Your Guide to Sonic Branding: 11 Must-Read Articles to Get Started

Marketers know by now that sonic branding is a must-have for any complete brand ecosystem.

We are living in an increasingly audio-first environment, where consumers — especially Gen Z — are spending more time on channels like TikTok, mobile apps, and streaming. And where there’s a shift in consumer behavior, modern brands are following suit with strategically crafted audio assets that can span every sound-on touchpoint.

Furthermore, research by Sentient Decision Science shows that there is an 86% correlation between our subconscious emotional response to a sound and our conscious desire to engage with or avoid an experience. This means that audio is making an impact on consumer behavior, whether brands are conscious of it or not!

With so many sound insights to take in, we know it can be challenging to get started. We’re here to help with a roundup of recommended reading on everything from boosting KPIs to creating a catchy sonic logo.

Below you’ll find our top 11 articles to read if you’re ready to start your sonic branding journey.

Illustration of an audio consumer in profile for Fast Company


Is Your Brand On Mute? Why the World’s Biggest Companies Are Investing Millions in Sound – Fast Company

After only three years in market, AT&T’s iconic sonic logo became the telecoms company’s second most identifiable brand asset. They were an early adopter, but it isn’t too late for other brands to join the Audio Renaissance.

Fast Company provides the ultimate primer on why global brands from American Express to General Mills are embracing sonic branding to meet customers where they are. And with new research methods and tools designed for scalability, marketers have many more options for de-risking their investments.


How Panera incorporated sound into its brand refresh – Marketing Brew

When quick-service restaurant Panera Bread embarked on a holistic brand refresh, they saw an opportunity to not just introduce a new visual identity, but their first sonic identity as well. They partnered with sonic branding agency Made Music Studio to create a sound that reflected the joy of enjoying a delicious meal at their bakery-cafes. The resulting sonic logo sparks an immediate emotional association between Panera and their brand experience. Research company Sentient Decision Science has found notable lifts in emotional appeal because of the audio addition.


The Need To Be Heard: Why Sonic Branding Is Growing In Importance – Forbes

It’s no secret that sonic branding is a must-have for modern brands looking to boost KPIs. “Every brand wants to improve recall, attribution, and appeal,” says Made Music Studio’s John Taite (EVP, Global Brand Partnerships + Development). “We design their audio expression to stimulate specific emotional reactions.”

But why is sonic branding so effective? This interview in Forbes details what is pushing marketers to be more strategic about their use of music and sound, from consumer trends to new research capabilities.

Kate McKinnon and Dan Levy hold a bag of Tostitos


More than a crunch: How a 1.5 second tune changed the Tostitos brand – Marketing Dive

Tostitos needed a sonic identity that could capture their value of togetherness, while still capturing the fun of their unique range of products. They collaborated with sonic branding agency Made Music Studio to create their “inevitable” sound, composed entirely of Tostitos chips and dips. After only a year in market, audio intelligence company Veritonic measured a 38% increase in brand recall for the Frito-Lay brand after implementation of the sonic logo.

Get a download on the Tostitos sonic branding success story in this article featuring the experts who made it happen.


Original brand songs are the jingles of the TikTok era – Campaign US

Brands who are leaning into sound are winning on TikTok, and it’s easy to see why. TikTok is the premiere audio-first platform, and the key to reaching younger audiences whose media habits are driving culture. And with 75% of Gen Z consumers saying that music makes them feel more connected to a brand, marketers can’t miss the opportunity to meet listeners where they are. Music-forward campaigns from Pizza Hut, Tostitos, and 7-Eleven have all found success with jingles, artist partnerships, and more.


Oh, snap! Did we just create the world’s first collaborative sonic brand? – Atlassian: Work Life

Atlassian’s Eli Mishkin (Brand Strategy Lead) describes a sonic brand as an “audio North Star,” a way to a B2B SaaS company to create an emotionally resonant audio expression for their array of products. Through a combination of data, creativity, and strategy, Atlassian landed on a sonic identity that captures the sound of collaboration. This article will take you through the step-by-step process of Atlassian’s sonic branding journey, from kickoff to launch.


‘Liberty, Liberty, Liiiberty… Liiiberty!’: Anatomy of a sonic logo – Marketing Dive

The best sonic logos are unique, memorable, and representative of a brand’s essence and values. McDonald’s “ba da ba ba ba” is designed to be recognizable to a global audience. Liberty Mutual’s sonic expression is full of humor and repetition. HBO’s Feature Presentation sound elevates the experience of watching television.

This article is deep dive into some of the brands who are doing it well, authored by a music producer with experience creating sonic assets for some of the world’s biggest brands.

Illustration of a megaphone coming out of a smartphone in Ad Age


How Brands Are Using Sonic Branding Beyond Ads – Ad Age

Sonic branding isn’t just for traditional advertising. With customer touchpoints now including in-person experiences, sound-on social media, and mobile apps, it’s more important than ever for brands to look beyond the television ad.

“It’s becoming more and more difficult for brands not only to stand out and break through some of the crowd,” shares Lexus’ Mia Philips (Senior Manager, Advertising and Media), “but also to be recognized.”

Hear directly from the marketing experts at Lexus, PepsiCo, and Panera Bread on the opportunity for audio to span an entire brand ecosystem.


How Brands Win With Emotional Intelligence and Sound – Branding Mag

Consumer expectations are changing. Burgeoned by the effects of the pandemic, audiences are seeking authentic interactions with the brands that they love. Smart marketers are keeping up by being adaptable, self-aware, and adopting brand strategies that demonstrate emotional intelligence.

One scientifically-proven way to quickly communicate brand values and authenticity is through music and sound. In fact, a study by research company Ipsos showed that ads that incorporate a sonic logo increased branded attention by 8.5x, which means that sonic branding is one of the best ways to make an emotional impact on consumers across touchpoints.


Why You Should Be Thinking About Sonic Branding in 2023 – Inc.

We all know Netflix’s “Ta-dum” or Intel’s startup sound. That’s because just like visual logos and brand names, sonic branding has been shown to be an effective memory trigger, and to build deep emotional connections with consumers.

In this article, Darpan Munjal (CEO of brand naming agency Squadhelp) describes the use of music and sound as the next frontier for branding. He emphasizes that a strategic and consistent application of sonic assets is key to standing out in a world cluttered with new products, voice assistants, and advertising channels.


Danielle Venne: How to Design Sound for a Brand – The Creative Factor

You might be surprised to learn that sonic branding doesn’t start with music. It begins with a deep understanding of a brand, its audience, and the cultural ecosystem it lives in.

Executive Creative Director Danielle Venne knows this process well, and has created sonic assets for brands including Nissan and Roomba. She gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at how brand sounds are created, how a sonic branding agency works with clients, and how a musical background contributes to great creative.

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