Brands and companies are constantly publishing content to an increasing number of channels. Many of those are digital, placing new demands on corporate communication toolboxes. Strong sound identities are expected to become significant competitive parameters in the communication of the future.
Companies are communicating through owned channels like never before. The pursuit of content that adds value is spreading fast, and terms like ‘content marketing’, ‘real-time marketing’ and ‘branded content’ take up space in articles and at seminars. Businesses are beginning to understand the importance of producing content that gets viewed, read, shared, and ultimately converts customers and sales. The challenge is to maintain a high level of quality in a time where rapid response and execution is crucial. Michal Kalinowski, CEO at Chimney, believes that sound design is an important component in creating consistent communication:
“People are naturally attracted to beauty. We are drawn to great music as well as beautiful architecture, art and gastronomy. It’s a strong identity marker for who you are and what you stand for. A sound identity allows companies to establish recognition across channels – but also to stand out in a cluttered media landscape. Sound can accentuate a message and trigger the right emotions, whether one wishes to come across as stable, responsive, innovative, dynamic, or something completely different.”
A good sound identity supports the company’s desired image and business objectives and ensures that all audiovisual communication is in sync with the company’s values and positioning. This may sound abstract, but according to Karsten Kjems, Chief Audio Visual Strategist at Chimney, it’s a very natural evolution:
“Sound can be incredibly powerful. The more of your senses that are being pointed in the same direction at the same time, the stronger you’ll perceive the message. We know this from movies and TV, but for a long time, sound has been neglected as a corporate communication tool. Most brands are well aware of the value of a consistent visual identity – such as using the same color, logo and font in all communication. Now is the time for sound. Not more but bettersound. If the sound does not add value it’s just noise, which has no positive business impact.”
The effects of this better sound is backed by Eva Fog Bruun, Head of Brand Strategy at Velux, who expands on the topic:
“Having our own sound identity means that we can concentrate on the content – the plot of a commercial, for instance. It also means that we no longer need to spend time on finding and paying for music that could never represent us nearly as accurately as our own sound. It is tremendously effective that we are always guaranteed to sound and look like Velux.”
Velux has a flexible library of different variations of their core sound identity, which can be used in all internal and external communications. However, Velux is not alone in having discovered the benefits of a customized sound design. International market giants like Apple, Coca Cola and Mcdonald’s have been reaping them for years.
Karsten Kjems sees it as a matter of course that the brands of the future will have a sound identity – and as a necessity for achieving at strong market positioning.
“With the media evolution from print to digital follows an evolution from illustrations and jingles to motion pictures and full sound identities. In my opinion, the audio identity is the new corporate website: Once the ball gets rolling, everyone wants one, but the first-movers are the ones who truly get ahead,“ Kjems concludes.
What is a sound identity?
A sound identity is a consistent development of a unique auditory identity for a company or brand. In line with visual identities, the auditory elements are deduced from the company’s values and positioning. The goal is to create a consistent identity with a strong recognition value.
The key design elements of a sound identity are: Sound brand elements, sound logo, interaction sounds, navigation sounds, music for web videos and commercials, sounds for product and case presentations, etc.
Should my company get a sound identity?
The sound of your computer starting up. Or the one boding that your train is delayed for some reason. The tune that makes you crave a McFeast. Or fills the gaps during the count down for a chat with “the next available representative”.
These are examples of sounds that you recognize quickly and instinctively as you go about your everyday life. A sound identity is all of the above and much more.