Most businesses like to invest heavily in the visual branding elements such as logo, design and color. That’s why we see a lot of visual branding everywhere, and audio branding often gets ignored.

Some businesses can also be unaware of the benefits of audio branding. It’s mostly true in the case of small and medium size businesses as they find it difficult to execute an effective branding strategy anyway. Furthermore, the topic of audio branding also does not get much attention in the standard textbooks of marketing.

Hopefully, this article contributes to your understanding of audio branding. OK, let’s dive into the topic.

Why Audio Branding is important

Visual branding is not bad, it works. However, to neglect audio branding is like missing a good opportunity of creating a lasting impact on your business customers. After all branding is about creating positive association in the minds of customers.

You see, audio can be a great medium to connect with your brand’s customers and touch them emotionally. Therefore, it should be considered an important branding element in the overall branding mix. Let me try to explain this in a minute.

Sometimes, when a phone rings, I try to reach for my phone till I realize it is someone else’s. I’m sure you’ve also experienced the same in a public place.Think about it, how the ringtone has created associations in your mind.

Do you recall the keyboard sound of your first phone? Mine, was Nokia.

How about listening to songs from the past, don’t they take you back to the old times and create a sense of belonging or longing.The songs can remind you of the the places or people. Sometimes, the memory can be so strong & vivid causing a wave of strong nostalgia, all triggered by an audio that you deeply associate with in your mind.

The point of sharing these examples is that audio has an incredible impact on us. Often, we don’t realize it. If you are not convinced, then you probably need to spend some time with a good musician. There is a different level of aestheticism about all things audio and they will explain. After all, sound or voice was the first form of real communication among humans before they learnt writing the sounds or drawing them in a form of a language.

Audio/Sound will get to you, you can’t help it

Branding based on taste or touch is good for some categories of products and it can be a strong branding element. However, there is a problem here. A customer has to take an action i.e she has to get in contact with the brand. In other words, the customer has to experience when already present in the environment i.e the restaurant etc.

For example, I can be influenced by taste or touch only if I ,as a customer, take the initiative to touch or taste the product. But this is not the case with audio branding. You don’t have to do anything as long as your ears are not blocked :). Audio will get to you, you can’t help it.

Audio Branding Elements

Like a traditional branding, audio branding has the same purpose but the tools & techniques might differ depending on the industry. You should be ready for the usual questions that are asked in a meeting about visual branding.

Like visual branding, the positioning statement of audio branding also needs to include a brand promise, brand values and aspirations?  Who is your target audience? How are you different from the competitors? These questions can guide the process of audio branding.

If managed well, audio branding can play a significant role in helping your customers recall or recognize the brand. When you hear a whats-app or Skype sound, you instantly recognize it, don’t you?

The piece of music or song used as part of audio branding needs to be relevant and pleasant to the ears. One of the best example is Airtel audio(the music) created for the Indian market. Believe it or not, the sounds that are associated with your phone, apps or computer operating system are not randomly selected. Instead, they are carefully planned and thought out. The composition is deliberate, relevant and meaningful and you may not be able to do this without getting a professional involved. By the way, behind the famous airtel audio is the legendary Indian musician, AR Rahman.

The point is that there is a complete psychology behind the sounds of famous brands and they are supposed to affect you in ways that you might not realize.

Here, I’m sharing a few videos and I hope it would give you a better idea about audio branding and its impact. You can watch the first one to know exactly what big companies are doing with sounds.

You can enjoy all of the ringtones used by Airtel here in this vid :

I’m sure you’re using a good smartphone and here are some for Android phones

References

Minksy, L., Fahey, C. (2017). Audio Branding: using sound to build Brand.Kogan Page Limited. New York, USA