Is Sonic Branding A Dying Art??

Remember the days of listening to All India Radio? The times when watching TV meant waiting for Chitrahaar during the weekdays and the mega-entertainment bonanza on Sundays topped of with a Movie in the evening? An era when Print (Newspapers & Magazines) ruled roost and amongst the lesser mortals there was radio, billboards, bus queue shelters and in-cinema; television was a fledgling.  Radio jingles were the order of the day and as television took off some of the earlier TV spots took a similar approach.

As available media choices increased with the C&S boom and further with the advent of digital media the role of radio advertising diminished and the “sound of the brand” became a matter of detail.

Often, creative thinking as far as brands and advertising are concerned, is skewed towards the visual manifestation typography, colour pallete, tonality,images etc etc. Days and months are spent on getting it right over lengthy on-brand off-brand debates.

Simple question: If brands are like people and each one carves its unique identity. Isn’t our voice as much a part of our identity as are our physicality, handwriting etcetera?

There are no pre-defined mandatories as far as creating or building a brand are concerned. Organisations spend millions of dollars in creating, propagating and sustaining the “Brand Identity”. There are few brands however, that have invested time and effort in creating their audio signatures and fewer still who have maintained them zealously.Image

With the world becoming a smaller place and brands having to create mind-space across cultures and geographies one would reckon an Audio identity is a must. Forget music, how many brands get pronounced they way they want their brand names ought to be?

Music is widely agreed to be a universal language with commonly practiced protocols.

Sound has the power of conveying emotion in a manner the is most widely understood. Sound leaves a deeper and longer lasting impression on the human mind.

Unlike visuals sound need not necessarily be in the foreground or in the primary attention space for it to have an effect.

The author does not deny that music is widely and wisely being used in campaigns, the fear or concern however is that it is being limited to campaigns.

Brands that create a broader footprint with their identities shall prevail and sustain in the mind-space longer and stronger.

The beauty of an aural mnemonic is that once established it is embedded in the visual, we don’t need to hear the sound every time. Most of us sub-consciously hear “Ting ting ti din” every time we see the Britania logo or for that matter when we see the Intel logo we hear it too!

Listed below in no particular order are the best examples of Sonic branding from an India perspective according to me. Not necessarily all were created in India. The reason I mention them is that for all these brands their signature tunes/songs/sounds have remained integral to their communication over the years and have evolved with the brand. Check them out!

1) Britania: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxOpS7EIBi0
2) Nescafe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSr_fr26bBc
3) Airtel:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCUO2SaJK3M
4) Tata DoCoMo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_HEKttPELI
5) ICICI Bank: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msfW-C_zm28
6) Kingfisher: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsM-G3A6XR0

Other honourable mentions will be for Doordarshan and All India Radio, today the FM radio brands carry the flag with their stationality.

The above is just a top of mind, if you are reading this and can come up with more such examples of brands that have consistently used sonic branding do post a comment.

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