What is Sonic Branding?

17 Sep 2019 | vividreal

Here’s a fun activity for you. Try to remember a jingle or a tune from an ad you’ve seen. If you’re Indian, you’d probably remember the music from the Airtel ads. In fact, there are so many songs and jingles that come to mind; the Nokia tune, songs from Ujala and Washing Powder Nirma ads, etc. I’m sure you can remember many more jingles from other advertisements you’ve seen over the years. But do you remember seeing ads of those products in a magazine or a newspaper? Most people don’t. Do you think you’d remember these ads if it weren’t for those catchy songs? You probably wouldn’t. Jingles and tunes are extremely catchy and they stick with you for many years.

Okay, let us dive into nostalgia now. Plug your headphones in and click on the following sounds one by one and try to remember where you’ve heard them before!

 

 

 

 

 

 

We could go on and on. The point here is, you must have heard these sounds many times. You still hear jingles and other sounds associated with certain products/companies every day. You don’t really think of them or acknowledge their existence when you do, they just creep into your brain and stay there. Whenever you hear that sound again, you instantly think of a brand! It’s been years since I’ve played Clash of Clans, but I can still hear the sound it makes when its parent company, Supercell’s logo appears.

This is how sonic branding works. 

Sonic branding is the practice of using sonic elements to create brand awareness. Simply put, it is the sound of your brand. It could be a short melody or a jingle or it could even be a long piece of music. Watch the ad below.

 

Some of you may remember this ad from Raymond. Sonic branding helps trigger emotions. Human beings are emotional beings. Hearing a jingle you’ve heard when you were a little kid, creates a certain familiarity. You feel a certain bond with that brand. This makes you more likely to buy their products. Sonic branding is about building a relationship between a brand and a potential customer.

To me, there’s so much nostalgia associated with this ad. I’ve never owned anything from Raymond, but the brand feels familiar because of the hundreds of times I’ve seen this ad. The music is probably why this ad got pretty much ingrained into my brain. That sax line that starts towards the end has been used by Raymond in all their ads. It’s actually from a classical Piano piece titled “Kinderszenen Op.15 No.7” by Schumann which you can hear below.


Even sounds that your products make, or sounds that are made during the manufacture of your products can be used as your product’s “sonic logo”. Coca-cola uses many sounds to create its unique sonic logo. Apart from a catchy jingle/song, their ads are usually accompanied by sounds of their bottle being opened, fizzing, sounds of someone drinking/gulping and then an “ah”. 


The thing about sonic branding is, it surrounds us every day. Your brain registers all these sounds without even being aware of it. Years of watching an Intel Inside ad or booting up your desktop PC have made the sonic logos of Intel and Windows pretty much ingrained in your brain. You hear a sound and instantly, you know where it is from. The human brain takes around 0.146 seconds to react to a sound. Our sense of hearing is in fact, our fastest sense. Your brain can recognise a sound in just 0.05 seconds. The “stapes reflex”, which is a defence mechanism of the ear that protects it from extremely loud sounds, kicks in 0.025 seconds after the sound reaches your ear. 

With hundreds of thousands of logos and ads all around us, sonic branding helps a brand to stick out and be remembered. So many visual logos exist but comparatively, there are very few sonic logos out there. Can you draw Airtel’s logo from memory? If you’ve heard their jingle, you’d be able to identify it anywhere. We tend to remember jingles and other sounds more than any visual logo. It is obvious from this, why exactly sonic branding is important. 

 

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