio equivalent of a brand’s visual identity. It results in the use of a coherent set of sounds to define the identity of the brand. Sound identity can include different elements: a sound logo (or jingle), sound DNA, music, a branded song, a voice, a sound charter, etc.
The sound logo and sound DNA are the two main components that form the basis of a sound identity. The sound logo corresponds to the musical signature of the brand. Lasting about five seconds, it punctuates the audio or video interventions and consists of unique sounds that allow the brand to be identified. As for sound DNA, it occupies a central place in the sound identity since it is the brand’s anthem. He defines his musical universe in order to embody his identity. For this, it takes into account its history, its values, its missions and its personality.
The sound identity of a brand can be used on a large number of communication media: videos, advertisements (television or radio), landline or mobile phones (ringtones or music on hold), podcasts, assistants voice or marketing events (trade fairs, street marketing operations, conferences, etc.).
There are many advantages to creating a sound identity for businesses. In particular, it allows them to:
- boost their brand image;
- stand out from the competition thanks to a unique identity;
- create links with consumers;
- express their values;
- generate an emotional attachment between their brand and their target;
- anchor their brand in the memory of their customers;
- develop their notoriety.
Examples of brands with a known sound identity
The sound identity of the SNCF is one of the best known, but also one of the most successful. Since 2005, it has marked the minds of the public with its soothing, enthusiastic and warm sounds. With this sound identity, SNCF wanted to illustrate the values it conveys: service, proximity and kindness. Thanks to this sound identity, SNCF thus aspires to assert itself as a leader in mobility with a human face. Its sound identity contributes to the recognition of the company with a very high notoriety (98%) and a high attribution rate (94%).
For its communication, SFR has always paid particular attention to the use of music. In 2014, the telephone operator took advantage of the renewal of its brand image and the creation of a new slogan to completely rethink its sound identity. It is recognized today as one of the most memorable, durable and effective on the market. With this melody SFR wanted to express the values to which the operator is very attached: fluidity, agility and confidence. These three elements are elegantly translated by clean and warm tones. These notes follow one another at a rapid pace to underline the dynamic character of the brand.
La Française des jeux wanted to stand out by developing the visibility of its brand through the use of music. With a creation that is both jazzy and modern, the FDJ is associated with a melody imbued with joie de vivre, humor and creativity, values that are dear to it. These translate into a festive instrumentalization giving pride of place to the violin and percussions. In 2013, this sound identity enabled the FDJ to be distinguished by the Grand Prix Stratégies du Design in the “Musical Design” category. Today, it is still available on all of the brand’s communication media: TV and radio advertisements, telephony, events and internal communication.
How to define your sound identity?
Write a relevant brief
The first step in creating a brand’s sound identity is to establish a brief. Be careful, it is not a question of making a musical brief with your desires and tastes, but of basing yourself on your brand strategy. To do this, the brief must detail a number of elements:
- the overall brand strategy;
- her values ;
- his identity ;
- its visual communication (graphic charter);
- the current musical style if the brand already uses one.
All these essential elements will help the agency in charge of creating the sound identity to structure its work. The production of a coherent and detailed brief helps companies to position their brand image musically.
Choosing the right provider
Choosing the right provider is of course essential. An agency that knows how to listen to a business and is interested in its activity will be able to create a lasting sound identity and bring it value. Its mission will then consist of facilitating the understanding of the message that the company wishes to send to the public. The agency will channel the ideas and desires of the company, structure its expectations and advise it throughout the duration of the project. A good sound designer must also be present with the company over the long term, in particular to refine his sound identity and adapt it to the effects of fashion.
Study the competition
To stand out from the competition, companies must choose a musical style that is unique to them. It is therefore essential to learn about the music and styles used by the competitors. This benchmark will help them create a unique and original sound identity that will optimize and consolidate their brand image.
Learn about the tastes of your customers
Knowing your target is essential to communicate about your brand, whether it is sound identity or marketing in general. The products and the offer of a brand are aimed at a predefined clientele. The musical register must therefore be chosen according to the intended target: young people, seniors, men, women, CSP, areas of interest, etc. Indeed, even if there is no one truth adaptable to all, musical tastes often vary according to these different criteria. To do the best, companies must therefore refer to their buyer persona to identify the musical style that will be the most suitable. For a young target, the agency will favor, for example, pop, rock and electro sounds.
Bring out emotions
Known as a powerful emotional carrier, music has a real impact on consumers. The sound identity of a brand must therefore trigger emotions and feelings in its customers. For example, it can cause joy, mirth, surprise, serenity, confidence, etc. These feelings will generate interest in the brand and therefore strengthen its identity, attractiveness and notoriety.
Create a memorable sound identity
For a sound identity to be effective, it must be easily recognizable. Three plays are enough to be able to memorize a sound. To be easy to remember, a brand’s sound identity should be short and melodic. Including the brand name through a voiceover also strengthens the identification of the sound identity and therefore of the company.
Highlight the brand’s values
The musical register chosen for the creation of the sound identity must convey the values of the brand, and therefore correspond perfectly to its universe. The tone given must represent the musical expression of the brand’s identity. For example, organic stores will opt for a zen and relaxing sound universe. For the sound identity of an insurance company or a mutual, the notes will be softer and will be reassuring.
Establish a sound charter
To disseminate an effective and harmonious sound identity, it is above all necessary to respect a certain number of good practices. Just as the visual identity is based on a graphic charter to maintain consistency in corporate communication, the sound identity must comply with a sound charter. This document provides a framework for the creation of the various elements of the sound identity and their use on the various media, in the various places and by all the employees of the company.
To learn more about the marketing strategies to adopt, download this free report and learn about the latest trends on the state of marketing in 2021.