Audio: Prospering in the ever-present medium

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Need to know

  • HSBC had been suffering brand decline, so opted to carry out its first global brand identity ‘refresh’ in 17 years
  • Many customer touchpoints do not offer visual branding opportunities, so the company decided to develop a sound identity, to help it to achieve a ‘360-degree’ brand
  • HSBC wanted the identity to span the full breadth of customer experience, from TV ads and social media content to ATMs, mobile apps and high-street branches
  • Attempts to devise the audio branding internally resulted in corporate jingles, so the bank recruited French electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre
  • Jarre created seven themes based on a single melody and hook, which can be used in different scenarios, from customer helplines to stadia
  • The melody has been reduced to a single mnemonic, from which HSBC has created a ‘sound board’ of over 40 sound effects to help narrate a digital experience