Tag Archives: Brain and Music

Term 9: Sound Icons

Sound Icons are sound branding elements in their shortest design. Common examples are signal sounds at the computer. A computer by Apple sounds different than a Microsoft PC. Another example are sounds in GPS devices. The objective is to trigger acoustic recognition: the development of a unique sound with character and emotional profile.

Do you agree or disagree with this definition? Is anything missing in the definition we use? Please post your ideas in the comments section.

Is music the international language?

When working on international Sound Branding projects clients often ask me whether music is international and can be used all over the world. So far to me classical, pop and Hollywood film music can be titled as international music which will be understood nearly all over the world. Nevertheless to be on the safe side on a Sound Branding project which is to be implemented worldwide local market research is the only safe way to go. You can imagine that the budget for such a research project is sky high.

So I am happy for every little piece of information about the recognition of music in an international setting, as academic research is limited. Now we have some more insights regarding this issue. It has long been debated which aspects of music perception are universal and which are developed only after exposure to a specific musical culture.

In a crosscultural study with participants from a native African population (Mafa) and Western participants results show that basic emotions in Western music can be recognized universally (Academic article: “Universal recognition of three basic emotions in music” Current BiologyVolume 19, Issue 7, 573-576, 19 March 2009).

In a first step the international researcher team … Continue reading

Instore Music – the power of emotional branding

Imagine, your are a brand manager responsible for all your branches, brand- and flagship stores (I hope you actually are…). These offer your brand great opportunities to reflect and thus communicate your brands image and emotional positioning through a unique music program.

Studies show that a music concept which fits to the brand, store and target group increases the time that customers spend inside the store. Overall, this leads to more purchases with a higher value – more revenue for your company – and brings additional value to the brand by strengthening its individual image.

However; instore music which supports your brand identity ….. Continue reading

Can music change people’s habits?

I just got a great video from a friend which underlines the power of music. It shows that music can even change habits of people. In a Stockholm subway station musical stairs were installed. Based on the incentive to play with music – each step represented a piano tone – many people took the stairs instead of taking the escalator.

From my perspective this case demonstrates… Continue reading

Another wake up call for Brand Marketers

A TIME magazine article titled “Neural Advertising: The Sounds We Can’t Resist” reflects the value of sound in advertising and underlines the importance of „everday sounds“: a baby laughing, fizzing soda, or the sound of barbeque. All these sounds activate certain parts of our brain and can set us in a different mood. That is true but if every diaper brand uses the laugh of some baby, what will be the difference? Which brand can actually own this sound? An everyday sound is generic! Continue reading

Why do some Sound Branding elements work some don’t? Does neuroscience gives us the answer?

A study of the Stanford School of Music which I believe has great relevance to the area of Sound Branding was already released in 2007 (Link to the news release), however; it has yet not been widely discussed in the field of Acoustic Identity/ Sound Branding.

Using brain images of people listening to short symphonies by an obscure 18th-century composer, a research team from Stanford has gained valuable insight into how the brain sorts out the chaotic world around it.

The research team showed that music engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention, making predictions and updating the event in memory. The study showed that peak brain activity occurred during a period of silence between musical movements. That may be the answer to the question why some Sound Branding Elements work much better (recognition & recall) than others.

The researchers caught glimpses of the brain in action using functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, which gives a dynamic image showing which parts of the brain are working during a given activity. Continue reading