When you hear this sound, what brand comes to mind? How about this one? And even without an audible clue, what brand goes with the sound "Ding!"?
You probably can identify at least one of these, and likely all three (if not, see below for the answers). The reason they're so well known? They were developed for precisely one reason: to act as unique audio cues repeated over and over to help call the brand to mind.
A recent Mediapost article discusses the wisdom of this strategy. To reach today's fragmented, short-attention span audience, you need to appeal to the ears as well as the eyes. And in doing so, the consistent use of an audio cue is as important as the consistent use of visual cues:
[A] growing number of marketers are beginning to see the benefits of using audio, the sense of hearing, at a much higher level than ever before. They use music and sound as an integrated, planned, strategic communication tool rather than a lowly production afterthought. These marketers are creating the new discipline of audio brand identity and realizing a new area of competitive advantage.One of the clients I work with commissioned new instrumental music when they relaunched their brand a few years ago. Since then, they've stuck with it, working it into everything from their on-hold music to PowerPoint presentations. As a result of this audio branding, this client's TV spots are identifiable even when viewers' eyes are turned away from the TV. Their radio spots are identifiable the minute the music begins. And they're creating a message that's more sticky because it appeals to multiple senses.
One caveat: audio branding that works includes rights-managed music, commissioned instrumental music, and sound effects. IT DOES NOT INCLUDE JINGLES. Jingles are to be avoided at all costs, unless they're tongue in cheek or parodies of bad jingles. (And there's a very, very fine line between bad jingles and a parody of a bad jingle.) Why am I so opposed to jingles? Well, here's one reason. That should be plenty.
Answers: 1, 2, and 3. Not that you needed any help, of course.