When it comes to audio branding, the most effective yet challenging task is creating the brand’s audio DNA, the distinctive vocabulary of sounds that inform all of its many applications.

An audio branding system can underscore the attributes expressed by your visual branding system or complement those attributes, providing further meaning.

Like anything else, audio branding comes with its own set of dos and don’ts to be aware of before setting out to create your own audio identity. Listed below are three steps to ensure your audio branding success:

  1. Begin from within. Much as a geneticist does, the process of defining your brand’s DNA requires a willingness to probe its structure and tease out those distinguishing qualities and identifiers making it unique. In partnership with your audio branding strategist, you will answer a number of key questions. What does the brand stand for? How does your brand differentiate itself in ways that are interesting to your customers? How are your competitors differentiating themselves? What sounds characterize them? The better the combined team is able to answer these questions at the outset, the more your brand’s resulting audio identity will ring true with your customers and set you apart from your competitors.
  1. Identify your brand’s touchpoints so each serves to enhance customer relationships. A brand’s touchpoints aren’t limited to advertising. Nor are touchpoints the domain of business-to-consumer marketing alone. In fact, business-to-business brands have dozens of opportunities to use audio branding to tell their story: logo animation,  the sound your app makes when a customer opens it on her Smartphone, the chime ringing when she enters your offices, the hold music she hears when she’s on the phone with customer service. Audio branding touchpoints are present at the ATM, walking the carpet of an exposition, or in the intro and outro of a YouTube or instructional video. They can occur as a credit card is swiped at the gas pump, a QR code is scanned from a flyer or a key is turned in the ignition.
  1. Make it cohesive. Once you’ve identified your brand’s touchpoints and have created its unique audio DNA and logo, it’s time to get your team on board. Audio branding allows for a more disciplined and efficient approach to sound.  With an established brand identity, groups accustomed to making or guiding music choices now have a powerful go-to resource. Armed with this audio identity system, your teams will stand positioned to underscore the role of the brand in their customers’ lives, no matter where those customers are located.

There are a few don’ts in audio branding to be mindful of as well:

  1. Don’t forget that impact without meaning can be distracting and counter-productive. You’re striving to connect your audience with your brand at a profound level, not fill space.
  2. Don’t choose a piece of music because you like it. Instead ask, “What does this music say about me or my brand?”
  3. Don’t repeat the same music mindlessly; always adapt it to the context of the message.
  4. Don’t neglect a measurement mechanism. The most effective measurement will help provide the answers to the question, “Is the brand conveying its specific values better than before?”
  5. Don’t confuse audio branding with entertainment. It’s a language. It has a job to do and that job is brand enhancement.

The process of audio branding is not something that can be completed overnight. Take the time to determine what your brand stands for – the experience it evokes and ensure the identity is communicated at every possible touch point and is part and parcel of your team’s comprehensive marketing strategy.