Your branding is missing something

Sound. Do you know what your brand sounds like?

Article after article encourages marketers to get visual. But in many cases sound goes hand in hand with visuals.

Consider the following uses of sound:

▪   Sound as confirmation of functionality: Think of the camera click that occurs when you take a screenshot on an Apple computer, or the swoosh sound that confirms your e-mail has been sent

▪   Sound as a product experience: You know that satisfying crunching sound you get when you’re eating potato chips? According to my friends at CORD, a sonic branding company, 80% of a person’s perception of that crunchiness is the result of sound rather than mouth feel.

▪   Sound as a reinforcement of brand attributes: Consider the sound of an electric toothbrush. When one manufacturer redesigned the buzzing sound of its toothbrushes to more closely communicate “clean, gentle, and white,” sales jumped.

It is surprising that sound and music have been missing in the healthcare marketer’s toolkit. Consider music therapy, defined by the American Music Therapy Association as, “An established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.” Included among music therapy’s uses are alleviating pain, counteracting depression, inducing sleep, and promoting movement for physical rehabilitation. Clearly, sound has a relevant place in healthcare.

And the need for sound may be even more critical as one of the most prevalent sounds, namely the Pharmaceutical Reps voice, is declining in the healthcare arena. According to Industry figures, the number of pharmaceutical representatives in the US has declined 40% in the last 8 years. So how can you fill the sonic void? Here are three thought-starters:

  1. Incorporate music into your relationship marketing programs. What if your e-mails came with different sound elements corresponding to the different time-points in the patient journey? For example, you could embed an encouraging 4-note tune in e-mails that are meant to buoy patients at tough points in their treatment. Or, use a song that helps convey a “You did it!” message once they’ve successfully completed treatment
  2. Use sound to brand a video series, whether it’s product- or condition-related. Video is an increasingly important venue for healthcare communication. Work towards having a consistent look, feel, and sound to your videos
  3. Think about the sounds associated with a disease state, say coughing or heartbeats: What could be a sonic signal of improvement? Can certain sounds be associated with progress?

So, when it comes to incorporating sonic branding into your branding, do any of these ideas ring your bell?