What is the sound of your brand?
Brandmusiq Co-Founder Rajeev Raja and CEO Ajit Varma decode sonic branding and how the ad world is embracing the concept
If the whole world were blind how would your brand be recognized? The tagline on Brandmusiq’s website sums up the essence of sonic branding.
The sonic branding company’s Co-Founder Rajeev Raja further explains, “Humans created the first sounds mimicking nature, to create the seven musical notes through the human voice or to create the very first flute instrument, inspired by the chirping of the birds or sounds of thunder, that being the primal instinct of mankind.”
“Taking it one step ahead, brands have always understood that very primal instinct. First radio was predominant and brands started saying that why don’t we send our message with a song. So initially, in radio, the concept of jingles came into being. It is about the communication of a brand’s message but delivered in the form of a song that becomes catchy and popular and becomes a de-facto kind of a brand identity."
Talking about the shift to sonic branding, Raja says, “Now music has been regarded as an enhancer and an identifier for a brand. It is more subtle and persuasive rather than banking on the audience to hear a jingle like the visual identity. So, just as a visual identity is consistent across touch points, sonic identity is consistent at ear points."
He adds, “Music has a certain science and brands have a certain personality, and this is the co-relation that sonic branding represents."
To stress on the point, Raja, trained in Carnatic music and Jazz, plays a piece on the flute for me with my eyes closed to see what I experience in terms of imagery. It is a piece in Raga Hamsadhvani and the images I see are of classical dancers invocating the Lord Ganesha.
"What you saw was by design and not by accident. Everyone we have played this tune for saw classical dancers, nature and experienced similar feelings. So if we try to associate this piece of music, which brand it could be... some aromatic brand, a perfume or an Agarbatti or herbal brand or say Kerela Tourism," he says.
Raja explains that the current advertising scenario is ripe for sonic branding.
“Consumers, especially millennials, watch all their content on smartphones, then comes short attention span 3-sec advertising and third the fragmented media and access to the entire digital ecosystem of apps, digital content and alert notifications. All these have created opportunities for sonic branding, and Brandmusiq has been doing it for last 8 years,” he says.
“So if you look at Cannes the biggest conversation has been on the representation of audio-first world where Alexa, Google, all smart speakers, Pandora, Spotify, Jio Saavn and all your screening channels are now opportunities for brands to be heard and not necessarily seen.”
Citing an example, Raja says, “Brands have a certain DNA and personality. If you take the brand Coke, there are certain softer feelings that the brand represents and a personality that is similar to a human being. So we need to understand the culture in which the brand is operating in, the competition it faces if the competition is using audio for communication, so we match the personality of the brand with its expression in sound."
He further explains Brandmusiq’s process of creating a musical logo or MOGO.
“It is the sonic essence of a brand in musical terms and evokes its core values, emotions and persona. So before we start we need to understand the brand, what is called the ‘Brand Discovery Phase’,” he says. “Second is creating the ‘Sonic Mood Board’, where we leap from paper to music to create the sketches of sounds to help clients identify the zone of their brand’s sound that we want to leave on the consumer's hearts and the minds. The third stage is to create the MOGOSCAPE presentation that is the sonic the palette of the brand embedded within which is the MOGO.”
Ajit Varma, CEO, Brandmusiq, adds, “We are working with a tool to create a brand asset. As per the current data, e-commerce voice led activation is going to be a 40 billion business in 3 years’ time. If a brand does not have a sonic identity of a voice, the asset will be absent in the whole commercial interaction because one can’t see anything — no graphics, no picture, no visuals."
Brandmusiq has executed a number of sonic branding assignments for brands including, Zee News, Vistara, Taj Mahal Tea, Standard Chartered Bank, (Global), TATA salt, Raymonds, IndusInd Bank, Reliance Petroleum, Myntra to name a few.
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