A Sound Strategy: Using Sonic Branding to Enhance the Customer Journey
Implementing sonic branding in the customer journey can be a game-changer for businesses. While many might be familiar with sound logos and jingles, there's a lot more to sonic branding than that. In fact, it's a field that has yet to be explored in depth.
Traditionally, sonic branding has been limited to being used alongside the visual brand. However, it can be used for much more, creating greater integration between each touchpoint the customer interacts with. After the 2020 pandemic, when people had to shift to online alternatives, some companies realized the potential of audio branding across the entire customer journey.
The main factor was that customers online needed to be sure that they were buying products safely and that the brand they were interacting with was authentic. Extra cues and hints towards the reliability of the brand were appreciated, as they provided a sense of security and authenticity. One brand that utilized this approach was Mastercard. They updated their branding and implemented new ways for the brand to be recognized, including sensory branding. This holistic approach to branding made customers feel confident that they were using the brand they intended to.
Sensory branding includes all the senses, and sound is a large part of that. To ensure their customers that the transaction was always done through Mastercard, they implemented audio cues, haptic feedback, and branded animations to go along with it. The largest implementation was a complete soundboard that was recognizable and on-brand. Sounds were implemented for website functions, confirmations, errors, transactions, and status updates. This way, customers could hear that they were using Mastercard as easily as they could see it.
This not only instilled a sense of security but also made consumers remember the branding every time they made a purchase. They recognized the combination of sensory cues and connected the brand with similar sensory experiences. In a digital user situation, this can also help guide people by playing a sound if something goes wrong, another for when something goes right, and maybe a few other sounds that are all linked to the brand. This way, people have an easier time navigating the product offering while constantly being exposed to the branding as well.
Integrated marketing is essential when it comes to sonic branding. Using the same sonic branding across several touchpoints creates greater recall and can be helpful to customers as a guide on what to do. Positive sounds, negative sounds, impatient sounds - all of these can help the visually impaired and increase memorability.
Mastercard is at the forefront of this approach, with a total rebrand featuring two interlocked circles and the same audio jingle playing whenever their customers complete a purchase or similar. It takes time to cement a sonic brand in the minds of consumers, but the awareness and top-of-mind position are invaluable once it is established.
The push for digitalization is requiring businesses to think about how all the senses can be activated to increase memorability and impact. Audio is growing in importance, not only to aid people whose visual senses are limited but also to strengthen the brand in the minds of customers.
In conclusion, implementing sonic branding beyond sound logos or jingles is a powerful tool for businesses. By utilizing sensory branding, businesses can create greater integration between each touchpoint the customer interacts with, increase memorability, and provide a sense of security and authenticity. Sonic branding is a field with great potential, and with the push for digitalization, businesses need to start thinking about how to activate all the senses to improve the customer experience.