MassiveMusic’s Ralph van Dijk and Ash Chaudhry explain how the power of sound boosts a brand’s business performance by maximising cut-through and deepening emotional connections with consumers to lift brand preference.

As a company that has worked for over 20 years in strategically helping brands use the power of sound and music to fuel fame, recognition, memorability and positive emotions, we are still seeing it represent only a small percentage of advertising budgets.

Yet, sound and music’s impact punches above its weight. The right sounds can maximise a brand’s cut-through, deepen emotional connections with consumers and lift brand preference, ultimately boosting a brand’s business performance.

Using considered, ownable, brand-aligned music that sonically ties individual assets together can reinforce a brand’s identity and more effectively encode it in consumers’ long-term memory. As we navigate the audio revolution – think TikTok, podcasts and voice-assisted devices – brands that are harnessing the power of sound have already gained a competitive advantage in capturing and retaining their audience’s attention.

A sound investment

Songtradr, our parent company, recently compiled an extensive report looking at how the beauty industry uses sound. Astonishingly, we found that the strategic use of music accounts for 15% of a brand’s business performance. In a sector as saturated as the beauty industry, where visual assets are fighting to compete and hold consumer attention, a considered sound and music strategy can elevate this to drive true impact. Crucially, those not prioritising this may be seeing a decrease in their brand’s marketing performance.

In an intensely image-driven industry, the report also points out that none of the brands analysed have developed an ownable “sonic brand”. Interestingly, the visual identities for eight of the 10 brands featured were also remarkably similar, consisting of black-and-white block printed letters with no imagery. Therefore, by creating a distinctive and memorable sonic identity, beauty brands can create standout and forge a deeper emotional connection with consumers, ultimately leading to increased brand recognition, customer loyalty and revenue.

Sounds like a lot of work

Often, marketers fear a sonic identity can take too long to penetrate and the wait for audience recognition and memorability won’t be worth it. Our response? Look at TikTok. After launching its sonic identity in late 2022, new research proves that 73% of respondents now associate TikTok’s sonic logo with positive emotions as well as a 52% recognisability rate, which is 40% higher than the average for a new sonic logo. In a mere few months, TikTok’s sonic identity has become one of the most recognised sonic logos of the year. Sounds like a pretty good investment to us and well worth the short wait. 

Music has a profound impact on human emotions. It has the ability to evoke joy, sadness, excitement or nostalgia, and it can transport us to specific moments in our lives. By associating a particular piece of music with a brand or moment, companies can tap into these emotional connections and forge deeper relationships with their customers.

When Canva launched its sonic branding, it put human, inspiring and empowering at the very centre. A unique brand anthem was created along with alternative arrangements and several brand voices that would resonate with their diverse set of users. The same brand anthem also inspired the Canva sonic logo and helped unite all comms with a consistent sonic brand across advertising, content, socials and UI/UX sounds. 

Brands have a golden opportunity to be a part of a moment that will resonate with people for years to come. And just like with this year’s Australian Open, music has the power to connect these moments, creating an emotional bridge between fans, athletes and the brand itself, leaving an indelible mark on the collective memory.

Sound good?

Studies have shown that music can influence consumer behaviour and decision making. By choosing the right music that aligns with a brand's values and target audience, companies can create a powerful emotional bond that extends beyond the visual world. The strategic use of sound in marketing is proven to increase brand recall by a landslide 96% in comparison to visual branding alone – a point of caution to not let your brand get drowned out in the noise and lost in the sea of sameness.

Leveraging music and sound is a game changer for brands. It helps them rise above the competition and builds strong brand awareness. And when it comes to maximising the return on investment of your marketing budget, music and sound reign supreme.

A recent Kantar study reveals brands with strong brand assets are winning. Assets including sound provide 76% higher brand power and 138% more advertising power. Brands are using sound and music to summon positive emotions and memories, allowing them to drive instant recall with their target consumers across various touchpoints throughout the consumer journey.