Who discovered sound?
An interview with John Groves, Managing Director of GROVES Sound Communications, conducted by Karsten Klepper, owner of KLEPPER-MARKENBERATUNG and Managing Partner of the Institute Corporate Senses, on November 27, 2009.
K. Klepper: Mr. Groves, you are often referred to as a Mr.’Bacardi feeling ’because of one of your most famous melodies. Why do brands need a sound logo at all?
John Groves: Especially in times of overstimulation and growing numbness of consumers, it is difficult to get through to the target group at all. The aim is therefore to use the ear as a channel of perception. The brand should be staged aurally through the ear. Sound branding creates identification, supports the differentiation of brands and charges them emotionally. Every company gets its unmistakable sound - see Bacardi - and thus has a strong orientation function for the target group. Because the ear also buys. Once a melody or a sound logo has buried itself deep in the consumer's subconscious, it is not far to reach the shelf.
K. Klepper: More than 40% already use the power of tones to build and consolidate their brand image. How do you explain this development?
John Groves: Marketing, an area that has traditionally always been very eye-dominated, is increasingly discovering the possibility of systematically using other human senses. The use of acoustic stimuli is already the case with many media. Think of the audiovisual communication via TV, cinema or the Internet. Ultimately, the topic of sound branding is a logical further development with the aim of a uniform acoustic brand perception. And studies prove it: through a stringently applied sound identity, a brand becomes media-
always perceived uniformly across the board and can thus anchor itself more deeply in the awareness of customers.
K.Klepper: Can you give us a brief example of successful sound banding?
John Groves: The acoustic brand component is anchored in the minds of customers and gives the brand an unmistakable image. This was not only shown by our Bacardi song, but also by the Telekom acoustic logo, which is most often cited as proof of the effectiveness of acoustic identity. Accordingly, most of the respondents spontaneously remember the acoustic logo of the telephone provider, followed by the typical heartbeat of Audi, the tone sequence from Intel or the anvil beat of the BMW logo.
K. Klepper: But the market is weak and companies are cautious. How do you estimate the chances of sound branding as part of brand management for companies today and in the future?
John Groves: An unmistakable brand image is important for companies, especially in times of slack consumption. And sound branding as part of multi-sensory brand management is sure to become more and more important here. Because the brand recognition value can be increased many times over, which of course increases the likelihood of purchase. This is elementary
tar for the brand manufacturers who are often under great competitive pressure. Through sound branding, the brands are able to support their uniqueness and conciseness in contrast to the competition.
K. Klepper: Keyword sensory branding: Is that an issue for you as a sound designer?
John Groves: Naturally. Sound branding is not an isolated discipline, but a component of multi-sensory brand management. Think of a movie ad, for example. In this, of course, auditory and visual stimuli must be coordinated. The big catchphrase here is - as you already said - sensory branding, i.e. addressing consumers on several sensory levels.
K. Klepper: What mistakes do you see in companies when using sound branding?
John Groves: While meticulous attention is paid to a uniform appearance with the imagery, the logo and the typography, many companies deal with the acoustic part of the marketing communication.
tion, however, often differs from project to project. It regularly puts me in a jam when I discover how many decisions are made without weighing up the options and analyzing the requirements precisely. This creates various sound elements for TV spots, trade fair appearances or telephone queues, which sometimes even work against each other. These are often neither tailored to the brand identity nor to the basic strategy and do not contribute to the brand.
K. Klepper: Mr. Groves, your company GROVES is one of the TOP FIVE in the sound branding industry. Which success factors would you name for this?
John Groves: I think our strategic approach is crucial here. A brand's sound is far too important to be left to chance. Brands need strategies. And so acoustic brand management also requires a system that is analytically oriented and takes empirical values and facts into account. Our sound branding modules and tools offer such a - logical and measurable - system and define a clear procedure. The creative work is then determined by clear parameters and not just by subjective liking or not
liked rated. Our job is to match the soundscape to the brand. Brand sound and thus the use of all music must be brought out of the tasteful and short-term view and placed on a solid brand-strategic foundation.
K. Klepper: You speak of a strategic approach: What exactly does it look like when companies want to match their sound branding to the brand?
John Groves: At the beginning of our work there is always an analysis of the brand that is involved. I first have to know which idea and message the brand wants to send and convey in order to be able to implement it acoustically. The solution then lies in an integrated, holistic and stringent implementation of the brand essence in the acoustic area. Here we work with the emergency sensor process. The Notasensorik derives evaluation standards from the core values of a brand for every sense, including the acoustic sense. An example: Companies that place more value on their high-tech image are more likely to rely on electronic instruments and artificial drum kits.
sounds. If the brand value 'Tradition' is to be represented, as can be clearly seen in the example of Audi, classical elements of strings, piano and brass are added to the modern drum sound.
K. Klepper: Which brings us to the emergency sensors: Sound branding as a component of multi-sensory brand management?
John Groves: Sound branding is of course a part of multi-sensory brand management. The emergency sensors are based on this. What use are isolated solutions without a holistic or direct reference to the essence of the brand. Not just for sound branding. This also applies to the other branding disciplines in the visual, haptic, gustatory or olfactory areas. For all these senses, the Notasensorik provides a clear derivation and translation of a brand value through special sensory coding. As a strategic, scientific foundation, so to speak. With the help of the emergency sensors, as a sound designer I know what tradition sounds like. Or progress. The brand value should be holistic, coherent and authentic. Not just acoustically, otherwise we would be back to an isolated solution. The whole thing, of course, still applied to the other senses. This then results in the further developed - because integrated - approach of the emergency sensor system. Which has also brought us as sound designers into a new dimension of professional work.
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