August 21, 2020

Lauren Clemett

A man walks over to the piano player in a bar and says “do you know your monkey stole my beer?” The pianist replies “No, but if you hum it, I’ll play it” (boom, tish).


This line was once used in a famous PG Tips advert, with monkeys as removalists, and it got me thinking about one of our most vital senses that can enhance personal branding…

The sound of your brand.

When Stephen Hawking passed away, the thing that struck me most about this extraordinary personal brand, was that he had of of the recognisable personal brand voices in the World, and it wasn’t even his!

His computer spoke for him. 

It was a voice you instantly recognised and there are even apps you can use to turn your own voice into his.

Stephen Hawkins voice was instantly recognisable, and it wasn't even his.

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Our senses provide information for our brain to create a perception. Is it light or dark, noisy or quiet, does something taste bitter or sweet, feel soft or hard.

Sound is one of our vital senses. One we often take for granted.

Sound is all about vibration, detected by tiny hairs and bones within our ears. Is your brand giving off good vibrations?

Sound feeds the brain information about our surroundings that can cause a psychical reaction. 

A loud bang can make us jump, the sound of a mosquito causes almost immediate panic, or the calming effect of a mothers lullaby to soothe her baby to sleep.

The amygdala in your brain uses sound to embed memory of an experience. How often do you have nostalgic memories when you hear a particular song from your youth?

Sound can also create an emotional state of desire as well as increasing the speed of decision making.

Brands purpose is to creating meaning and elicit an emotion to make the client to feel a specific way, assisting in purchase behaviour - because we buy based on emotion and justify our decision with fact.

Brands also depend on that memory and recall to help us simply choose a brand because we already know, like and trust it.

So sound is a vital element of branding, especially if you want to be remembered and loved.

Sound is a vital element of branding, especially if you want to be remembered.

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Just consider the advertising jingles you still hum as an adult that you heard years ago as a kid listening to the radio or watching TV.

Brand sounds can even produce a physical reaction.

The sound of ‘greensleeves’ playing and your memories of the ice cream truck probably get your mouth watering for a taste of that summer treat.

Brands use sound to differentiate from competitors and stand out in an overcrowded and noisy marketplace.

You don’t need to which computer is being used when you hear that distinctive sound of an Apple Mac computer starting up.

Schweppes took their brand sound to a whole new level by coining the “schweppervescence” phrase to describe the sound their product makes when you break a cap on a bottle.

Of course, every soda fizzes, but the schweppervescence is something else.

It's become more than a sound, it's a state of being that only their brand can deliver.

A few years ago we were asked to brand a motor-racing circuit, so we listened to the sound of Formula 1 cars and the instantly recognisable commentary by the effervescent Murray Walker, who could make even the most boring of races sound exciting.

When he commented to a journalist that the sound of a formula 1 car ‘goes right through you, disturbing the very rhythm of your heart’ we knew we had the essence for the new motor circuit brand.

The sound of the brand became the main theme on the jingle… Feel your heart racing.

It became the brand tagline too, and appeared on all their merchandise and on billboards. It wasn't surprising when the jingle had people singing to themselves.

So how can you use sound to define and promote your brand?

Of course, creating a sound track or jingle is obvious.

But also consider the music you use on your website, or in the background of your videos.

How do you want to make people feel when they watch them? Calm, excited, happy, safe, hyped, relaxed...

When you create a video intro/outro, what sound can you use that becomes your ‘theme song’?

Is there a tone of voice or saying you have that can be used as your sign off?

Consistency is key here and most musicians and creatives will tell you, in order to be memorable, the simpler the better.

I was once told by a celebrated adman, if you can get your audience to 'hum' your brand, you're onto a winner.

What sort of tune would you like to have your ideal clients humming to?

Our brains use all senses to absorb and make sense of the World we live in, so there is possibly nothing worse for a brand, than the sound of silence.

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Lauren Clemett

Lauren is an International Award-Winning Personal Branding Specialist with over 30 years experience in brand management working within world-leading advertising agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy and Clemenger BBDO. A five-time bestselling author and International Award Winning Neurobranding expert, she uses her dyslexia disability as her greatest asset - helping entrepreneurs understand how the brain sees brands.

She is also a keen sailor, golfer and vodka quality control expert.

annette densham

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