McDonald's' sign in Harlem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The voice of McDonald’s is a worldwide contest to discover, recognize and reward the most talented singers among the more than 1.7 million employees working in McDonald’s restaurants. From a branding perspective it’s a nice combination of employer branding, employee motivation and public relation. The competition was kicked off in 2005 and in 2011 more than 20,000 employees entered Voice of McDonald’s IV.
I just came across this TV commercial which I would like to share with you. It’s from the BC Lions football team and it’s already from the year 2004 but it’s a great example how you can make a great spot without music, however; with a great voice character and a sound at the end which could be part of a unique Sound Branding (Do you feel the impact when suddenly the cheering kicks in?). Enjoy it!
First of all thanks to the organizing team & the initiators of the Audio Branding Congress (in the front row): Cornelius Ringe, Kai Bronner and Rainer Hirt!
Again it was another fascinating get together of Audio & Sound Branding Experts, Scientists and Brand Marketeers. The second international Audio Branding Congress took place in Hamburg, Germany, last Friday the 8th of November 2010.
One of the highlights was the presentation of the Audi Sound Branding case. However, and for me surprisingly, this case was discussed quite controversial after the presentation and especially at the get together party in the evening. Critics argue that the new Audi sound branding is missing a clear and memorable theme which is implemented in all commercials. At the moment the core elements of the Audi Sound Branding are: 10 instruments with a “unique” sound character, a motif and elements of the Sound Logo. These elements can be “re-arranged” by the individual musicians. They call it “Audi sound studio”.
Thanks to the feedback from Tim Noonan, voice branding expert from Australia, this definition has been improved:
Brand Voice is the voice that best reflects the ‘personality’ and brand values for a product, service or organisation. The most important aspects during the selection process of the brand voice are accent, gender, perceived age, tone, pitch, volume, rhythm and recognition value. Once a brand voice is chosen it is crucial to obtain exclusive usage rights, at least for your field of business, if not your brand voice could even harm your brand, particularly if the same voice is used for your competition, thus diluting or distorting your brand.
When selecting the Brand Voice the same voice should be considered for use across multiple channels associated with the brand, such as automated telephone services, advertising, instructional audio and of course within the product itself, if it is self-voicing.
It was like a little earthquake last summer for all branding gurus who claim you should never change your brand name. To this date – especially for all big international brands the rule was: never change your name in spelling and pronunciation! One brand in all markets!
And Pepsi did just the exact opposite. It changed its brand name in Argentina to “Pecsi”.
There is even an official Pepsi, sorry Pecsi website about pronunciation and it reflects in a humorous way how people from Argentina pronounce english words in a different way, e.g. “Rocanroll”, “Daunlos”. Continue reading →
Did you ever watch the original versions of “Die Hard” or “Forest Gump” and afterwards the same movies in a foreign language?
Yes, well, then you certainly know that Bruce Willis and Tom Hanks have very different voices in your language compared to the original movie. Assuming that you have seen a few original movies by these actors you will feel awkward about their transition. Our voices carry a heavy load of implicit information. Thus hearing a familiar voice our brain is conditioned to draw from all our previous experiences with the character traditionally belonging to this voice. A known character with an “unfamiliar” voice will be irritating to us.
This has implications for all brands which try to establish a corporate voice. The crucial question is: how can you transfer your brand voice character from one language to another? Continue reading →