3 Reasons Brands Should Invest in Sonic Branding

by Alex Kintzer



With over 20,000 brand messages appearing to the average adult every day, it takes a lot of effort just to be heard (1). But to be listened to – to influence change, spark emotion, or tell a story – requires everything you’ve got. Let sound do the heavy lifting ????????

Music speaks more effectively and efficiently than any visual. It can also be flexibly implemented at every touchpoint, creating opportunities for cross-platform partnerships, increasing engagement and perception.

In the audio-led times we’re living in (think smart speakers, podcasts, TikTok etc.), brands who want to make an impression and stand the test of time should (re)consider what they sound like.

Here are 3 reasons brands should invest in sonic branding today:

1. Trust the science

We can all casually think of a song that transports us to a different place, but there’s plenty of hard science that supports the influence music has on the brain.

The wiring in the human brain not only allows us to react to sound 0.03 seconds faster than to visuals (2), but also makes us feel exactly the emotion conveyed in the music. (3)

This innate emotional response adds ‘rose-coloured glasses’ to subsequent brand messages (4) and has been proven to influence purchase behaviour more strongly than brand knowledge, logos, slogans, or colours alone. (5)

Science says, if your brand has thought strategically about your visual identity, you should be thinking about your music and sound as well.

2. Follow the market

We are in a sound renaissance. In 2021, there was a 22% increase in brands creating sonic strategies. (6) Why? Because the nature of touchpoints has changed – people are interacting with brands on apps, through on-demand streaming platforms, and in their cars. Simply, people aren’t seeing brands nearly as much as they interact with their sounds. By implementing sonic branding at all modern touchpoints, brands can create consistency across platforms which increases recall and brand recognition.

3. Grasp the opportunity

Sonic branding, and brand music strategy as a whole, opens a whole new avenue for creativity, partnerships, and royalties.

Whether it’s a creative use of sounds like MassiveMusic created for Philips or a series of artist partnerships like we arranged for Slane Irish Whiskey, sound can open doors not available with stock music or visual brand advertising.

Take this one for example: for the launch of the AMD powered Lenovo YOGA Slim, we got Lady Bri, Kurt Schneider and Marble Mannequin to perform live at the event – adding that little bit of influencer-supplied sonic pop to the launch.

Plus, as we’ve discovered at MassiveMusic, one hand washes the other between sonic branding and the music industry – re-recording an iconic top single like ‘Fresh – Kool & The Gang’, but executed in a creative new Gen-Z rendition to match the target audience and existing sonic strategy, helps everyone! (When it comes to re-recordings, the copyright royalties still go to the writers of the original song; in this case Robert Earl Bell & Ronald Nathan Bell – key members of Kool & the Gang).

A great way to gain a popularity boost with the Gen-Z audience whilst staying aligned with your values as a brand.

1. Johnson, S. 2014
2. Johnson, R. C. et al., 1985; Galton 1885
3. Molnar-Szakacs et al., 2006
4. Brunel et al., 2009
5. Vermeulen, 2016
6. Taite, Fast Company 2021

In a nutshell…

Having an ownable and unique sonic brand identity can increase brand recognition and emotional recall in your audience so they think of you at the right time.

By having your own sonic brand or music strategy, you create a whole ecosystem that screams consistency. Plus, showing your brand personality through music and sound is also the perfect occasion to differentiate from your competitors.

So, trust the science (but don’t forget about craftsmanship), follow the market (but make sure you stand out) and grasp the opportunity (with a proper music strategy in place) and you’re off to a great start in the prosperous and innovative world of sonic branding.

– Brunel L., Labeye E., Lesourd M., Versace R. 2009. The sensory nature of episodic memory: Sensory priming effects due to memory trace activation.
– Johnson, R. C., McClearn, G. E., Yuen, S., Nagoshi, C. T., Ahern, F. M., & Cole, R. E. (1985). Galton’s data a century later.
– Johnson, S. 2014. New Research Sheds Light on Daily Ad Exposures.
– Molnar-Szakacs, I., & Overy, K. 2006. Music and mirror neurons: from motion to ‘e’motion. Social cognitive and affective
neuroscience, 1(3), 235–241.
– Taite, John. “Is Your Brand On Mute? Why The World’S Biggest Companies Are Investing Millions In Sound”. Fast Company, 2021.
– Vermeulen, I., Beukeboom, C.J. 2016. Effects of Music in Advertising: Three Experiments Replicating Single- Exposure Musical
Conditioning of Consumer Choice (Gorn 1982) in an Individual Setting.