How to apply music as a branding tool

So you’re a brand in need of music. A soundtrack for your next campaign on television. A series of radiospots. Or a fitting mood for your corporate movie. It doesn’t matter. Whatever your need, you’ll follow one of three scenarios.

Option one. You have zero budget. And to be honest, you don’t give a damn. But someone needs to take responsibility. And because it’s not you, it’s most likely your production agency. Choosing whatever worked last time. And you? You end up sounding like anyone else.

Option two. With a little more to spend, you engage with a creative agency. Taking comfort in outsourcing the whole thing. All about storytelling, your agency will put all efforts into making the script work. The result? A great commercial with music that fits the story. But not your brand.

Option three. Somehow, you convinced your CFO to involve a real music agency. Eventually, they’ll come up with a true soundlogo. A rigid piece of music that suits your brand. Lacking the flexiblity to underscore most of your content.

Now, I’m not saying you’ve been doing it all wrong.

These are all tactics that have worked for some time. But things have changed.

You’ve guessed it. There’s something happening in the world of audio. A revolution of sorts. Some even say we’re moving towards a screenless future. What’s going on?

First. Voice-enabled devices will soon outnumber us. That means brands need to think about how to foster recognition, without a visual logo in sight.

Second. Branded video content keeps on growing. In volume and in formats. This new landscape calls for a more flexible use of music. Moving away from the 30-second television spot.

Third. Digital audio is reaching the masses. Podcast-advertising is booming and digital radio is becoming a mass medium. For these channels, a rigid soundlogo or repetitive jingle won’t cut it anymore.

The market is calling for more and a larger variety of audio.

Your business needs to produce more quickly and in more flexible formats. At the same time increasing the recognisability of your brand. How to adapt to this new reality?

First, your brand needs to embrace a consistent sonic identity. A coherent palette. Adding a sonic chapter to your brandbook. Eliminating the need to re-invent the wheel for each campaign.

This identity needs to sit right in the heart of the business. Not with marketing, let alone outsourced to an agency. Strategy over tactics. Branding first, marketing second.

Next, your brand need to develop its own sound. Not just a three-note soundlogo. Or an annoying jingle. But your own timbre, recognisable in an instant. Flexible in use, applicable for any format.

The time is now for your brand to apply music as a branding tool. Building a series of salient sonic assets. Do it for your audience: they’ll thank you later.