Sound is a powerful tool that can trigger specific memories or emotions. It’s a staple for marketers who have used jingles (think, “I’m a Toys R Us Kid”) to connect emotionally with consumers, whether on TV or radio. But as technology like Amazon’s Echo or the Google Home Assistant become more embedded in our daily lives, it’s becoming increasingly important for brands to create those same emotional connections without visuals, just sound.
Cue sonic branding—the use of a sound, song or melody to help reinforce a brand’s identity.
Visa found that sound could make consumers feel safe and secure in their transactions, and that 81 percent of shoppers would have a more positive reaction to Visa if it incorporated sound or animation into its marketing or shopping experience. With that in mind, the brand released a special sound in December. After using a Visa card, either in a digital or physical store, customers hear a chime of sorts, signifying a secure, speedy transaction. Eighty-three percent of respondents said Visa’s new sound sparked a positive perception of the brand.
“As you think about payments becoming much more frictionless, potentially more embedded in experiences and new places, we started to think about how the Visa brand might manifest itself in formats that are quite different from a shop or a digital website,” said Lynne Biggar, Visa’s chief marketing and communications officer. That could be in your car, in your home, through your smart home devices or even a Fitbit, she explained.NBC Through the Years
Visa isn’t alone in its decision to refocus on sonic branding, or the “use of sound to reinforce a brand identity,” as Audrey Arbeeny, founder and executive producer of sonic branding agency Audiobrain, described it. That sound could be a jingle (think “Nationwide Is on Your Side”) or a mnemonic (like HBO’s static or NBC’s chimes).