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The Power of Sonic Branding

The sounds we hear influence and guide our actions and emotions. When we hear our text tone go off on our cellphone, our following action is to check the notification. We feel accomplished when we hear the "victory music" in a video game.


A psychological mechanism called music expectancy explains that music has been identified as the universal language. Music is simply a random collection of sounds and is pleasurable only because the brain imposes order to the sounds and interprets the order in a certain way. Your expectations about the rhythm and melody of the music trigger an emotional response. (Bright Audiology)


Powerful neurological connections between sound environments and human emotion position sonic branding as a powerful marketing tool.


Case Study | THX

The THX Deep Note is a case study for using sound in branding. This nostalgic animation, paired with a somewhat ominous and wholly epic sound, evoked a powerful feeling of anticipation in the audience. The Deep Note was a sign that what you were about to watch would be big, loud, and awesome. It is an example of an audio logo, a 3-5 second segment of audio that is unique and trademarked to your brand. The combination of the synth-heavy sound with the futuristic sans-serif font used for the logo established THX as an innovator and authority in the cinematic industry.


Case Study | Apple and Microsoft

Apple has used sonic branding as a product differentiator. When booting up your MacBook or iMac, you hear the iconic chime that indicates you are entering a moment of productivity and evokes a feeling of satisfaction. Their competitor, Microsoft, has a different chime and library of other sounds accompanying our actions when operating the system. More nostalgic and cheerful than its long-time contender, Microsoft's sound design is integral to its brand identity. In both of these brands, the sounds are unique to the product. Their sound environments have strong associations with each company due to the ubiquity of the sound paired with the visual cues like colour and logomark in their branding.

From these two case studies, we can understand the power that sonic branding has on brand recognition and association. Integrating a unique sound into your branding can reinforce how customers remember your brand, especially when paired with strategic visual design. If you would like to discuss your visual or sonic branding, our team would love to chat with you. Email us at atelier@oluwatosin.net— let's start a conversation.

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