What is audio branding?
Audio branding is the trasmission of brand values through acoustic means.
Music, sounds, voices too: everything that can be heard can be used to transmit your brand values.
But: what’s the process?
The first process is to, obviously, complete a branding briefing. After everything that the brand has to be is clearly laid out, the next step is to study the scenarios in which the audio branding will be used. Averagely speaking, with these 3 main factors in mind:
(who’s the target of the audio branding)
(what device will reproduce the audio branding)
- attached media
(together with what media is the audio branding going to be reproduced)
Here’s a quick example of this:
A YouTube preroll video logo for Playstation users in Italy
Having this clear, you can really start working on the audio branding.
The knowledge required
Audio production of audio branding is a peculiar endeavour: it sits at the intersection of many different fields – in detail:
- Sound design
Required to create sounds and reproduce them, so to make sure the audio branding will sound perfectly in all the required scenarios (e.g. Smartphones, PCs, notebooks, cinema screens, etc…)
- Music production
You can guess this one.
Audio branding is, after all, about translating marketing ideas into sonic ones – hence, you’ll also need a healthy amount of marketing knowledge so as to not lose anything during the translation.
Psychology and a very specific branch of it, named psychoacoustics, are necessary for an effective audio branding. Because marketing is, after all, the use of psychology for communication purpose.
Psychoacoustics is, instead, a niche field of psychology that studies how the brain interprets acoustic signals – that, I think, is pretty explanatory as per how useful to this endeavour.
All stocked up in knowledge? Time to fire up the sequencers.
The audio branding production
Being an acoustic environment, a completely intangible realm, there’s no “manual” to be consulted about how to do it: it’s music composition and sound design. Both fields in which, yes, there can be some guidance – but most of the effort, and by most I truly mean it (95%), has to come from your artistic inspiration. Which, getting technical, is nothing but a mix of interactions between the cognitive side of your brain (neocortex) and the subconscious one (lymbic system). With most of the outcome due to your lymbic system – but only if fed with the right information, which comes from your conscious part (neocortex).
So, long story short: a process crowned with success when a very well made briefing meets a talented artist.
Examples of great audio branding
Tell me a better audio branding – I’ll wait.
This one has to be immediately after Windows XP as per greatness – both from a composition and technical standpoing: have you ever tried this one in a neutral audio sound system???
20th Century fox
Pretty good this one too, right?
The common denominator:
- Great sound design
All of them have really good sounds – who go in the “outstanding level” for the THX sound logo.
- They’re really good from a compositional standpoint
They’re so good they would’ve been nice to hear to even without having been a logo – even, probably, a bit too short to be in your playlist.
- They actually convey their idea
They don’t just “go along” with the images: they truly reflect the values those brands are promoting – as example: the 20th Century Fox one is announcing this brand is about a great show – and, as you can clearly tell, that message went through loud and clear!
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