If you own a small business, you already know branding is incredibly important. Branding is the process of creating a perception of a product, service, or company. More importantly, branding is what makes your business distinct in the minds of your consumers. A total brand image should tell your customers what your company does, what your values are, and how they should think about your company.
Branding is accomplished primarily through visual means. Logos, website design, and even the style of writing used in all written and web communications are what most people think of when they consider branding. However, branding can also be accomplished via audio. Most audio branding is accomplished by jingles or radio advertising. But there is another aspect of audio branding that many companies miss:
The sound logo or audio logo.
What is a Sound Logo?
Sound logos are part of an overall marketing strategy called sonic branding. Sonic branding uses sound instead of or combined with visuals to evoke a particular message for a brand. A sound logo is a short sound clip, no more than a few seconds long, that can accompany a visual cue or stand in the place of a visual logo. This strengthens the recognition between the visual and the product/company because the human brain is especially in tune with audio cues. In fact, the brain has a faster reaction time to auditory stimuli than it does to visual stimuli. So, a sound logo is a powerful tool companies can use to cement their brand image into their customers’ minds.
Audio logos are also especially powerful because humans are hard-wired to have emotional responses to sound. Music or other audio cues are processed in the emotional center of the brain. This emotional hub also is responsible for memory recall. For example, a listener can hear a piece of music that makes them feel happy or sad, and they immediately recall memories associated with those emotions.
The right sound logo can evoke powerful emotions in customers that a company can use to its advantage. An expert sound designer can craft an audio logo that triggers the right emotions so that your product or service is viewed favorably by your audience.
But how is this done? Well, consider the following five examples of audio logos. These top companies use these sound logos as part of their overall sonic branding strategy, to great success.
Top 5 Famous Examples
The Netflix sound logo is one of the most recognizable sound logos of the streaming age. It’s also one of the shortest. At just two notes, the “ta-dum” sound that plays when the app loads on your device is a great example of the emotional power of sound. What do you feel when you load up Netflix and this sound plays? Are you excited about binge-watching? I know I am.
The Intel audio logo is one of the most well-known technology audio logos in history. And on its surface, it may sound simple. A five-note mnemonic, the logo lasts about three seconds. But it’s actually a multi-layered sound comprised of many instruments playing the catchy sequence of notes. You can probably hum it without playing the video above, it’s that pervasive.
THX is focused on high-quality sound, so what better way to set audience expectations than with an exciting, engaging, and loud sound logo? A full orchestral suite glissando, the logo starts soft and transitions to a mind-bogglingly loud climax. The THX logo was a staple of many cinematic experiences of the 80s, 90s, and 2000s. When you hear this logo, you know exciting things are going to happen.
T-Mobile’s melody is instantly recognizable and iconic. The bright and catchy 5-note trill is an earworm that most people can hum by heart even if they aren’t a T-Mobile customer. Combined with the bright pink T-Mobile logo, the mood and brand image they convey are clear and target modern audiences.
Sound logos aren’t just used in advertising. Audio cues of all kinds are pervasive across Apple’s product lineup. The most recognizable are the Mac startup noises as outlined in the video above. Apple does sound design very well, bringing forth a nostalgic and trustworthy image as a power player of a tech company. You can even hear examples of their expert sound design in the actions you take every day on your iPhone. From the swoosh when you send an email, to the ding-ding of a text message. These sounds are unique to Apple and instantly bring forth their brand image when heard.
How Can My Business Use an Audio Logo?
Now that you’ve listened to these examples and you know the value of an audio logo, you may be wondering how you can create one. If you aren’t an experienced sound designer or if you don’t have a strong brand image in mind, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Killerspots’ sound design and graphic design team can work together hand in hand to help you create a sound logo that will plant your business on the map. First, we can sit down with you and go over your existing visual logo to talk about its message. What colors are you using for your business? What message and mood are you trying to convey? Is your brand punchy or is it warmer and welcoming? How do you want your customers to feel when they see your visual logo and hear your audio cue?
The answers to these questions will guide our branding experts through the design and development process of your audio logo. Once we have a clear idea of your message, then the magic can happen.
And it really is magic. Check out our audio logo and one we made for master entrepreneur and CEO, Storm Bennett:
We Can Hear Your Sound Logo Now
Combined with an overall brand strategy, utilizing an audio logo for your business can set you apart from your competitors. Partner it with a killer jingle or radio campaign, and you have the perfect recipe for a brand that sticks and eventually, a loyal customer base. Get in touch with Killerspots today to find out how we can create an audio logo for your brand that will become synonymous with your business image.