Have you ever been to restaurant, where you had the feeling that the music was wrong? A couple of years ago i had a funny experience, that a couple of guests we had invited for some lectures in multisensorial branding. Both came back from the same restaurant and declared independently, that “the food was great, but he music was wrong.”
Why did both of them get this impression? To give you an explanation of want went wrong, i will try to describe the restaurant and its environment. The restaurant is situated in a small castle, from 1886. The interior decoration is historic and matches the age of the building and the china, glasses, the cutlery, and the uniforms of the staff matched the dishes and the wine. After being seated and the waitress had taken your orders, you suddenly realized that something is wrong. Something that breaks your illusion, something that leads you to feel that the authenticity is broken and you stand with one leg in 1886 and the other and 1980. The branding and aesthetics of the historic environment were not complete. The music were not curated to match the historic setting. This incident, that two branding experts, independent of each other, have the same experience shows that you cannot fool your clients. Every single element in your client experience must be well considered, not only the location, the decoration, and the food, but certainly also the sound.“You only have one chance to make a first impression”
If you do not get a first experience the first time in a restaurant, – there are plenty of other restaurants around the corner. Music is important in a restaurant, hotel lobby, and bar, not only to create the “atmosphere” in relation to the brand in general but also to give your guest a feeling of safety. Imagine this… two friends, girls in their mid 30’s arrive, ready to order a good lunch, to have time to speak confidentially together. They are the first guest of the day. They come to your restaurant of many other reasons than the food and your good service. In this case the girls needed to speak about things they couldn’t talk about at home. But when they enter your place it is completely silent, you can even hear a needle fall to the ground. The silence hits the girls as a shock, now every person in the room can hear what they talk about.
Music also has a social function it is acts like a screen, to help to keep your conversation private. The music, even when played when played very loud, creates a room between guests at the different tables. When the music is on your guest will feel safe to discuss the private matters.
You can close your eyes, but you can not close you ears
Creativity in branding is as important as ever, we talk about embracing change, about innovation and about long term strategies. Every branding and marketing expert say that branding is all about long term strategy, that content is more important than the platform or channel. This is the paradigm shift in branding in response to intense competition. Instead of being everywhere and doing everything, brands need to plan what to do, how to do it and where.
Branded content provides consistency that gathers associations and feelings around the brand.
Regardless of the channel mix used, what keywords or brand language you use, the design guides you maintain or the PR, marketing and branding strategy you have, it shapes and consolidates the brand. Of course, the products and services that are branded are central to this; however, with all the focus on PR, communication channels and especially visual design, not many brands pay attention to the identity, when it comes to sound and music. Yes, sound and music may not be directly applicable to all products and services, but it is required in certain communication channels, e.g. involving video marketing, telephone systems, events, TV and Radio communication. This leaves us with a question.
Why not consider sound branding? Every brand that needs all edges possible to be distinctive in hard markets needs sound for touch point communication.
One reason may be that whenever new sound or music is needed companies think of accessing the source to limit costs. This is a basic principle of supply – the fewer steps from the source the less provision. However, sound and music is ‘raw material’ that needs prospecting and manufacturing to fit its purpose. If your brand needs custom front office furniture then buying wood in a forest or contacting a lumberjack may not be enough, the same applies to sound and music – there is the source and the people who produce, but you may want a specialist to craft the grand effect you need.
Using unique sound and music, specifically designed for the brand, is still a new level of design, while logos and design guides are used by all brands.
Using sound and music as tools to develop Brand Identity has been done on TV, Radio and Films for decades, but it seems to be a huge hurdle to make the transition from traditional media into audio visual brand identity. Sound design and music specifically designed for the brand identity is still a new level that needs to be applied.
Why sound branding is an opportunity to gain branding advantage?
Universities pump out multimedia designers, the plenty who work witch marketing focus on visual design an logos, which are the established side of branding. Most of the students and designers come closest to music by adjusting royalty free music, bought licence tracks or voiceovers to their videos and animations. It is still a rare case where custom sound is designed, maybe with the exception of the entertainment, tv, film and gaming industry. Sound branding is even less often done with a strategy. The point is that it of course takes a marketing expert and a graphic design artist to brand visually and not just a good artist. The same goes for producing sound for branding. The present situation is that sound design and production is still an experiment at marketing and design universities, and when it comes to music, the students are not thought about marketing, but about art. As a result, sound branding is still a rare opportunity for most brands.
Contact Soundbranding now to seize your branding advantage opportunity now!
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, Birgitte Rode, CEO