BOOM! That’s the power of sound

Have you ever been watching something that you are immersed in and for some reason you mute it and it loses its impact?

I recently thought this when I was watching the trailer for Dead Island. I got so engrossed by the whole thing but when I turned the music off visually it was still as impressive visually but it lost a lot of the atmosphere and therefore story.

It got me thinking of the impact of sound in advertising and the power it gives to communications.  Think what ‘Heartbeats’ did for the Bravia ad.

But a brand’s use of shouldn’t exist only in advertising.  Brands need to consider how the different sounds they make reflect their brand attributes and values.  Below are some of the sounds that have an immediate association with brands.

  • the grunt of a Ferrari engine
  • the Intel ‘sound’ (bum-bum-bum-bum)
  • a Cisco phone (remember 24 and CTU?)
  • an ice cream van’s jingle
  • the snap, crackle and pop of coco pops

Sony even built a campaign around this.

It wasn’t a success for a variety of reasons (which I won’t dwell on here) but the essence of the idea remains true. Sounds can heighten or dampen our experiences.

There was recently a TedTalk where Julian Treasure aimed to explain the different brand expressions through sound – very insightful talk into this issue.

The question for brands is what sounds are you making? What do they say about you? What other sounds should you be making?  And don’t forget that, sometimes, silence is golden.

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