Marketers, brands, music aficionados and artists who are using music and sound to build authenticity and increase brand engagement will do well to review what traditional marketers have to say about branding. In this article on “How to Create an Authentic Brand Story that Actually Improves Trust”, Kissmetrics lays out a guide to doing just that. (more on kissmetrics see resources at end of blog)
Sonic Branding 101
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Before we delve in Marketing 101, we should just cover the basics of Sonic Branding 101. Although it has been around for many years, it is only just becoming a reality in conventional marketing strategies. The time is right for sonic branding solutions as we have moved into a new age of marketing where authenticity, engagement and connection around shared values are now what drive consumers to be advocated of a brand.
The latest book on the subject has just been released on Amazon Kindle and is already #1 on Amazon for related searches. The book is entitled “The Brand and the Band” and it is a perfect introduction to the art and science of sonic branding solutions for building authentic brands.
The book is also for marketers, artists and music industry professionals who want to understand more about how they can help businesses build brand identity using the skills and knowledge of the music industry.
In our review of the KissMetrics 7 steps to brand marketing, we focus on the story and its relation to the song – or sonic branding. All other steps are important in marketing but the story and song are literally bound together in sonic branding. For the full details of all of these points, please refer to the Kissmetrics link in the resources.
In a recent TED talk Greg Power demonstrates the power of the story refering to the US election in which Hillery Clinton lost her power when her story, mostly about herself, failed to connect and engage voters. Obama stole it from her saying that he was there to serve not because anything was owed to him. With that Hillery was painted as the establishment candidate and he as the agent of change. This is what the story does if you get it right.
Story telling is a multimedia process. And that leads us naturally to the music and the song! Taking our inspiration from successful sonic branding examples like COKE, the story does not have to be epic. It is better if it is simple and coveys a single idea that defines the brand or the product. For Coke, it was sharing happiness and for Hertz, is was Speed.
The main idea of the Kiss article is that you must have a story. As they say, “By telling a story and connecting with the reader, a storyteller can actually generate trust in the reader.” The Kissmetrics articles goes into some depth about the neural coupling that happens when we tell stories. It is the same principle covered by power marketing consultants in their sales training. It is all pertinent to sonic branding. Inevitably, the story must be about a main feature, an overriding benefit or something that the consumer feels and experiences emotionally. For example: Happiness (Coke), Purpose (Nike), Think Different (Apple) and Speed (Hertz).
Your Reasons Why
Today consumers are motivated by causes and they like to know your WHY – what make you do what you do. That is a big part of your story that is worth sharing in the message and the song you sing. This is the sort of thing that connects. Kissmetrics calls it the PSS approach – Problem, Solution, Success. Power marketing takes it a step further and looks at how to implement these concepts as a sales process. It proposes using a system and tools to effectively Capture, Connect, Inform, Incentivize and Automate (CCIIA), as proposed by AllCastMarketing.com .
Ultimately, customers buy the “why” – the experience, the story and the song – not just the product. It’s never just the product and in the past, marketing focused first on the product, then the benefits. Now it’s the why, or even more intangible, the culture. A good example of this is Nike’s “Just do It” ad campaign – in praise of all the athletes it serves. “Just do It” is how they see the world and the people who like them love that idea.
Nike’s Example of Purpose
Perhaps one of the best descriptions of a brand purpose that I know of comes from Jerome Conlon of Nike. As he puts it: “A brand’s symbolic meaning originates with its underlying purpose, and is expressed as a field vibration that radiates from the very core of a company. If a brand is to become iconic, to become a world-class energy that customers deeply identify with, then it must evoke transcendent qualities of human soulfulness. And to do that it has to express deep insight into its unique purpose in the world.”
Conlon believes that this sort of purpose is the “intersection of three circles of influence”. He describes this eloquently in his blog at Branding Strategy Insider.
In the first circle, it comes down to the intersection of a social problem. The second is related to a core brand truth that is at the very heart of the brand’s existence and the third is the consumer’s need that the brand can legitimately address. When all 3 are aligned, as in the case of “Just do It”, you have a resounding purpose that will translate into strong brand identity. Conlon tells a fascinating story of how the purpose and branding unfolded. It is a story well worth reading. To sum it up: the company was facing a downturn and had to do a major overhaul of its position, which at the time was very narrowly associated with top professional athletes. It had to widen its appeal and get to a route motivator that included sports and health for all.
During the soul searching, they identified procrastination as the root cause of America’s declining production and consumption at that time. Schools had laid off teachers and postponed many sporting events and health-related programs. It’s a long story but the first ad they ran for the “Just Do It” campaign tells it all:
Nike did use sound to help create its brand – most identifiable of all was the swoosh sound of the logo. It used music with its ads and videos to good effect. It has yet to translate its story into song! Any takers?
Multimedia Sonic Branding Solutions
Good sonic branding is multimedia video, images, sound, music and technology, just like Coke’s anthem on the hilltop, which was followed up with the INNOVATION that made it possible to buy the world a Coke!
The best practices are to create your mission and story with the Kiss 7-Step Matrix: Be Personal, but be sure to clearly articulate the problem that you solve. Don’t complicate it – focus on one problem or feature only at a time and keep it simple. Focus on your reason WHY – the core thing that motivates you and your team, then create your story. Finally, share the story with high quality video production and translate your story into a song. That is the ultimate sonic branding that will create an authentic and engaging brand.
Sonic Branding is authentic – it reaches out to touch consumers with emotive and engaging media that connects and does not preach.
See the video below of all the latest books on sonic branding Search Amazon for Sonic Branding eBooks:
Meklit Hadero: The Unexpected Beauty of Everyday Sounds
Meklit Hadero shows how the everyday soundscape, even silence, makes music. “The world is alive with musical expression,” she says. “We are already immersed.”