What Is Audio Branding? (Process, Cost & Best Examples)

In this article with me are Gabriel and Mauro from Drop Music Branding, a specialized audio branding agency that builds emotional connections between brands and their audiences by creating unique and effective audio identities.

I really believe that this is a wide-open space and one that will become increasingly important in the coming years. Meaning it’s a great opportunity to explore this world, which is exactly what we’re going to do in this article. We’re going to discuss

What audio branding is and why it’s increasingly important.

The difference between Sonic and audio branding

That distinct audio branding, assets, and environments they’re used in.

How the audio branding process works, (how professional brand builders can offer this service as an agency).

So if you want to stay ahead of the branding game and explore the world of audio branding and stick around for this article.

What Is Audio Branding? (The Podcast with Drop Music Branding)

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Sonic Branding vs Audio Branding

Stephen Houraghan

So let’s get educated a bit. First of all, is it audio branding or is it Sonic branding?

Drop Music Branding (Summarized)

They’re kind of the same, you know, we actually did an Eastern ground post about it, like addressing the elephant in the room because we didn’t know how to call what we did.

We found out that, that it’s like a theory, definition sound Sonic is like every sound.

There is an audio of every sound that has been recorded.

Electronically or like, you know, with electricity and rapid replayed. What’s the difference? Is it sound from your body, from nature or is it sound from the speaker? So it kind of it’s the same. 

The only way it would be Sonic branding and not audio branding is if I say a name of a brand and you listen to me. Like the people in the street, you know, and selling, I don’t know, yelling, you know, that would be maybe that’s how we evolve. 

Sonic branding or audio branding is the evolution of shingles and advertisement through sound.

We coined it. I love to think about that we coined like a definition of audio branding. We call it on your brand. 

First of all, to answer your question, we found out that 

Sonic branding is more used on a corporation level, like B2B 

Audio branding is like a more casual, casual way to refer to our specialty. It’s kind of the same.

So that is the answer.  Short answer would be.

We are still defining it. Maybe that is the same. 

What Is Audio Branding?

Stephen Houraghan

I’m going to call it audio branding and let’s push on with audio branding as, as the, uh, the main discipline as we go through.

So tell me exactly what your definition is of audio branding?

Drop Music Branding (summarized)

I consider audio branding the brand expressions through sound, the design of the brand expressions through sound. I found it like it’s the parallel of visual branding needs just another medium. So that’s our definition.

With that definition, if you know, and you have a branding background, you immediately understand why is it important? Why it’s brand expressions could be communications. I’m not saying just communications because communications have like one message, but it could be a sound icon. You know, everything that goes through sound.

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How Audio Branding Has Evolved

Stephen Houraghan

I think because I speak a lot about brand associations and brand perception and essentially what we are trying to do with a brand is: 

Create a perception in the marketplace.

What we mean, and we do that through associations and these associations can evoke different kinds of emotions and how all your branding might tie in with that is creating audio sounds that align with the associations and the attributes that your brand has as a perception in the marketplace. 

So it’s just another extension of brand expression and creating those associations that create that memorability. So I definitely see it as this evolving field and in the commercial. You know, in the coming years, it’s, you know, we’re going to learn a lot more about it.

We’re going to hear a lot more about it. I saw that same article that Gary Vee wrote about the rise of audio branding and the way search is coming in and the world is changing and we’re going to rely more and more on that. So I definitely see this as an evolution of worth at  the very starting point.

Drop Music Branding (summarized)

It is really funny because what you’re saying associated with sounds with the brand. It’s not just music, but even the way the wave shapes of sound, you can relate to them. Like when you open a, can you immediately know the sound that it’s going to do. 

So you associate that actual sound because the feedback and interaction of that action and it stays on your memory for forever. 

And I bet I’m a hundred percent sure you are going to tell me that you remember and advertisement that jingle from your youth. It’s sticks in your memory like chewing gum.

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9 Most Memorable Audio Branding Examples

Stephen Houraghan

I think this is a good time to talk about some examples here, right? Because we’re, making some assumptions that everybody has a general idea of what all your branding is, but I’m guessing there are a couple of people gone put, what is it? Tell me what it is. 

So. Let’s have a few examples of audio branding so that we can all relate.

Drop Music Branding (Summarized)

Let’s have a few examples of audio branding so that we can all relate.

We can all relate to these examples that’s why you can forget about that era sound because that’s ingrained that is ingrained and evokes all kinds of frustrating emotions. If you’re an Apple because of that sound. Absolutely. That’s why I went the other way, so it works both ways. 

All of those sounds, it just goes to show that, you know, they get imprinted, they get imprinted on your brain.

The Power Of Audio Logos 

Stephen Houraghan

What I noticed about the audio logos. The difference there would be it’s a very, very short sound. It’s not like the 20th century Fox where it’s an introduction or the Disney music, which is an introduction. It’s more a tiny snippet and what I really like about those is how simple they are and how short. 

And again, it’s all about that uniqueness, so we can relate that to logos to visual logos but it just goes to show how powerful they really are.

Drop Music Branding (Summarized)

The whole purpose of audio branding is to strengthen and support the message of this, the communication, you know, so things evolve, communications, evolve, different formats of communication.

So if you’re in the movies, like the 80’s, 90’s, or early 2000 you heard a lot of audio logos, but there were like 15 or 10 maybe in which they’re harnessing the power of the theater. Now you’re listening to them through your phone and you need to make them clean as a whistle, like a super characteristic melody, so evolve and we need to evolve with it.

We found ourselves in a world of branding with where everybody comes from, a visual experience. So we understood that we needed to develop a system of audio branding assets. We call them audio assets and develop in the same way everybody develops and visual identity. So we understood that a brand needs certain amounts of assets, audio logos. 

It’s a short snippet, no more than six seconds, called an Audio signature.

You’re not just looking at something from the outside, but the music is all around and what we do is we use that lame motif, that audio logo and develop it through the different assets which cover a different audio twice of a brand, you know, developing these audio, audio signature, and you’re listening to that throughout all the brand touchpoints.

That’s when the music sticks in your brain and you associate that brand with that melody, and you don’t even need to look at the communication every time you listen to that.

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The Audio Branding Process Breakdown 

Stephen Houraghan

So break down the process for me a little bit, the audio branding process, what process do you go through to define the audio branding for client?

Drop Music Branding (Summarized)

How’d you brand the process? Specialists ourselves, we do everything tailor-made because we are against libraries. We’re not against it, but our business depends on not doing library stuff. Everything must be unique. So what we generally do is we try to make this process the most similar to parenting we can because we are usually working side-by-side with branding agencies that come from a visual background. So what we do is:

First we have a workshop or a research phase about the market, about the brand, how it’s perceived, if there’s something we usually land on. 

Second phase after brands tend to do a rebranding then do the visual branding

Then we come in. 

So there’s generally a brand book. We do the research, we do workshop with people from the brand, how they learn the vision, once we get all our questions and the profile of where we want to go, how we want to communicate. 

We start working on what we call Sonic DNA, which is like maybe two options, three at the most of music pieces that we consider, they have enough for the client or the agencies to understand what, where are we going to go?

So everybody agrees upon the creative direction of the process. The project we’re like open factory as to doing it, audio logo, brand song, social media library, IVR music.

Also, there are some very big asset brand voices. You know how we are talking? Who is the brand or is it mainly female? Is it young? Is it the old guy everything needs to be considered, because of psychology and strategy be jammed behind it. It’s our job of translating to our customers and they tell us we need to be bolder. 

Examples Of Audio Branding Assets & Environments

Stephen Houraghan

So break down a couple of examples. we’ve spoken already about the audio logo and we’ve spoken already about the branding or the brand song. 

Can you give me a breakdown or can you give, give our listeners a breakdown of the branding assets and the typical environments that you would use those assets in?

Drop Music Branding (Summarized)

Audio level, of course, it’s going to be everywhere and brand voice is basically the music that needs to represent the brand in all touchpoints from internal communications, external communications, social branding. It needs to be flexible and represent the core values of a brand.

Then we have the brand voice, the voice talent that is going to be the brand of communications. 

We also map with social media library, which are versions of different versions of the brand song, but it’s specifically designed to evoke certain emotions. For example, you cover a brand or you are going to be talking about technology.

But You’re going to specifically talk about technology and the internet. So we’re going to do something that connects people that are different from your brand voice, or maybe you have like, we’re doing a bank right now. 

That’s when you have a strong identity. We always say that the audio logo is like the centerpiece and everything kind of comes out from that. And we have to make it flexible or it has to be composed in a way that you can afterwards make versions and versions.

The thing with modern brands today, they have so many touchpoints, brands can have upwards of a hundred touchpoints and when you come into the product world in the technology world where you expand even more, but even the user experience throughout a website or, the videos that they use throughout the website or on YouTube.

These are all places that we kind of expect a little bit of intro music a little bit, just to kind of pull our attention away and to break things up. I could definitely see space for that in providing clients with those kinds of flexible assets.

The bank needs to be positive because it’s a development bank and they want to be the hope of the people, especially coming from these couple of hard years. So it’s a very happy song. Central American percussion, positive, energetic, but when they go on YouTube, they need to talk about COVID.

What we do is take this lead motive and this audio logo and this audio signature and go through a process of restyling, the music replaying the music on different instruments. 

For example, a piano, which is generally a much more emotional instrument. That’s how we adapt and having the consistency of playing the same melody on different communications.

How To Offer Audio Branding Services

Stephen Houraghan

I see it as, as an opportunity and, and where, where audio is not used strategically, it’s just a missed opportunity because these are all tools, even when it comes to the brand strategy, you know a brand personality, a tangible personality, and being strategic about putting that personality out there.

Again, this is just another tool failure to do. That is a missed opportunity. And I see audio branding as the same way. 

So you guys typically work with agencies or other branding professionals or brand strategists who are creating brands for their clients?

Drop Music Branding (Summarized)

We are three partners and we want to remain three partners because everything we do is tailor-made and we want to craft this creative control over the projects that we do. So when I started analyzing. We should do business. We topped with some big branding, audio branding agencies, like massive music from different countries.

And I realized that they were going to the direct client, which is great, but. We don’t have that structure.

So what we did is aim to be partners with different branding agencies that don’t have an in-house audio branding, specialized team.

Right. Which is great for us because we can do what we love. I think it has audio branding specialists that are a little bit down the track.

But I definitely think that will be integrated into bigger businesses, you know within a few years. A lot of our listeners are branding professionals, they develop brands for their clients. If they wanted to. 

Add audio branding to their capabilities on their website, to be able to provide that to their clients as an add on service or as part of their packages.

Get In Touch With Drop Music Branding

Stephen Houraghan

So if somebody wanted to get in touch with you guys, if they had this idea that they wanted to expand their service offering and offer that as an add on to what they do already, 

How can they get in touch with?

Drop Music Branding (Summarized)

You can contact us @dropmusicbranding at any platform, or email us at [email protected]

We’re always available for a chat. 

We love what we do and we’re  always up for a challenge.

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