• Transform magazine
  • June 22, 2024

Top

Tiny sounds, massive impact: The power of sonic branding

Laura Woźniak Senior Project Manager

Laura Woźniak, senior project manager, EMEA at MassiveMusic, discusses the power offered by sonic branding, and explains how brands can use audio cues to make a lasting impact.

We are surrounded by a vast amount of information these days. People are exposed to as many as 8,000 advertisements every day, yet our attention spans are now shorter than a goldfish’s. So how does a brand grab consumer attention in this cluttered landscape? 

The answer lies in sound. The world is becoming more audio-centric, and there's an increasing need for brief, impactful audio cues—like notification sounds or user interface (UI) alerts. These quick bursts of sound guide us through daily interactions, often replacing or complementing visual cues.

At MassiveMusic, a Songtradr company, we believe that integrating sound into product design is essential for creating a memorable brand experience. It's not just about having a sonic logo or brand DNA; it's about occupying the short space in sound with meaningful cues that capture attention and communicate your brand's identity in seconds.

Few brands focus on these small but powerful sounds. The ones that do – like Apple, WhatsApp, Facebook and Samsung – are industry leaders. You can probably recall their notification sounds just by hearing their names. 

So, how can a brand use these audio cues to make a lasting impact? By approaching product experiences holistically with sound as a core design principle. This strategy helps brands cut through the noise, capture attention and build a deeper connection with their audience. 

To create branded short-form sounds that resonate with users and effectively communicate your brand's message, consider these three key design principles:

  • Informative: Sound should serve a clear functional purpose, providing information or guidance that is immediately understandable to both new and frequent users.
  • Authentic: Sound should align with the context in which it's used, reflecting the product's or brand's unique personality and ethos.
  • User-centred: Sound should enhance the user's experience. Consider how users will feel at each interaction point—does the sound amplify or counterbalance those emotions? Design with empathy and human-centred thinking to ensure a positive impact.

Sounds are a universal way of communicating. Whether it's a bird call, an insect chirp, a truck's beep, a kettle's whistle or even the carefully designed sound of a luxury car door closing, we constantly navigate the world through sound. And while it takes some strategic thought to identify the right sounds for your product or experience, tapping into techniques like note progression, rhythm and varying instrumentation will ensure your users both remember your experience but also keep coming back for more. 

Give us a shout / beep / chirp if you want to learn more!