What is Sonic Branding?

Published October 27, 2022

How many brands do you recognize simply from a tune or melody that is played? When you think about it, there are probably a lot more than you realize. That’s why sonic branding is so important. It helps customers recognize your brand by just hearing your brand’s jingle, melody, mnemonic, or tune.

What is Sonic Branding?

Sonic branding refers to the sounds and music that a brand uses to make itself identifiable to customers when it’s heard. To put it simply, sonic branding is brand recognition through music and sound.

Sonic branding can occur in a variety of different ways. It can be through hold music, a notification tone, or a sound effect that the brand uses at different times. Instead of a musical tone or melody, sonic branding can be a unique sound effect, like a swoosh or bubble popping.

Sonic branding is heard in different brands and companies, including McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Microsoft, and Apple, among others. Some may be as simple as ringing a bell in a Taco Bell commercial to a dynamic melody like the Apple iPhone ringtone.

For sonic branding to be successful, it needs customers to recognize the brand by the sound heard. Sonic branding is a marketing strategy companies use to make their brand recognizable to a target audience.

What Makes Sonic Branding Successful?

Sonic branding works by using sound to invoke an emotional response within a customer when they hear the sound, proving the point that audio branding is just as important as visual branding. Many movies have a recognizable sonic signature that helps make the movie identifiable and helps the audience know how to feel.

Emotional Triggers and Responses

Sounds can trigger emotions, often more strongly than visuals can. Pay attention to the sounds next time you watch a movie, television show, or advertisement. While the visual branding will help the audience recognize a logo and scene, sonic branding will incite emotional triggers and responses to help the audience know how to feel.

Another way that sonic identity or sound branding triggers emotional responses is through nostalgia. Often, through a brand’s sound effect or jingle, customers feel emotionally connected to a brand, only to be reminded of that emotional connection when they first hear the sonic brand after years have gone by.

One of the most iconic three words from the 1990s was, “You’ve Got Mail!” This creates an instant nostalgia for those who lived during the days of AOL and its ever-popular email platform that verbally told its users if they had mail when they logged on.

Marketing Brand Strategy

You can use sonic branding to help market your brand. Sound design is a powerful marketing tool that will help you connect your brand to your customers. Many companies and brands use sonic branding for marketing their product or service and brand association. This can be through songs and music, such as a playlist or distinctive sound to market their product, service, or movie. This helps brands create deep relationships and connections with their customers, making them more successful.

Companies also use sound effects and audio identity to enhance the product they’re selling to make the product more appealing and marketable. Combine sound effects with a catchy tune, and companies have figured out how to turn sonic branding into a money-making concept.

How to Use Sonic Branding to Make Your Brand Stand Out

The brand experience is more than just the visual identity of the brand. While a logo will help customers be able to visually identify your brand, sounds can do the same thing. A sound logo can be accomplished through musical instruments, songs, or sound effects. You know that sonic branding has done its job when a customer can identify your brand when they hear a song or sound effect and will be able to instantly associate it with your brand.

You can reach a customer’s emotions and memory quicker by using sonic branding to boost brand awareness. Think of advertising your brand using nothing but visuals. This means no music, no songs, no sound effects, and no branded sound that plays when your visual logo is conveyed at the end.

What will make your brand memorable to the audience who has just watched it? What’s more, how will your audience feel while watching the advertisement? Did they know how to feel solely through the visuals that were provided?

Through music and sound effects, sounds will help tell a multidimensional story and help your audience reach the emotional place your brand needs it to reach. This is how sonic branding makes your brand stand out from the competition and how you need to use sonic branding to be successful.

At a minimum, you should use sonic branding to help brand your company’s identity so that a customer knows your business simply from a melody, tune, or song they hear.

Final Thoughts

If you haven’t considered creating a brand identity by using music and sound, now is the time. In the marketing world, sonic branding can be even more successful than visual branding, especially if it’s done correctly. Musical tunes, melodies, jingles, and sound effects are all great ways to bring your brand to life so that customers remember your brand instead of the competition. A successful sonic brand will not only help customers know how to feel about your brand but can also help customers remember your brand for years to come.