Creating an Audio Identity for Your Brand

david ciccarelli of voices.com

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No one can deny the importance of branding in the modern marketplace. Yet, most business owners are so caught up in visual elements that they end up overlooking another critical aspect: Sound.

In the absence of auditory branding, podcasts fall flat, videos feel incomplete, and waiting on hold gets boring fast. These are the consequences when you ignore one of the strongest human senses, and it’s bound to hold you back.

Here’s what David Ciccerelli, CEO and Co-Founder of Voices.com, has to say about sonic branding and how it can help your business create a truly immersive customer experience.

Table of Contents

The role of sound in branding

It takes only 13 milliseconds to identify an image, but as bright colors and endless logos fill our screens, we’ve trained our brains to ignore the fly-outs, pop-ups, and drop-downs that marketers once swore by to get our attention. Our eyes are officially saturated. Advertisers ponder, What now?

“Sound represents a unique opportunity for marketers to tell their story in a deeper, more meaningful way,” David says. 

Over the decades, certain corporate jingles have become as repeatable as Marco Polo. Even the bootup sound of a personal computer is synonymous with its maker. These all represent elements of sonic branding.

“Creating a unique soundscape helps to drive home the tone and personality of your brand,” adds David. 

There are now more podcast listeners in the United States than there are Netflix users, and that’s just one example as a wave of audio-first experiences continue taking over the marketing landscape.

“Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse chats are leading us into a new, more authentic age of social media and marketing,” David explains.

Now more than ever, designing immersive customer experiences is crucial to success—and brands that lack distinct and memorable auditory elements are facing an uphill battle. So, where do you start?

voice actor

“Today’s businesses are using the human voice to educate, inform, and entertain their audiences on a whole new level,” David says, but he adds that it goes beyond voice-overs. “Your soundscape may utilize the voice of a particular individual or you could use synthetic vocalization. There may also be elements of musical quality.”

Sonic branding is as wide-reaching as its visual counterpart—it could include a sound that plays when your logo appears in commercials, a jingle at the start of your podcast, or a certain auditory effect that’s produced when a user interacts with your app.

Of course, the goal of sonic branding is not to create a massive soundscape, but to figure out where you can add distinct sounds to liven up the customer experience and bring your brand to life in a new dimension.

In many cases, identifying the best opportunities for sonic branding requires companies to evaluate the simplest and most mundane interactions.

Take, for instance, the fact that the average person spends 13 hours on hold every year. What do your customers hear while they wait? More than 80% of them would prefer branded messaging over silence, according to Cellular Marketing Magazine.

Once you start looking, you’ll discover that there are countless ways to use sonic branding to shape the customer experience. The only constraint? Your budget. 

Improving brand recognition

There’s a sea of branding opportunities out there, but most business owners rightfully hesitate before making a big investment. David has first-hand experience with that. 

“We bootstrapped for more than a decade before we raised an $18M Series A from Morgan Stanley out of Silicon Valley.” The company started out as interactivevoices.com in 2004, but with steady growth and new verticals on the horizon, the team decided to make a significant investment in the company image.

“Switching to voices.com was an aim to simplify our name and be more memorable, but it also set the foundation for a brand that could further evolve in the years to come.”

Voices.com office

Since finding its new name, Voices has continued to simplify and streamline its branding. They’ve dropped the .com from their logo, refined their typography, and thoroughly re-evaluated their own sonic branding. “That included composing a sound logo,” David explains.

With Voices being the leading marketplace to connect voice artists and businesses, sonic branding has helped solidify the company’s mission of bringing words to life. “Given our stake in the audio realm, it didn’t make sense for us to update our brand look without any consideration to how our brand sounds.”

With a sonic logo created, Voices was able to better leverage the rapidly growing audio-first marketplace. Now, the company has multiple podcast series that cater to brands, creative professionals, and voice-over artists. All of them utilize the elements of the company’s sonic brand to improve immersion and recognition.

When it comes to how that sonic brand was solidified, David has discussed the process of designing the new sound logo in great detail. He says that a key element of success was defining the personality of the company first, which the team describes as upbeat and inspiring.

David challenges companies to ask themselves, “If your brand were a person, how would they present themselves? What would their tone of voice sound like?”

He reinforces the importance of this exercise, stating: “A sonic brand isn’t just meant to be a melody that sounds pleasant—it has to communicate the emotional personality of the product or service your brand is putting out into the world.” That’s advice that business owners should take to heart when hashing out any branded element.

So, should you dive right in and start creating a sonic brand for your business? That depends on where you’re at now. While it’s always inspiring to eliminate the unnecessary hesitancy (and perhaps intimidation) surrounding sonic branding, you must remember the importance of timing.

Should you invest in sonic branding?

Before you invest in a sonic brand, you should evaluate the primary components of your brand—like name, domain, and logo. David led his company to invest in a premium name upgrade before moving to evaluate the sonic details.

Voices has also taken a piece-by-piece approach to rebranding by making small, thoughtful changes over time rather than conducting a risky overhaul of the company’s whole image. Striking a balance between business maturity and available resources is crucial to a successful refresh.

“If you move too early and you haven’t yet proven you’ve solved a real problem that the market values, those resources could be wasted. If you wait too long, it’ll be harder to re-educate your customers. Only the entrepreneur can decide the right time to rebrand,” David says.

For most companies, the best way forward is to clearly define the unique persona they want customers to remember. From there, they can identify areas that may need to be fine-tuned and decide where sonic elements could strengthen the personality and authenticity of their brand.

When it comes time to execute, consider partnering with a team that knows the value of strong, consistent branding. Voices is the ideal solution for companies searching for voice artists, audio production, and music composition services to shape their sonic brand.

With a strong vision and the right professionals to back it, your company can design a brand that resonates with your audience’s senses and cultivates authentic connections with each interaction. Just ask yourself, “What does the voice of my brand really sound like?”

About David Ciccarelli

David Ciccarelli is the CEO and Founder of Voices. In his position, he is responsible for guiding the company’s vision, executing its growth strategy, creating a vibrant culture, and managing operations. He is frequently published in Forbes and The Wall Street Journal and leads presentations at industry conferences throughout the year.

About Jacksyn

Jacksyn is a content marketing service that connects clients with a dedicated writing assistant and trained creative team to grow their brand. With a unique subscription model, robust software, and the top 1% of industry talent to back it, Jacksyn is better described as Content’s Best Friend.™

More from "Scaling Up"

Here at Jacksyn, we recognize that branding is critical to modern business. In our “Scaling Up” series, we sit down with founders to hear their stories about how they’re overcoming challenges in the areas of brand recognition and authenticity.

More stories coming soon!

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