\u201cAudio is just a great medium for advertising because it\u2019s personal, and it\u2019s all happening in your imagination.\u201d The human body has five basic senses: sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing. In today\u2019s world, companies are engaging these five senses like never before. But hearing is taking center stage. With people always on the move, things like trendy smart speakers, podcasts, and music streaming now play an instrumental role in the world of brand recognition. By brands telling their story through an auditory experience, they create a sonic identity that customers and clients can recognize the next time they hear it. But does every brand story need a sonic identity? We all deserve to be heard. And your sonic identity can help make your brand synonymous with the sounds your customers or clients will hear. How you make a sonic identity is a different story. And there\u2019s plenty of industry-leaders that can teach us how to do it. A brief history of sonic identity Sonic branding has been around for a long time. The songs and jingles that make up your childhood are proof of that. Think of the sounds you remember: your mother singing you to sleep. A teacher calling your name in front of a classroom. A tv or radio jingle that you\u2019ll never forget. These memories stand out, staying with us long after they\u2019ve come to pass. For decades, global brands like Coca-Cola, Skype, and McDonald\u2019s have used music to create their sonic identities. Even an insurance company like Nationwide has used the same \u201cNationwide is On Your Side\u201d jingle for the last fifty years. And there\u2019s science behind the lasting power of audio. Music can evoke specific memories, taking us back to moments of joy, happiness, and comfort. When brands reach consumers on an emotional level through song, they\u2019re also creating a sonic identity that could define them for years to come. Sound examples of sonic branding Think about the fizz of Alka-Seltzer, the reassuring Nationwide jingle, or the metallic clanging of Pixar's now-famous lamp. What brands are right for the sonic industry? The answer: mostly, everyone. Songs and jingles We\u2019ve already mentioned how songs and jingles were the pioneers of sonic branding. But how are they evolving? According to Forbes, more Americans than ever are watching content through streaming services rather than basic cable. That\u2019s because they can binge-watch their shows faster and without commercials. Unfortunately, that means they\u2019re less likely to watch your commercials and ads, which means they\u2019re less likely to remember your brand. So how are brands reaching consumers with their advertisements? Podcasts and music streaming services. With the podcast industry picking up steam year after year and music streaming services dominating our ear lobes, brand jingles have found new mediums. By pitching their brands in ads before or after our favorite podcasts or songs, sonic signatures are leaving their mark. Now, we don\u2019t even have to hit the play button. All we have to do is ask. Voice assistants Do you remember the first time you heard Siri\u2019s voice? Almost immediately, the tech world associated the voice of Apple\u2019s personal assistant with all of their products and became the brand\u2019s sonic identity overnight. Now, hearing Siri\u2019s voice come from something that\u2019s not an Apple product might be considered blasphemous. Soon after, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon all released their versions of personal assistants. Whether you\u2019re asking Siri, Cortana, Google, or Alexa for some help, each one has become synonymous with their company\u2019s brand or products. The personalized assistants each have their own voices and create an iconic sonic identity that brings brands to life before our ears. Having a personal assistant may help us feel like we\u2019re not alone, and are getting stuff done faster. But other brands are using music to reassure our financial well-being. Credit cards connect with our emotions. Wait, what? Credit card brands like Mastercard now have their own sonic identities, and according to Chief Marketing Officer, Raja Rajmannar, the brand is all about human connection. When asked to describe Mastercard\u2019s sound logo, Rajmannar gave a lengthy response. \u201cThe Mastercard sound logo is universal, it is unifying, it is inclusive, it is inspiring,\u201d said Rajmannar. \u201cIt is memorable; it is pleasant, it is neutral, it is adaptable, it is versatile.\u201d That\u2019s a lot of words to describe a jingle, but Mastercard put plenty of work into their unique sound. The credit card company even hired professional musicians like Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park to produce their new anthem. After an 18-month process searching for the sound, they landed on a tune that\u2019s as adaptable as it is memorable. Mastercard\u2019s sonic identity is their signature touch and aims to provide customers with a sense of reassurance on every purchase. Their first-ever audio press release introduced audiences to various styles of the melody for different transactions around the world. Whether you\u2019re in Mumbai, Bogota, or San Francisco, the melody stays the same but fits the place you\u2019re in with a region\u2019s familiar instruments and styles. And with voice shopping expected to hit $40 billion worldwide by 2022, Rajmannar and his team are ready to soothe your ears with the swipe of a card. But how can your brand be prepared to have a sound of their own? How to convey your brand through sound You want your brand\u2019s sound to resonate so that people recognize it the moment they hear it. How you do that is focusing on these core principles. The melody When you hear a familiar melody, it connects with the hippocampus of our brains. Whether it\u2019s another Grammy-award winning single from Beyonc\u00e9 or Mastercard using the sound of music for a new purchase, melodies stick with us for a long time. Try jumping into a think tank with a live band or music producer, and you\u2019re bound to discover something special. Sonic logo expedites brand recognition Your sonic identity should have a sonic logo so that people know what your brand sounds like the moment they hear it. For example, Mastercard implements shorter sounds from their new song without straying away from its core melody. By pulling excerpts, they can diversify their sonic signature in a variety of auditory environments. This strategy creates a clear-cut sonic logo. The logo then greets every purchase with a sonic signature, but not every sonic signature is the same. In the same way, not every purchase is alike. When you hear the same signature sound over and over again, a brand becomes synonymous with its sonic logo. But as we\u2019ve already mentioned, a sonic identity is much more than just a 2-second excerpt. Target your audience What are your customers listening to? It\u2019s essential to identify your target audience because different generations in various regions of the world don\u2019t always listen to the same thing. Once you do that, digital music platforms like Spotify help you track what certain cities around the world are listening to most. For example, if your audience is in Portland and you need some inspiration, look no further than Spotify\u2019s \u201cThe Sound of Portland Oregon US\u201d playlist. But if your clientele is in Boston, this map will take you live inside the ears of a city 3,000 miles away. Create something easy to remember There\u2019s no reason to get avant-garde. Your sonic identity should be simple and identify your brand. Repetitive beats and memorable song lyrics allow your audience to retain your brand even more. If your sonic identity is a single sound or a voice, make sure it\u2019s soothing to hear. And by all means, keep it consistent. Turn up the volume Your customers deserve to hear from you. And you deserve to be heard. How you go about doing that is creating a sonic identity that reaches them on an emotional level. It\u2019s about providing reassurance, information, and something memorable that doesn\u2019t get annoying. Once your brand defines how it wants to sound, you can create your auditory DNA. From the sound logo to the musical inspiration, it\u2019s all about staying authentic while producing a unique sonic brand. And remember, you don\u2019t have to be like Mastercard and spend $15 million to do it. But a killer content strategy team can certainly help.