MassiveMusic: sonic branding is relevant for B2B brands too

By Roscoe Williamson

In the past, it may have seemed that sonic branding was the preserve of behemoth global B2C brands with a stratospheric above-the-line spend. A myriad of superstar sonic logos such as Intel Inside, McDonald’s and Audi all battling it out for our attention at the of end of flagship TV campaigns.

This is no longer the case.

Now the number of B2B brands using sonic branding is rising. Here are five key drivers behind the rise of B2B sonic branding:

The explosion of B2B video marketing

Video marketing on LinkedIn is exploding. Using a clever tech stack of services like Salesforce and Marketo, sales and marketing teams can now automate content and target decision makers all the way down the purchase funnel. The problem is that a lot of competitor brands are doing the same thing. From top-of-funnel brand films down to bottom-of-funnel call-to-action films, there is sea of content out there vying for the attention of key decision makers.

This hardly comes as a surprise when according to Cisco, 76 per cent of executives watch business videos at least once per week and 40 per cent do so daily. Similarly, nearly two out of three will also opt for video content over text.

The need to stand out from the crowd

With so much B2B content out there, the challenge becomes ‘how do you stand out and stay front of mind’? Well, not using the same music as everyone else definitely helps. A large percentage of this content will be underpinned by library music. Due to the centralised way in which a lot of this music is sourced, ‘recurring sounds’ begin to present themselves across B2B industries. It’s not unheard of for competitor brands to be using the same bit of music on rival pieces of film content. There is a lot of exceptional library music out there, but it takes time to find and you need to know how to sound original.

By developing a sonic identity and integrating it into a branded music library, B2B brands can stand out. Not only will their music be completely original, but when done well, it should also contain a familiar sonic essence that promotes recall and builds brand equity over time.

Building brand equity

The idea of building brand equity through music is not new. It’s why the familiar four chord sequence, tremolo guitars and brass stabs still underpin much of the modern-day music in the James Bond franchise. The iconic musical brand has evolved and been reinterpreted over time whilst always unmistakably maintaining the sound of Bond.

A similar technique known as ‘watermarking’ can be used for brand music when utilised in video content across the purchase funnel, in turn increasing familiarity and driving decision making.

The importance of brand experience

Secondly, by creating a sonic logo and combining it with a branded music library, B2B brands can bind together the disparate parts of their brand experience. Whether it’s a sales team are presenting a new how-to demo or an an industry event or a trade show, a consistent use of brand music within these touch points can add cohesiveness to the brand experience.

The rise of flexible storytelling

Storytelling in B2B marketing is a trend that’s not going away anytime soon. We now see brands asking for flexible brand stories, from 140-character Twitter snippets to long form meandering narratives. Branded music can be flexible in a similar way. The right use of branded music in this context can dramatically increase emotional engagement whilst promoting recall.

Roscoe Williamson is head of branding at MassiveMusic.

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