How to create a sonic logo in 6 steps

Digital Marketing By Josanne Griffin-Mason, 16th February 2015

The best advertisers are embodying earworms, burrowing deep in to their audiences’ psyches with aural power to connect, emote and influence.

Why? Because sound is one of the most powerful emotional drivers.

In fact, companies that match their brands to music are 96%1 more likely to be remembered.

The use of sound and music in marketing, advertising and design is called sonic branding, and with the right strategic placement, a sonic logo can spark an instinctual response to help customers identify with a brand and solidify their loyalty with it.

Here, we outline the ways in which you can establish your brand through the creation of a sonic logo.

Your customers can shut their eyes but they can’t shut their ears, which is why the sonic logo dominates where the visual logo collapses.

Intel is perhaps the master of the sonic logo, because regardless of the context those five notes are heard in, they kick-start a recall process within the recipient and Intel is rammed in to the forefront of the listener’s mind.

This is a natural reaction to sound; as humans, our brains seek to complete a jingle once it has begun, and we place where we have heard it before – if that place is your advert, website or product, and as long as it’s a positive association, you’re winning.

To create a successful sonic logo as Intel have done, you’ll need to determine the brand identity you are trying to put across, and it’s important to realise that the sole purpose of a sonic logo is not to market your brand just by commissioning a nice sound bite – a sonic logo should elevate the experience you offer your customers.

Harley Davidson have got this spot on. In 1994, the motorcycle brand trademarked its distinctive V-twin engine sound to capitalise on their own uniqueness. This exclusivity allows them to distinguish the brand at every point of customer interaction, from marketing through to purchase and ownership, with a sound that is memorable, relevant and reinforces brand promise.

If your product doesn’t have a distinguishable sound, don’t fear – after all, Intel computers don’t either, which is why the company commissioned Austrian composer Walter Werzowa to invent their own mnemonic, also back in 1994.

Just remember, it’s usually best to commission a unique piece of music, as you’ll risk contaminated associations if you use existing audio.

It’s also important to give white noise the respect it deserves. The world is full of sounds, thus the less chaotic your sonic logo is, the more appealing it will be.

Your six-step guide to creating a sonic logo:

  1. Strategy: Confirm the essence of your brand and what you want to achieve with a sonic logo.
  2. Touch point analysis: Determine each point your brand will come in to contact with your audience (e.g. television adverts, online, in store, through product placement etc.) and identify all of the key stakeholders involved.
  3. Concept phase: Create a sound collage to capture the texture, melody and instruments that best embody your brand.
  4. Test and refine: Trial a number of unique combinations and establish how they affect listeners through psycho-acoustic research.
  5. Implementation: Make adaptations for each touch point.
  6. Handover stage: Develop an audio style guide to help your managers plan and oversee the installation of your new sonic logo. You’ll also need to ensure that all licencing is handled.

Sonic logos are a form of sensory branding – a technique used to appeal to one or more of the five senses.

Click to learn more about how brands use smell to sell and how businesses can convert through touch today.

1 Inc, 2011. Does your brand ring like a bell?. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 16th February 2015].