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Sound Branding, where to begin?

With new contact points between brands and people appearing every day, managers will have to prepare themselves to deal with another senses other than image.

On the past few years I have notice a sensible growth on the demand for sound strategies coming from big and medium brands. This movement is increasing, as usually, in more developed markets, and on this journey I had the opportunity to chat and discuss this topic with managers from some of the main brands inside and outside Brazil. They are extremely tuned in professionals; always aware of what is happening in their surroundings as well as what is coming from different areas that can impact their business. They know the importance of the role that the brand has on its business and this helps on the decision making process. On this context I hear all the time their will to understand how to deal with sound and where to concentrate more effort to achieve better results, without neglecting the company different realities and contexts.

Taking into account that we live in an environment filled with excessive information and offers, is important to consider some points that can make all the difference on the brand management. The bottom line is, the visual aspect was always a major factor on the brand management culture. Nevertheless, this is gradually changing and it increased after the digital revolution, where there is addition of stories being showed by different brands and channels, causing an involution on people’s attention in general. The sound on this process is getting more attention and it is being used cleverly by companies that understood this scenario.

One of the most emblematic cases nowadays is from Mastercard, they are aiming and starting a new era, launching a brand’s sound identity. “With U$ 40 billion worth of purchases made using the costumer’s voice by 2022, the audio identities not only connect brands and costumers in a whole new dimension, these identities are tools that allow customers to buy, live and pay in a more mobile and digital world”, says the company advertisement. This strategy is completely aligned with one of the main points on a well-structured brand sound thinking, and this point is: Brand sound codes and identity can be so well thought and conceived that end up happening independently, even if there is no visual appeal.

The challenge that managers are facing right now is to realise that this sound awareness movement is important and there is no coming back from it. The efforts in building a strong brand from now on must include according sound thinking, to each reality and scenario. Nowadays, probably this is been neglected or even overrated.

The first step is to understand that the sound strategy must be aligned to each context, situation and above all it has to make sense to the brand purpose, business and people. One of the major sins that companies commit when developing a brand strategy is to neglect the fact that the communication must be integrated and whole. I am referring to make sound a part of the brand’s strategy. Is common to see brands that went through a rebranding process and consequently, a new visual concept was created but no thought was put on how the sound will integrate this new strategy, even though it would play a major role in many of these cases. As important as choosing the new verbal text language or voice tone is to understand how the brand will express itself through the voice. For example, which voice or voices will give life to this new context? Which characteristics will be present and will give literally voice to the new created strategy? As relevant as setting the new language or even choosing the image for new campaigns is to realise what role music will play building this new identity and brand experience. How music will travel through the different brand paths? Which public it will connect to? In which moments? Even realise how noise and silence or even other sound expressions will impact positively different agents on this scenario aiming perception of product and service.