How Music & Sound Can Help Brands Thrive in the Financial Industry

by MassiveMusic



What does money sound like?

That question is probably easy to answer. We can think about the sound of rattling coins, shuffling dollar bills and the ‘pling’ of a cash register opening up.

Now, what does a bank or insurance company sound like?

We’re already treading into more difficult territory here. While the sound of an object is easy(ish) to imagine, the sound of a concept, brand or service is much harder. This is something the finance industry struggles with as well – how can you leverage music and sound to make your finance brand stand out among so many others?

An (un)successful story

Surprisingly enough, the finance industry is currently outperforming everyone else when it comes to music and sound. According to SoundOut, out of thirty two leading industries, ‘Finance and Insurance’ has the most sonic logos And yet, various research projects have revealed that, despite that, their performance and effectiveness still aren’t great.

Why is that, you ask?

The first possibility is low market penetration. You can have the most amazing sonic logo ever made, but if it doesn’t reach your customers, who’s going to remember you in the end? Customers might simply not be in contact with your sonic logo enough to actually relate it back to you, therefore making the statistics on effectiveness drop.

Another possibility is context. Generally speaking, finances and banks don’t trigger the most positive emotions. Let’s face it: Nobody likes spending money or checking their bank accounts. So, while we associate the ‘ta-dum’ of Netflix’ startup sound with positive feelings of relaxation, the connotation with anything related to finance is often negative.

Does this mean you shouldn’t use any music or sound at all?

No. It means you should use them in a strategic way. One that works for you AND your audience.

Here’s why they’re an essential part of your marketing strategy as a finance brand.

The Importance of Trust

The relationship that customers have with their banks, or any other finance brand they interact with, is extremely intimate and private. Trust is crucial, and legacy banks have historically established it in-person at their physical locations. Newer banks, which usually focus more on digital service and run through web or mobile applications, don’t have the same luxury.

This lack of face-to-face interaction makes it harder to establish emotional connections between financial institutions and customers. That’s where the use of music and sound comes in.

Research done by Mastercard showed that 1 in 5 shoppers abandon the checkout process due to payment insecurity. With most shopping experiences now being digital, it has become harder to trust a secure payment transaction.

That’s why Mastercard implemented a sonic logo to make customers feel more secure. Immediately after paying, Mastercard’s customers now hear a so-called ‘heckout sound’, indicating the approval of their transaction. The unique set of six notes has led to a 3.4x increase in their feelings of safety and trust.

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Money, money, money

Sadly enough, we’re not talking about the ABBA song (although you started singing it in your head, didn’t you?).

We’re talking about actual money. Because not only has the relationship between customers and financial institutions changed, but the way we interact with money is also changing.

Digital shopping was impossible a century ago, but the rapid digitalisation and internet access has led to more than 2 billion people now buying goods and services online worldwide. Not only that – we’re also doing more contactless payments than ever. Digital wallets are on the rise and almost everyone has their personal finances available 24/7 through a simple app on their phone.

Because of this digital revolution, it’s more important than ever to have a user interface that works properly. VISA didn’t miss out on this opportunity and made their UX/UI sounds branded. Now, when you successfully complete a physical or digital transaction with a VISA card or product, you’ll hear a unique sound. And believe it or not – 83% of respondents saw the brand more positively after this (J Carcamo & Associates, 2018). If that increase isn’t the definition of success, we don’t know anymore.

Now you see how sound can help elevate a customers’ experience with your brand. It doesn’t have to be complicated at all – adding a simple three-note jingle after a transaction can already have amazing results.

Dare to be different

Despite the fact that all banks have slightly different products and conditions, their core services are quite similar. And that’s exactly why they need to think more carefully about their marketing strategies. One certain way to differentiate from their competitors is an ownable and recognizable sonic identity.

And this doesn’t only apply to banks – take a look at this case of Legal & General, one of the UK’s leading financial services groups. They’ve been in the industry for almost two centuries, but were mostly known for the way they look and not the way they sound.

As a brand, L&G needed to speak to many different audiences. Inspired by the four colours in their logo (red, blue, yellow and green), we at MassiveMusic created four different tracks to cater to all L&G’s communication needs. In line with their iconic visual logo, we tried to capture the real sound of an umbrella while bringing a feeling of reassurance to life.

This new, unique sound system has allowed L&G to cut through the noise of similar service companies and truly stand out from the crowd, while also strengthening the emotional bond between brand and customer.

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Ready to play?

When done right, music and sound can:

  • Help you build trust in an era where digitalisation is taking away most of our face-to-face contact with financial institutions
  • Elevate the customer experience and make your UX/UI sound like no one else
  • Make your brand stand out in an industry where tons of sonic logos are already floating around

There are plenty of big players in the financial service industry and we at MassiveMusic have had the opportunity to work with many of them, including Legal & General, ING, Sparkasse and Rabobank, among others. We approach the brief in a collaborative way, do our research and craft your sonic brand identity from core concept to successful implementation – zero to hero.

So, what do you say? Are you ready to thrive in the financial industry?