The Language of Audio Branding

Jeffrey Hayzlett
Marketing News
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Key Takeaways
  • "Audio branding is the approach of using unique, proprietary sound and music to convey a brand's esssence and values."

  • Marketers have been using audio branding for years: Intel's five-note bong and NBC's three-note chime are a few of the most notable examples.

  • When developing an audio brand, it's helpful to find your own distinctive sound and use your it consistently across your organization.

It’s been done for years: Intel’s five-note bong, NBC’s three-note chimes and so many others. 

Audio branding is the approach of using unique, proprietary sound and music to convey a brand’s essence and values. Just as visual branding defines a brand using color and shape, audio branding defines a brand through sound and music. 

While it’s been around since the advent of radio, and it cemented its place in the branding arsenal when television came on the scene, audio branding can be an afterthought limited by budget and time. 

Visual branding remains the focus for many marketers, but with the many touch points available today, you won’t get the most out of your brand if you rely on visuals. Brands need to employ every single mode of communication that they can get, and audio branding is essential to maximizing your brand’s value. 

Audio branding can enhance your brand experience via your website, mobile apps, YouTube channels, blogs, sales presentations, in-store displays, events, seminars or customer service’s on-hold music. The audio component should be memorable and have continuity across your brand. 

United took a big step toward audio branding when it incorporated George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” into its television campaigns. Intel nailed it when it developed a simple five-tone musical flourish at the end of its TV spots. We probably can all recall the robotic sound associated with Google’s Droid technology when the brand name is spoken in commercials.  

Europeans are on the cutting edge in developing audio branding. The Paris-based agency, Sixième Son, is a leader in creating powerful audio branding for companies. It helped AXA, the financial services giant that operates in 56 countries, create a mix-and-match library of branded music specially composed for AXA and punctuated by a powerful AXA “audio logo.” AXA’s various marketing departments and agencies around the world can use the music and audio logo in distinctive campaigns while maintaining brand continuity. 

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Author Bio:
Jeffrey Hayzlett
Jeffrey Hayzlett is a speaker and author, and the host of C-Suite with Jeffrey Hayzlett on Bloomberg Television. He is CEO of The Hayzlett Group, an international strategic business consulting company.

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