Engaging the Senses

One thing that is great about managing this community of practice is getting input from branding experts. I recently received an email from Birgitte Road sharing her perspective on sound branding. Birgitte is from Denmark and is the Founder and Creative Director of Audio Management specialists in sound branding. Birgitte mastered the field by studying at both The Academy of Music in Aalborg and the University of Aalborg, and by working in music and media since 1985.

Sound branding is about the use of sound to reinforce brand identity. I learned that Birgitte worked for Martin Lindstrom, author of the book entitled Brand Sense whose global sensory research findings are considered groundbreaking. Lindstrom’s research makes a strong case for engaging as many of the five senses as possible to establish memorable associations with your brand.

It is easy to think of examples in product branding where sensory association helps create a powerful brand image. I think of the smell of coffee, the feel of silk, the sound of a camera shutter click, all sensory memories with strong positive associations that can be leveraged to help create brand loyalty.

Application in place branding may not be as easily envisioned. But, think about the positive impact the song “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra has had on the branding of New York City, or “Philadelphia Freedom” by Elton John, “Cleveland Rocks” by Ian Hunter, “Viva Las Vegas” by Elvis Presley or “City of New Orleans” by Willie Nelson. All songs with strong positive associations that have helped create lasting images of these specific locations.

Application doesn’t mean you need to run out and hire an Agency to write a song about your location. For example, think about the positive or negative role sound can play in sight visits. I know I feel very different about a location where I wake up in the morning to the sound of a jackhammer versus the song of bluebirds. The principles of sound branding have very real and very practical implications that you can leverage to provide a potential competitive advantage by creating an even more memorable experience for potential capital investors.

Birgitte shared a presentation on sound branding that is thought provoking. Take a moment to review Birgitte’s contribution.

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