The year of the audio logo

As 2018 gets underway, it’s never been more important for the survival and success of brands to have an audio logo.

Sure, the brands you work with all have logos, fonts, corporate colours and other visual assets coming out the waazoo, but they’re totally unrecognisable to the naked ear. Which means in today’s visually cluttered world, they’re practically invisible.

Without an audio logo, the next great piece of work you put out into the world runs the risk of being lost in the proverbial noise, as people simply can’t consume any more visual stimuli.

Now, this shouldn’t come as a surprise to our German readers. After all, Germany is considered a leader in audio branding with events like the Audio Engineering Society Conference pushing the field forward every year.

But while I hope you’ll agree that investing in a set of audio assets provides brands with an incredible competitive advantage, it staggers us that some of the world’s most recognisable brands, such as KFC, Apple and Mercedes, have remained silent.

But their loss, is your gain. Because this just goes to show that incredible opportunities exist to (re)define a brand using audio. But don’t wait. Like any brand asset, audio logos (or ear marques) take time for consumers to associate with your brand. In our experience, it takes around 2 years of constant use for a brand’s audio logo to become recognisable. And who’s got time for that?

Thankfully, there’s a (relatively) low-cost and extremely effective way to speed up this process – radio.

Radio is still the most cost-effective way to get a sound to a large group of people and strengthen the connection between a brand and a new (or old) audio logo. By tapping into radio’s reach and frequently your audience on radio, we believe the process can be almost halved.

Once you have established your audio logo, you’ll be perfectly placed to exploit not only radio, but also all the shiny new audio-based products and platforms. Given audio logos only need a few seconds of ear-time to make an impression, they’ll be able to pop in subtle reminders throughout the day – between Siri reading you the news and the weather, or Alexa telling you your to-dos, or right before Google Home plays your favourite podcast.

If you’re an advertiser working with a silent brand trying to cut through ever-shrinking, overpopulated screens, hopefully you’re hearing the warning bells loud and clear.

Here are a few notable successes (and one epic fail) in the audio branding world.


You know the sound. Netflix cleverly plays their ‘babaaam’ logo before every title on their platform, making it one of the most well known audio logos in the world with sonic chops to cut thought on any medium that uses sound. As soon as you hear that short little blast you’re instantly transported to your couch.


Intel was years ahead of the pack with their friendly, yet futuristic, sounding logo which has been used to cut though every touch point imaginable. Even going as far as being used in their packaging. Pretty cool, eh?


When McDonalds launched a campaign in 2003 with Justin Timberlake’s “I’m Lovin’ it” it was the first time they had released the same set of ads worldwide. They would never have imagined that the “ba da ba ba ba” vocal hook would become as globally recognisable as the golden arches themselves.


The adrenalin and excitement of driving an Audi is captured perfectly in the well-known Audi heartbeat logo.

But like everything, it has to be right for the brand…


In 2007 Mercedes adopted an audio logo that was more Sixth Sense than marketing sense. After two years of scaring the bejeezus out of potential customers, they did a marketing ‘recall’ and dropped it all together. It was revealed later that their advertising agency just grabbed an existing sting from a sound library, which explains the lack of brand fit and individual sound character.

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