Sound Branding for JOSEPHS®. Brand Sounds and Sound Creation

Term Paper, 2014

25 Pages, Grade: 1,3


Table of contents


1 What is JOSEPHS®?

2 What is Sound Branding?

3 Who are the target audience?

4 Brand Sounds
4.1 Types of Brand Sounds
4.2 Examples of Sound Logos

5 Survey

6 Morphological Box

7 Sound Creation

8 Conclusion

9 Bibliography


Statutory Declaration

List of figures

Figure 1: Sound Branding - Basic element 1

Figure 2: Sound Branding - Basic element 2

Figure 3: Sound Branding - Basic element 3

Figure 4: Sound Branding - Basic element 4

Figure 5: Brainstorming for JOSEPHS® Sound Branding

Figure 6: Questionnaire for survey

Figure 7: Survey regarding sound attributes for a sound of an innovative company/organization

Figure 8: Evaluation of survey (sounds one to five)

Figure 9: Evaluation of survey (sounds six to ten)

Figure 10: Evaluation of survey (sound attributes)

Figure 11: Organizational chart about different student groups; Course: Innovation&Leadership winter term

List of tables

Table 1: Sound Branding elements

Table 2: Attributes of well-known Sound Brands

Table 3: Morphological Box regarding JOSEPHS® sound attributes

Table 4: Distribution channels


Environments for innovation are developing and changing faster than ever. In a globalized world of business, the right form of communication for the respective innovation might attract the interest of management.

Generally, communication of innovation is about “commercializing innovations successfully” (Hülsmann und Pfeffermann 2011, p. 97). This especially takes place in ‘customer’s heads’ when customers come to recognize an innovation as a real innovation and it is far more than just presenting a new product or service (Zerfass und Möslein 2009, p. VI). It seems to be important to strategically plan communication inside and outside of the company’s boundary. As the guideline of the European Commission “Communicating EU Research & Innovation” suggests: Targets, audience and message should be clarified, the desired outcome needs to be planned and objectives of the communication need to be clearly defined (European Union 2012, p. 5). These aspects need to be considered prior to getting started with any innovation communication project in order to make new innovations successful on the market. Successful means, innovations are diffused and realized by the market or society. There are many ways to transfer information out of boundaries of an enterprise. The following paper focuses on Sound Branding. Sound Branding is part of the Corporate Identity of companies which belongs to “Promotion” of the Marketing-Mix.

The goal of this paper is to strategically define the message which is supposed to be delivered by the sound (sound for JOSEPHS® Nuremberg) and to determine the respective criteria for the sound being created. After theoretical definitions and this strategically preparatory work, there will be notes about the sound creation phase and a short conclusion.

1 What is JOSEPHS®?

“JOSEPHS® - The Service Manufactory” is a project of Fraunhofer IIS (Ulrich 2013). It is part of the Service Factory Nuremberg which is a service provider that can initiate, promote and develop innovative services and test their marketability (Schneider 2010).

JOSEPHS® will be an innovations theme park and an open laboratory for service development in the inner city of Nuremberg. It is going to open in spring 2014 and will provide a whole service-innovation process with the inclusion of customers and users. Practical and academic knowledge of companies is going to be combined with the user’s practical experience at a physical location in Nuremberg (Fraunhofer IIS - Arbeitsgruppe SCS 2013).

2 What is Sound Branding?

Sound Branding is a synonym for audio branding, music branding, sonic branding, and acoustic branding. It defines the use of sounds in order to create a strategic, own brand acoustic presence. Hence, Sound Branding, as a “tool” of promotion, is increasingly becoming an important element of brand management through the use of memorable tones and melodies (Steiner 2009, pp. 35-36).

What can Sound Branding be used for in particular? Sound Branding enables, for instance, the opportunity to increase brand awareness (brand identity), it supports differentiation from competitors (brand distinction) and lastly consumers might build a deeper connection with the product or service (emotional connection) by applying Sound Branding (Steiner 2009, pp. 59-61) .

However, Sound Branding involves thinking about music in a strategic way. It manages how a brand, product or service is supposed to sound in order to ensure a positive effect. Therefore, Sound Branding extends visual communication with an audio identity (Steiner 2009, pp. 31-37) . Visual Branding describes the whole strategy of a company in order to stand out and gain the attention of the targeted audience by the various use of messages from brands, products and services . Core values for this strategy are logos, colors, fonts, packaging, names, tag lines and advertising copies as well as the look and the feel of products . These are all visual outputs, which can be extended by the use of sound and music during the branding process (Bruhn und Hadwich 2012, pp. 338-340) .

However, the power of music is great in triggering memories . Therefore melodies and Sound Logos are very useful instruments in branding . By combining visual and audio elements, the branding effect can be reinforced. While visual information need to be processed and interpreted by the brain first before getting the actual meaning, sound and music influence emotions directly on a subconscious level. According to that, several characteristics of music have an impact or influence a person’s life. Music for instance could be motivating, mood changing or able to bring up memories which might then lead to certain kind of actions or emotions (Bronner und Hirt 2009, pp. 35-49). Although these kinds of reactions differ in each individual, due to personal music tastes, music also has a community aspect which can be used as a tool in Sonic Branding strategy. While the communal aspect refers to the phenomenon of people desiring to be a part of a community, branding tries to manufacture such environments by providing the target audience with specific experiences which foster the sense of being part of this community (McMillan und Chavis 1986).

3 Who are the target audience?

In order to get a high degree of interaction in the service innovation process JOSEPHS® target audiences consists of users and customers. Users are companies with a high interest in developing services. Customers on the other hand are real people from the street (Roth 2013). Nevertheless, the service factory depends highly on both groups - therefore the respective Sound Branding has to reach customers and users at the same time. Our Sound Branding does not differ between users and customers but much more tries to reach all economically attractive audiences.

4 Brand Sounds

4.1 Types of Brand Sounds

While Sound Branding or audio branding describes the general concept of utilizing sounds to convey a certain message for a company, there are a plethora of different techniques in use today. In the following section an overview of the most widely spread Sound Branding formats will be given.

Almost obligatory for every company with broadcast advertisement is the use of a distinct Sound Logo. This short sequence of notes is designed to provide a clear recognition of value for the listening customer.

Another widespread application is the Jingle. Usually a bit longer than a Sound Logo, it uses speech or vocals to symbolize the company or product name, or its slogan to the listener (Völckner et al. 2011, p. 316). Often a Jingle utilizes a brand voice: a prominent voice actor in this field is Manfred Lehmann who provides the German voice overs for actor, Bruce Willis who has lent his voice to companies like World of Nightlife in Nuremberg or the Praktiker hypermarket chain.

Other techniques are used for creating a certain atmosphere in the background of a commercial or website experience: While background music often features existing instrumental music, a soundscape is a specifically created sequence of more abstract sounds to match the accompanying imagery (Kastner 2008, pp. 70-71).

Finally there are also more elaborate ways to use Sound Branding in a company: the brand song. This full length title is often separately distributed and if successful can impact upon the company’s public perception for a long time, such as the hugely successful “Barcadi Feeling (Summer Dreamin’)” by Kate Yanai was able to do (Steiner 2009, p. 45).

The table below provides a more detailed view of the characteristics and attributes of each type.

Sound Logo and Jingle are the most popular methods and can be used in most advertisement-related scenarios and. Therefore the author elected to pursue these two options for the development of a JOSEPHS®-specific Sound Branding in this paper.

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Table 1: Sound Branding elements (in accordance to Steiner 2009; Kastner 2008; Völckner et al. 2011)

4.2 Examples of Sound Logos

In this section some well-known Sound Logos will be presented according to their attributes. Such an overview may be helpful for getting a good overview regarding attributes and characteristics of existing sounds. This knowledge and theoretical knowledge taken from literature (see previous section) might provide a basis for our sound creation phase.

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Table 2: Attributes of well-known Sound Brands (in accordance to

Literature does not provide any definition for these attributes. However, some of these attributes might be useful for an “innovative sound” and therefore these terms are being shortly explained in the following:

- A filtersweep is a smooth flow of the instrumental part, utilizing a variable medium frequency, which is responsible for creating a consistent atmosphere in the piece.
- Percussiveness is defined by hard-hitting and often loud drum elements. In advertisement it is often used to simulate a heartbeat, suggesting vitality and progressiveness.
- Consistent sphere means that elements of a sound are aligned in a sound range without disorder of different melodies and without disorder of different tones.
- Finally, synthesized elements can be described as artificially fabricated sounds that often imply a futuristic theme.

Some of these attributes are part of our created sound for JOSEPHS®. In section “7 Sound Creation” there will be more information about these respective elements.

5 Survey

The decision criteria for the created sound and its elements are based - amongst others (literature) - on a survey. In order to obtain a significant result, a sample size of 50 participants was chosen. The survey was performed in Nuremberg city center and on campus of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg to reach diversified participants. As already discussed, the theoretical research revealed that a Sound Logo is most suitable for the purposes of a Sound Branding for JOSEPHS®. Therefore, the survey focused on the characteristics of a Sound Logo. The layout of the survey is attached in appendix 2 and appendix 3.

In the first question all participants were asked about their associations with the terms “service innovation” and “product innovation”. The objective of this question is less directly linked to attributes of the later created sound, but should rather serve as objective ideas and inspirations for the creators. For the second part of the survey, the participants listened to the Sound Logo or the Jingle of ten famous brands. After every sound they were asked if they liked the sound on the one hand and if they were able to assign the according company on the other hand. The goal of the third part of the questionnaire was to work out which attributes are considered to fit to an innovative company like JOSEPHS®. The participants were asked to evaluate the attributes sound rate, sound length, sound volume and the kind of sound. The exact questions and the possible response options are shown in figure 7 in appendix 2.

The results of the question about the popularity showed, that the heartbeat sound of Audi and the melodic sound of Ubisoft are most favored, while the simple tone of Facebook is not perceived as pleasant. The memorable melody of Intel turned out to be the most recognized Sound Logo. Concerning the attributes of an innovative Sound Logo, a varying sound rate, as well as a varying sound volume seem to be most favored. The optimal sound length is considered to be between four to ten seconds. As 25 participants prefer the Sound Logo to be without speech, while 21 participants voted for the addition of speech, the outcome of the questionnaire indicates to create two versions of the sound. A detailed analysis of the surveys’ results can be found in appendix 4 to 6.

The different company sounds are handed in on a CD in addition to this printed paper.

6 Morphological Box

In order to summarize and analyze all the collected data, the approach of a morphological analysis offered a suitable framework (Ritchey 1998). According to the morphological approach, the first two steps of the five process steps were realized by reviewing the literature and the conducted survey. In the following stage the morphological box, which should contain all collected and task related data, was constructed in a compressed way. However, narrowing down the criteria as well as the related values to the most significant factors was inalienable because we were just focusing on the sound creation of a Sound Logo and a Jingle instead of considering the wide range of different types of Brand Sounds. Therefore, just displaying values suitable for Sound Logo and Jingle made sense to us. After, respective values fitting best to our innovative sound were selected (see table 3, values in bold).

These certain values funneled down the basis for our sound coming from a multitude of attributes and sound elements from literature and our survey to just a couple of attributes and elements in the morphological box. This approach allowed us to focus on the most important and suitable ones in order to be able to make a sound which really fits the needs of JOSEPHS®.

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Table 3: Morphological Box regarding JOSEPHS® sound attributes

7 Sound Creation

In this section the creation of the respective sound for JOSEPHS® will be presented.

Sure, we got some basic attributes from the morphological box. But the big question was how to apply these attributes and at the same time and how to transfer an adequate message to the audience?

While we were having a look at our brainstorming, which we had conducted prior to starting this project (see appendix 1), we remembered some buzzwords such as “light bulb”, “start of a rocket” or “explosion”. Basically these terms imply an idea and consequently a sound at the end of an ideation. Nevertheless, we decided to use a heartbeat as the basis of our sound which ends with a “bing-tone” representing a flashing light bulb. Moreover, the sound includes an element which sounds like a sparkling triangle (see figure 3). This sound is supposed to lead to the “bing-tone” of the light bulb, representing the new idea.

All in all, four sound elements were chosen. The first element (figure 1) is a heartbeat, which is getting faster in two steps. It represents a development as well as tension which is usually built up in the “idea transformation process”. This element includes a varying sound volume, varying sound rate and sound percussion. As mentioned in section 4.2 percussiveness generally suggests vitality and progressiveness. This can be interpreted as the idea information process of the user while visiting JOSEPHS®.

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Figure 1: Sound Branding - Basic element 1

Figure 2 shows the JOSEPHS® sound, a melody that has a consistent sphere. There is a clear sequence of notes and the melody is supposed to be decent and understated.

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Figure 2: Sound Branding - Basic element 2

The third element is the melodized idea transformation, a sparkling triangle sound followed by a light bulb-sound which itself depicts the processes’ result.

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Figure 3: Sound Branding - Basic element 3

The final element, which was chosen by 21 of the survey participants, is the spoken slogan of JOSEPHS®. This is an optional element and it is only in use in the Jingle.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 4: Sound Branding - Basic element 4

For our project we used a trial version of the sound creation software Ableton Live. It comprises of different sounds and effects. These can be modified and combined in diverse audio layers.

The used effects and sounds were added to the compressed file which will be handed in as well, giving other developers the opportunity to modify the sounds in future.

8 Conclusion

Big companies are easily recognizable by their unique sound. Behind these unique sounds, however, lies an elaborate strategy of Sound Branding. It is an interesting task to develop such a strategy for a still unknown but innovative start-up project. In the process of developing a suitable sound, the target audience had to be defined first followed by determining the message which is supposed to be delivered by the JOSEPHs® sound. This strategically preparatory work made it easier to convert strategic criteria into sound attributes and sound elements.

However, literature review and the survey conducted led to the creation of a short Sound Logo and a Jingle. The resulting design of the JOSEPHS® sound tries to illustrate the idea transformation process with auditive media. With the creation of this Sound Logo and the Jingle, the basis for a strategic Sound Branding for JOSEPHS® is provided.

Note: We did share our Sound Logo and Jingle to other student groups (see appendix 8) in order to spread these further. As the internet as a distribution channel has a lot of benefits for such Brand Songs (see appendix 7) and most student groups had projects linked to the internet (such as social media campaigns or video) we assume that the distribution of our respective sounds has been successful. But, in future, a wide-ranging dispersal to other potential channels such as cell phone app or even radio is essential for a successful propagation of the sound.


Excerpt out of 25 pages


Sound Branding for JOSEPHS®. Brand Sounds and Sound Creation
Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg
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sound, branding, josephs®, brand, sounds, creation, sound branding, nürnberg, nuremberg, information systems, wirtschaftsinformatik, jingle, sound logo
Quote paper
Johannes Köck (Author), 2014, Sound Branding for JOSEPHS®. Brand Sounds and Sound Creation, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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