Case Study:

the big picture

As a visionary brand that anticipates the future for people and society, Lexus understands the powerful role sound plays in the customer experience.

Innovation is in their DNA. From the moment the brand launched in 1989, Lexus redefined luxury car ownership, challenged dealership norms and customer perceptions and delivered unparalleled product and service.

In 2021, Lexus set their sights on their next transformational brand moment, one that uses sound and music to connect with luxury car buyers in innovative and exciting ways. Lexus teamed up with Made Music Studio to design a strategically crafted sonic identity, research-backed to improve emotional connections at every brand touchpoint. Together we created a sound that opens the door to a new era of driving experiences, one that connects the confidence of expert craftsmanship with the thrill of cutting-edge technology.

This sonic signature will create a unique audio association for Lexus with our consumers.

– Vinay Shahani, Chief Marketing Officer, Lexus

the challenge

As a brand known for putting guests at the center of everything they imagine, create and do, Lexus looked to enhance its brand strategy to build relevance, attribution, and emotional resonance with its growing Gen Y audience.

Lexus introduced a number of new partnerships, platforms, and ways to inspire a generation that is embracing the spirit of innovation. Part of the new phase of Lexus was an enhanced, audio-forward marketing strategy for a younger, more diverse audience.

Lexus needed a distinct sonic brand asset that:

• Could be flexible enough to meet Gen Y everywhere their journey might take them: from traditional advertising, to music streaming, to sound-on social platforms
• Captured both the soul of Lexus and its dedication to excellent craftsmanship
• Served as a warm invitation into a new era of luxury car experiences

the approach

Our goal was to design sound the way Lexus engineers their vehicles: to stir a range of emotions and curate a distinct luxury experience for every driver. For some, the feeling is pure exhilaration, driven by our innovation and engineering. For others, it’s a feeling of sheer comfort created by Lexus’ craftsmanship and unparalleled design. To capture those emotions, our music needed to be expressive and expansive.

We took inspiration from two words that are core to the Lexus brand:

• Takumi Craft: The Japanese word for “artisan,” signifying that every musical element is crafted with precision.

• Omotenashi 2.0: A portmanteau that blends the word omote (meaning “public face, or an image you wish to present to outsiders) with nashi (meaning “nothing”). When combined, the complete word means every service is from the bottom of the heart – honest, no hiding, no pretending.

The Lexus sonic logo, affectionately named The Open Door, brings together these two elements to express the highest level of luxury and hospitality through unique, organic instrumentation and breath. Take a listen:

Initially you hear the iconic sound of a Lexus vehicle’s door, followed by a swell of bright notes and a vocal flourish. The Open Door is a warm welcome into the Lexus experience, one of next-level luxury and the confidence in solid and innovative craftsmanship.

the results

The Lexus sonic logo stirs emotion and increases desirability in the listener. It is quantifiably proven to increase emotional appeal along the customer journey, from advertising, social content, to dealerships and brand events.

After less than a year in market, the Lexus sonic identity is the #1 performer amongst some of the world’s most recognizable sonic logos, as measured by Sentient Decision Science. The logo has also demonstrated notable lifts in recall and brand association:

• Outperforming 97% of sonic logos in market, including Nissan, Netflix and T-Mobile
• Brand Attribution – 1 in 14 Americans can attribute the Lexus sonic logo to the brand
• 59% of listeners are able to recall hearing the sonic logo after first exposure

The new sound of Lexus sets a clear and bold direction for the future with a musicality that speaks to the drivers and dreamers of tomorrow.

creative team

Amy Crawford – Executive Music Producer
Brian Scherman – Executive Music Producer
Casey Trela – Music Co-Producer
Josh Getman – Music Co-Producer
Alexandre Cote-Sergent – Composer + Music Co-Producer
Evan Marien – Composer + Music Co-Producer
Justine Ryan – SVP, Managing Director
Chihiro Shibayama – Account Executive
Joel Beckerman – Founder + Executive Creative Director
Lauren McGuire – President

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