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Today … You Can’t Have One Without the Other

Top of Mind Communications

Digital-age marketing demands pulling out all stops to project your brand visually … images, colors, logos and text … plus sounds and music that synch with the essence, values, promise and personality of your distinctive brand. In getting all these marketing aircraft flying in formation, the one powerful branding tool that is more often than not missed by most marketers is the use of sound.

And that’s in direct conflict with the acceleration of people listening on mobile devices as well as more traditional digital tools like laptops and PCs as well as landline phones. Called audio branding or sonic branding, sound swells as a positive marketing influencer in this increasingly audio-enabled media environment. The results: product/service differentiation, enhanced recognition, competitive preference and trust.

One of the things that sound does is generate emotional reactions and connections in an instant. People (you and me included) make their buying decisions emotionally and then justify them logically. Sound helps set the stage to trigger the decision to buy. In that sense, sound/music is its own language and motivator.

Here’s a recent experience at Chili’s restaurant which prides itself on its signature dish, fajitas. In delivering an order, the sizzling plate is carried through the dining room … the sound triggering additional orders from folks who hadn’t yet looked at the menu. BTW, that same sizzling sound is used in Chili’s commercials to further highlight its branding. Chili’s sells sizzle, not fajitas.

The Multiplier Effect

Once created, your custom sound logo, original music and messaging may be repurposed for use across a number of platforms … on-hold phone messages to callers, in-store messaging to shoppers, various media commercials, podcast introductions and attention-getters at trade show vendor booths.

Rich Moncure is President & CEO of On-Hold Marketing, Inc., a marketing support company delivering custom on-hold telephone and in-store messaging … including both voice and music.

He defines a custom sound logo as “any audio element that helps to brand a business.” Think of Intel, NBC, or Time Warner Entertainment …they all have highly recognizable, distinctive sound logos. It is a short distinctive melody or other sequence of sound, mostly positioned at the beginning or ending of a commercial. It can be described as the acoustic equivalent of a visual logo.

Moncure is quick to emphasize that custom developed voice and music must align with both your brand image and the profile of the caller or store visitor. Most people have a preconceived notion that the music and messaging they will hear when on-hold on a business phone system or the background announcements and melodies they hear in a retail store are of the “elevator music” variety … can you spell, boring.

So what to consider in developing an effective on-hold or in-store messaging program? Here are some best practices and some to avoid.

On-Hold Messaging and Music

Let’s start with some real-life examples.

  • If the caller is calling to reserve a condo at a vacation destination, then the music used should reflect the wonderful experience they plan on having at that location. The instrumentation and tempo should reflect the climate and ambiance – beaches, mountains, relaxation, “getting away from it all”.
  • Now imagine you have called your vet’s office. The music should be upbeat, playful and generate an image to you that this vet office is full of smiles and loves animals.

A couple of samples.

In-Store Messaging and Music

Quality in-store music and messages must first of all “fit” the general ambiance of your store as well as the profile of customers who visit your place of business. The idea is not to hammer customers with marketing and advertising pitches. Rather the objective is to widen your overall exposure by informing shoppers of products, services or specials they may not be aware of.

Click Here for two samples tailored for B2C (business to consumer) businesses.

Top of Mind Communication - In Store Messaging and Music

Choosing Your Music and Messaging

You will want to work with your sonic branding experts to craft music choices that support your preferred audial atmosphere for your customers.  What do you want to project as your audio brand … carefree, festive, trustworthy, supportive and reliable, or …? Choices may include one or more of these varieties of music depending on your prevailing customer profile:

  • Easy listening
  • Jazz
  • Soft rock
  • Adult top 40
  • Seasonal music

Note: In working with your sonic/audio branding consultant, leave your musical personal preferences at the door. The music must align with satisfying the customer profile, not your artistic appeals. Remember, the objective is not entertainment … it is brand enhancement.

Not Just for the Big Guys

Rich Moncure of On-Hold MarketingRich Moncure notes that creation of a custom sound logo or original music can be surprisingly affordable on nearly any marketing budget. He adds that, “Coupled with the fact that few marketers employ customized sonic branding today create a stellar opportunity to capitalize on showcasing your brand in a unique and memorable style.”

Iconic visual branding has evolved over the years and is typically well recognized. The same is likely to become true of audio brands … sounds, including music and songs. Here’s an opportunity to be ahead of the pack in distinguishing your brand in your marketplace.

Audio branding is not just for the “big guys”. By enlisting the expertise of a capable audio branding consultant you can expect to enjoy only the best in professional voice artists and soundtrack quality music background … often at amazingly affordable pricing.




On-Hold Marketing