By Geraint Evans, Sales and Marketing Director, Avanta Serviced Office Group

Businesses spend thousands, some even millions on branding but could they be missing a trick?

For years brand guidelines for most businesses have deemed the visual aspect to be most important. The brand identity lies within the corporate image which is based on the logo and strapline, and the essence of which then gets launched throughout all collateral. How many of us however, recognise brands through sound?

Take Apple. Although almost everyone recognises the logo of the apple with a bite taken out of it, we are also familiar with the tune that our phones and laptops make when they ‘wake up’.

And then we have Nokia. Although the logo may not be so instantly memorable we certainly haven’t forgotten the ringtone which is the most played sound in the world, being played around 1.8 billion times every single day. Now who wouldn’t be able to recognise this? And that kind of exposure is costing them nothing.

Once we recognise a brand, it gets associated with our opinion of the brand within seconds. These opinions can then last a lifetime.

Recognition + association = brand awareness

As a multi-screen nation, businesses are now finding it harder and harder to get recognised. With excessive amounts of competition, our eyes no longer take the time to notice adverts on the tube, or even spot the 6 metre poster in Piccadilly Circus – both of which cost businesses thousands of pounds.

Spotify however, has not only revolutionised listening to music, it has revolutionised advertisement. In the US, it is estimated that over 94 million users listen to digital audio. Out of those 94 million users, over half will have heard audio adverts in between songs. Digital adverts are a fraction of the cost of a billboard advert on the tube, and have proven to increase brand awareness by a whopping 21%.

Sound is also one of those senses that can affect us in more ways than one; it affects us physiologically, psychologically, cognitively and behaviourally. Years and years of evolution have psychologically conditioned us to associate certain sounds with certain emotions. There are generic associations such as the sound of waves with relaxation, to remind us of the feeling of being on holiday, to recognising a song that you heard in your childhood that perhaps makes you feel nostalgic.

Sound is a language, and if used in the correct manner at the right time it can create powerful relationships. Brands these days have the opportunity to create long lasting relationships with their customers and, by getting their sound right, they are making their brand consistent – resulting in brand awareness and essentially positive reinforcement.

Whether you’re a retailer, office based or run a one man business – think about who your audience is, tailor the sound of your brand to them and make sure you keep it consistent with the rest of your brand! And don’t forget, every single sound that happens within your business and comes out of it, from the voice of your customer service, to the music your ‘on hold’ machine plays - is your brand.

Use it cleverly.