Howard Audio creates the new sonic branding for Consol Glass
Us ad folks tend to spend a whole lotta time and money on the visual elements of a brand, and sound often ends up being one of the last things we consider. While taking us through Howard Audio’s process of creating the new sound for Consol Glass, Adam Howard woke us up to the importance of audio branding and why we should all be paying a lot more attention to the sound a brand makes. If you’re anything like us, now is about the time when you’re going: ‘Audio branding? HUH?’ But stick around, you’ll thank us later.
So what is Audio Branding?
Using sound to express a brand’s identity seems pretty straightforward right? First, spend all the millions on filming the commercial and then obvs add some background music, perhaps a voice-over (maybe you can even get someone that sounds like James Earl Jones), and, if there’s time, throw in a catchy jingle: ♫Come to Bathroom Bizarre. That’s B. I. Z. A. R. R. E. Come to Bathroom Bizaaaaaarre ♫ Simple enough! Not quite…
Adam describes audio branding as a fundamental touchpoint when communicating a brand to the world. According to him, the sound that consumers associate with a brand is a way to amplify a brand and cement the brand’s identity in their minds. Adam soon takes note of our glazed-over, confused looks as he passionately rattles off about a subject that is very close to his heart and very foreign to ours. He changes pace and uses some examples instead: ‘We all know how powerful logos are right? Just think of the Nike Swoosh for instance. Sound can be so much more powerful and yet it’s often overlooked. The same way we have design logos, we can also have audio logos. Think of the McDonald’s ‘Ba da ba ba ba. I’m loving it’ or probably the most famous; the Intel bong sound composed by Austrian composer Walter Werzowa. What about the 20th Century Fox intro, the Skype connection sound or the British Airways boarding tune which is actually the Flower Duet by Lakme?’ Don’t know all of those? Here’s Adam to remind you…
20th Century Fox
Seduced by these familiar sounds, Adam knows he’s got all our attention and continues: ‘Now let’s go even further; think of the ping sound your phone makes when you get a WhatsApp, or the sound your Samsung TV makes when you switch it on. How about a car door closing? Audi has an entire department of sound technicians designing the sound of the R8 – from what the electronic vehicle sounds like while driving to the noise of the indicators. Now think of the sound a Zippo makes, or a Harley Davidson – these are all considered, evocative, and integral elements of these brands and how we perceive them.’
The deeper Adam got into the importance of a brand having a sound, the more we realised how much we take sound for granted. In short, we pretty much spent the next two hours of the interview like this…
Creating the Audio Logo for Consol Glass
Audio branding is clearly a huge category, so for Adam to truly open our eyes and ears to the importance of audio branding, while simultaneously showcasing a whole other facet to what Howard Audio offers the industry, he shared a behind the scenes video of how Howard Audio created the *Audio Mnemonic for Consol.
*Adam calls it a ‘mnemonic’, but we can’t even pronounce that, so let’s stick with audio logo.
Watch the making of the new Consol Glass sound
iDidTht: How did this Consol project come about?
Adam: Consol’s agency, Grey Africa, approached me and said they wanted audio branding for Consol that can relate to all the brand’s identities. My passion is getting inside a brand and ripping apart its genetic makeup and I knew I would have to do that with Consol to find their sound. It was also very important for them that the audio mnemonic (that’s ‘audio logo’ for us mere mortals) be made from the sound of glass – it’s a no brainer though because glass is so musical. We had meetings after meetings and went to test the products in the Consol shop – touching the products and then living with the products for about 3 weeks.
iDidTht: How did you know when you finally had the right sound?
Adam: When all the experimenting was done we tried the new sound on different historical Consol ads to see how it would work across all the brand’s content. The feedback was that it all seemed a little bit too musical to be used on a lot of different mediums and a shorter mnemonic would be more fitting. Then we experimented with using fewer notes and eventually we stripped it down to one note. I felt it was clear, precise, and pure. It cut through everything. Sure, theoretically I could have composed that mnemonic in ten seconds, but we had to go from a big musical mnemonic down to a sound design in a way because that note means so much.
The Consol project, although it was a great brief, really shows Howard Audio’s commitment to going above and beyond. After what we could only describe as a masterclass from Adam on audio, we don’t think we will ever NOT think about what a brand sounds like and you probably shouldn’t either…
Produced by the iDidTht Content Studio – Credits: Anne Hirsch (Writer) / Julie Maunder
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