We live in a world of brands and products. Every single day we are exposed to branding of some sort. Cleverly designed billboards, ad breaks on TV, Facebook ads, Google ads, blog posts, podcasts, YouTube videos—branding finds its way into every aspect of content. And one of the elements of branding that can leave a particularly strong impression is sound.
Branding is more than the visual elements you can see, it also encompasses the sounds you connect with a brand. Let’s dive deeper into audio branding and explore the different ways in which sound can support your brand.
Branding with sound?
Yes—sound is an important aspect of your branding and still not as saturated as other branding efforts. It is easily overlooked and underappreciated, but when used correctly it can have tremendous benefits for your marketing efforts.
Let’s explore ways in which you can embrace sound branding and maximise the benefits good audio branding can offer you and your potential customers.
What is audio branding?
Audio branding—also known as sonic branding or sound branding—encompasses the specific sounds that are connected to your brand. That can include a jingle, sound logo, a specific voice or style of music. Sound plays a huge role in how humans experience content like ads, videos or podcasts, which makes audio branding a very powerful tool in your marketing toolbox.
As humans we have been gifted with sight, ability to touch, feel, smell and hear. On a day to day basis you may prefer to listen to something instead of watching, you could be a book worm or a newspaper subscriber and YouTube could not even be on your daily agenda, or you may have a highly sensitive sense of smell or touch. It’s okay—we are all unique and there is no right or wrong here.
By omitting audio in your branding efforts you are effectively reducing your impact on a big chunk of your potential audience.
But if this is the case—as a brand wanting to maximise our impact on the world—we should be thinking of how our marketing efforts impact every person out there. Not just the highly visual lot. By omitting audio in your branding efforts you are effectively reducing your impact on a big chunk of potential audience.
Let’s look at different ways in which you can use audio branding. This list isn’t complete, but includes those most used marketing methods where sound is involved:
- Hold messaging systems for your phone line
- Radio/tv ads you make for your products/services
- YouTube, Facebook and podcast ads you make to advertise online
- Welcome video shown on your website
- Videos you make and publish online on your YouTube channel or Facebook
- Podcasts you create
- Live broadcasts on your social networks
You may be looking at this list and thinking how important visual branding is for all these marketing channels—why should audio matter so much? In order to create a consistent, holistic brand experience, your audio branding needs to blend in seamlessly and your sound needs to become a unique, recognizable branding element.
Let me ask you a question: if you decided to create a marketing campaign that includes a combination of YouTube ads, podcasts and social media and tv advertising would you ask your visual designer to use a different style of visuals on each ad? I didn’t think so!
Instead you would want to make sure that your visual branding is consistent throughout the entire campaign. Your logo would be the same everywhere, your graphic designer would make sure to use colors that complement your brand and so on. The attention to detail should be exactly the same when it comes to the audio elements of your campaign.
Understand your branding needs
Before getting into branding your sound, it’s important to be clear about your own brand. This is about understanding what your brand stands for and the overall style that defines who you are.
- What makes your brand unique?
- What are your brand values?
- Who is your ideal customer?
- What makes you different from the other brands out there?
The answers to these questions need to be translated into branding elements, such as your logo, brand voice, color palette, typography. Your brand sound is one if these elements and should fit your brand needs and style wherever needed. The different elements that make up your branding should be used consistently in a variety of places:
- Website and/or blog
- Social media channels
- Packaging for physical products
- Business cards
- Different types of ads
Just like the rest of your brand elements your audio branding should reflect your style. Is your brand fun? Serious? Educational? Entertaining? Artsy? Modern? Traditional? Then your audio branding should be too.
Different sound elements you might need include your audio logo, music, audio scripts, jingles and voiceovers.
Choosing your music
Your audio branding should match your visual and conceptual brand. That means you need to start by determining what kind of music fits best… and then finding it.
What makes the most sense for your products or services?
- Fast or slow music?
- Low tones (base) or high (treble) tones?
- Modern or classical?
- A single instrument, or a few, or many instruments?
- Is there a specific music genre that would fit your brand?
Have an idea of what you want before you listen to samples, so you can narrow down your musical style. Think of your potential clients—what would appeal to them? What would make them feel attracted to your brand?
Search royalty free or inexpensive music at:
Select a few options and see how they work with your script.
Audio scripts & jingles
When it comes to audio scripts, use language that your customers use in the way they would use it.
There is a difference in how a teenager vs a fifty-something talks and communicates. Pay attention to differences in tone, expressions and language.
Scripts don’t have to be long and should always be to the point. Don’t overwhelm your audience, less is often more. Words that have been put together thoughtfully will stick in our minds more than lengthy sales pitches.
Another option is to write a short song or jingle. A short, catchy bit that fits with your brand, highlights your personality, and shares what makes your brand unique.
Whatever text you use should be authentic and reflect the tone of your marketing presence. For instance, a casual product or service should have a script with a light, fun tone.
Choosing the right voice is as important as choosing the right music track. A voice that’s young vs mature can send a different message with a difference in vocal range alone. Don’t compromise on quality, voiceovers play a big part in representing your brand, so use a professional service such as Music Radio Creative.
When you are deciding on a voice artist, consider the following character traits and how they fit in with the rest of your brand:
- Age – young or old? What makes the most sense?
- Accent – yes or no?
- Speed – fast or slow reader?
Putting the pieces together
Creating audio pieces for your brand is simple:
- Choose the audio
- Write the content
- Get the voiceover
- Put the pieces together
Familiarity is good—it subconsciously gives us the feeling of safety and belonging. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does wonders for building brand recognition.
After you have your branded audio pieces, use them consistently across all channels that include audio and after a while the sound elements will become familiar to your customers. Familiarity is good—it subconsciously gives us the feeling of safety and belonging. It doesn’t happen overnight, but it does wonders for building brand recognition.
Sound is effective. Let your audience use all of their senses to embrace and recognize your brand.
About the author:
Izabela Russell is Audio Branding Expert at Music Radio Creative and helps brands sound great. She’s an entrepreneur, founder & speaker. When not at work you can most likely catch her walking in the woods, picking mushrooms and enjoying nature.