Sticky Jingles With Sonic Branding Intent Are Powerful
Sticky Jingles We Know And Love
McDonalds has iterated many times over its marketing lifespan but in 2003, it really hit its mark with the I’m Lovin’ It smash hit thanks to Justin Timberlake (and many many many other people). What was supposed to be a 2 year run, turned into almost 2 decades of us singing along to ba da ba ba ba.
This jingle is catchy, mentions the name of the brand, and it even specifically tells us how to eat the product! Although KitKat doesn’t use this jingle in every marketing campaign, it has withstood the test of time. All one has to hear is “give me a break” in the US or “have a break” in the UK, and the call and response is almost instantaneous.
It’s not a surprise to discover that the Go Compare jingle has rated number 3 in the SoundOut audio branding Index 2021. Funny and catchy, proving that sonic logos that include the brand name are twice as effective at cementing brand association than those that do not.
Think of AO and you have to shout ‘AO, Let’s Go!’ in time with the well-known jingle. The sting is an extract of a well-known Ramones track, ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’ and is a powerful call to action that’s full of energy and perfectly captures the brand personality.
Rice A Roni:
Who thought that you could personify rice in verse? Well, Rice A Roni knew. Not only did they come up with a catchy jingle, but they also tied it to San Francisco, and trolleys, and as a treat!?
They paired starting the day right and happy and positive with a cup of Folgers coffee. “The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup.” It says so much in just one little sentence.
Building Brand Equity Through Sonic Investment
Creating sticky or catchy content doesn’t happen overnight. All of the brand jingles listed above have been utilising and iterating their brand sound for years. Multiple generations have experienced their advertisements over decades and decades of time. You can’t rush something like that.
What these brands are focused on are 1- creating sound that withstands time, 2- focusing on brand identity, and 3- investing in that customer’s emotional connection thus securing brand loyalty and brand advocacy. Two words can describe this process; brand equity.
Brand equity is investing in the future and long term ROI of a brand. It is not and should not be misconstrued with immediate sales ROI (although sometimes that is the result). However, when a brand truly invests the time and explores what music or sound resonates with it, the gain is a much higher ROI over the life of the brand.
Brand equity is a bigger and longer process that is part of growth marketing.
Investing in Sound Strategy Over Viral Expectations
Although these jingles are solidly supplanted into the corresponding brand story, they were not created with sonic identity or sonic branding in mind. This is simply because terms such as sonic branding didn’t exist at that time. With what we know now, a brand could potentially secure the effects of these past jingles in a more succinct and clear way blazing them forward in their future brand equity.
The key; intentionally creating sonic branding through a clear sound strategy.
A sound strategy is simply deciding the direction the brand wants to take with sonic branding. Does the brand want or need custom sound or does the brand choose to hold only to a music style guide and source music project by project? There are no wrong answers; just decisions to be made.
However, licensing music will eventually limit exploration of a brand sound. If down the line you need a theme song for your podcast or sounds for your app, you will need to create such assets. When licensing music, you are limited to the original agreement which is usually a single use license and the music can only be used in its created version (i.e. no versioning or creating new arrangements after the fact).
Creating custom sound and music may sound more costly, but when seen as an investment, something running through the life of a brand rather than the life of a campaign, the spend becomes more appropriate.
Create Custom Sound To Market Better
When a custom sound is formed, it creates an experience that no one has ever experienced before. The listener is listening to it with fresh ears and has no preconceived notions or predetermined emotional connection. That sound is then used in conjunction with brand messaging and intent. It becomes an integral part of the brand’s persona; unique to that brand and that brand alone.
Custom sound allows the brand to define not only the customer’s listening experience, but also the scope of the creation process. Adding iterations and alternate versions and short and long form copies is all under the brands’ control. After the work is completed, multiple variants now exist all stemming from the same idea and intention.
When visual branding is created, does a brand hire a graphic designer to do one asset at a time or do they have them put together an entire branding package? Generally the answer is package. This keeps the consistency and uniformity of the branding intact.
Uniformity builds sincerity which builds trust and loyalty.
Custom sound also helps with future proofing. No one knows what new tech will be invented in the next few years and no one knows how current tech will be iterated and re-invented in the next few years either.
A tool kit of sound creates flexibility and mould ability for future sound marketing within the unknown parameters of the up and coming technological playground.
Why Create a Sonic Logo Over a Jingle?
Here’s where we change the conversation from creating a jingle to creating a sonic logo. A traditional “jingle” is not created with a sonic logo’s scope in mind. It aligns perfectly with campaigns and other project base marketing but rarely has long term brand identity in mind.
Sonic logos are first and foremost created with brand identity and brand persona in mind.
Can a sonic logo be a jingle? Absolutely! Can a jingle be a sonic logo? Possibly. However, without foresight, that only happens by chance. Sonic logos are specifically designed to represent the brand as a whole.
Hoping that a jingle lands well enough that people will accept it as a part of brand identity is just leaving a lot of factors up to chance.
If the perception is that a sonic logo is “more expensive” than a jingle, then let’s take a minute to break it down. With sonic branding and sound identity, the investment lies heavier on the front end absolutely. However, it also offers higher long term ROI.
With a jingle, the investment could also be heavy on the front end (depending on celebrities or songwriters involved). The ROI may also occur faster as a result. However, without foresight on how that jingle will play out during the life of the brand, that high and fast ROI may dry up as the jingle becomes less relevant, becomes annoying, or for a million other reasons.
So the question isn’t really, “Are sonic branding and sonic logos more expensive than jingles?” The question should be, “Am I investing in performance marketing or growth marketing?”
Sonic Branding Content Creation Results in Higher Lifetime ROI
As we mentioned before, sonic branding and sonic identity is a long game. Brand awareness and brand loyalty as a whole takes time and must be cultivated.
People invest in brands that they believe in and that they feel are being sincere; brands that they can “relate to”. When you grab something from clipart and call it your logo; people know. When you grab a track from a music library just because it sounds “trendy”; people know. Word of mouth matters and people will talk when they notice something that doesn’t quite fit with a brand.
Jingles sell in real time. Sonic branding and sonic logos sell time over time. The more time and care that is implemented in a brand’s sound identity now, the better the brand’s awareness and recognition will be in the long term.
The jingle is most definitely here to stay. The difference is in the approach. Creating a jingle with sonic branding and brand identity in mind helps secure brand equity. With proper attention, we believe that any brand can achieve a cohesive and sincere sound identity that will work over multiple platforms and for a plethora of different purposes over the entire life of a brand.
‘A sticky sonic logo is the jingle that keeps on giving’.