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What Is SoniWhat Is Sonic Branding and How Can It Benefit Your Brand? Woman recording her voicec Branding and How Can It Benefit Your Brand? Woman recording her voice
What Is SoniWhat Is Sonic Branding and How Can It Benefit Your Brand? Woman recording her voicec Branding and How Can It Benefit Your Brand? Woman recording her voice
Alex Mcomie 107x107
May 3, 2022
2

What Is Sonic Branding and How Can It Benefit Your Brand?

In 2022, companies in every field are looking for new ways to develop positive associations with their brand.

With more competition than ever, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to generate unique impressions that can make your business stand out from the rest.

In this article, we’ll take a look at the basics of sonic branding and why it’s so important to brand development in 2022.

Even smaller companies should be thinking about how their sound design strategies influence the way their brand is perceived by the target audience.

 

What Is Sonic Branding?

First, you need to understand what exactly sonic branding is and how you can use it to your advantage.

In short, sonic branding refers to the process of developing a distinctive sound profile that audiences will associate with your brand.

Sonic branding could include everything from voice actors to jingles and ringtones.

The McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It” jingle, for example, is one of the most well-known brand symbols around the world.

 

How Does Sonic Branding Work?

Branding involves two basic elements.

First, you need consumers to recognize that your brand exists. Brand recognition is the first building block in any kind of branding.

After you get people to know about your brand, you still need to get them to form a positive impression.

Strong branding depends on a clear, cohesive image that stays consistent across different interactions.

Even without the words, most consumers will immediately recognize the jingle itself and think of the McDonald’s brand.

This is a sign of the company’s ability to leverage sonic branding and achieve brand recognition through sound as well as visual media.

Effective sonic branding can lead to a number of positive outcomes including driving customer actions and increasing brand loyalty.

At the same time, the McDonald’s brand is far more than just a jingle or catchphrase.

Everything from the color scheme and the golden arches to the product names and even the mobile app affects how customers see McDonald’s.

Sound is one of many crucial elements of this general brand image.

 

Sonic Branding Examples

The McDonald’s jingle is a classic example of sonic branding, but many other companies have used the same ideas to develop their own unique styles.

Let’s take a look at some of the most effective examples of sonic branding.

1. Super Mario

Mario has been one of the most popular characters in video games since the release of Super Mario Bros. in 1985 (1987 in the United States).

The coin sound effect has been around for even longer starting with the original 1983 Mario Bros.

This sound plays when the player starts the game, collects a coin, or takes other specific actions.

Even though the sound design has changed slightly over the years, Nintendo has made a point to maintain a version of the same coin sound in virtually every Mario-related game.

For many gamers, the coin sound effect is an instantly recognizable sign of the Nintendo brand.

Like McDonald’s, Nintendo has been willing to adjust the sound as necessary without losing its core quality.

Recent games include a much more resonant version of the same effect that has been around since the 1980s.

Just like Mario himself, the coin sound has been a changing yet constant symbol of Nintendo for nearly 40 years.

2. Pixar

Production companies often place quick animations or jingles at the beginning or end of shows, movies, and video games in order to increase brand recognition.

Pixar is one of the best examples of this, with the iconic lamp moving across the screen and taking the place of the “I” in the company’s name.

As we saw with McDonald’s and Mario, one of the key elements of Pixar’s success is the alignment of all branding elements.

The animation, sound effects, and the style of Pixar’s movies all work together to create a consistent impression.

That’s part of what makes Pixar so much more recognizable and distinctive than many other production companies.

3. Macintosh

Apple’s startup chime is another distinctive sound that consumers around the world can easily recognize.

Like the Mario coin sound, Apple’s sound effect has been subtly tweaked over the years for a more sleek and modern impression.

You can see the balance between consistency and innovation through each successive iteration of the startup chime.

Note that every single example has been remarkably simple.

You might think that a more complex sound effect will be more distinctive, but consumers are more likely to form associations with a sound that’s easy to remember.

All four of McDonald’s, Nintendo, Pixar, and Macintosh have spent years trying to develop a positive, relaxing sound that matches the impression they want to give their audience.

4. Pure Michigan

Finally, this last example is about voice acting rather than basic sound effects.

While travel commercials can come off as generic or unrealistic, Michigan took the unique approach of bringing in a celebrity to promote state tourism.

Tim Allen helped make Pure Michigan one of the most successful tourism campaigns in recent memory, with ads starting in 2008 and running until they were cut in 2019.

By focusing on the narrative of exploration rather than the landmarks or places of interest, the Pure Michigan campaign was able to differentiate itself from a usual state travel ad.

Hiring celebrity voice actors isn’t a realistic option for every company, but it’s still important to find voice actors who can effectively represent your brand.

Here at Voice Crafters, we work with an incredible group of advertising voice actors who speak many different languages and bring unique experiences to the table.

5. THX

Like Pixar, THX used sonic branding to create a distinctive intro that viewers associate with the company’s media.

Since THX itself helps produce high-quality audiovisual experiences, it was particularly important for them to come up with unique branding through sound.

Even today, the THX sound is one of the most recognizable sonic brands for many Americans.

While Pixar’s sound effects are playful and lighthearted, the THX intro immediately gives off a stronger and more forceful impression.

This sound is clearly designed to recall a powerful sound system that maximizes immersion and goes beyond what consumers are used to hearing from TV or computer speakers.

 

Final Thoughts

Most marketers are already thinking about how to develop a distinctive brand, but they may not realize the crucial role that sound can play in this process.

Working on your sonic branding will give you yet another way to generate positive impressions and associations within your target audience.

At this point, you should be ready to start curating your sound profile in order to create a more cohesive brand across all forms of media.

Check out our team of corporate voice actors to start looking for a professional who matches up with your ideal brand image.

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  • Jodi K. May 5, 2022 Reply

    Thanks for this! I don’t know if you’re aware, but I have a whole podcast about this very subject (and about how sound influences our lives in general) called Audio Branding. 🙂 It’s definitely important – and something that really helps a company reach its intended audience on a deeper level. (It’s great for recognition and memory too!) A voice actor can certainly be a useful part of that sonic brand.

    • Voice Crafters May 5, 2022

      Hey Jodi, Yes I do know about the podcast! Could you please put a link to it here for our readers?

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