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What does your brand sound like? Part 2.

#Audio, #Branding, #ExperienceDesign

Expanding on Part 1 of “What does your brand sound like?” Mark Heine, a Quarry Creative Director (and bass player), demonstrates ways to leverage music to say a lot about your brand—without saying a thing.


MARK: Coming soon to a brand near you. In fact—to your brand.


With rich media getting richer, music and sound are playing a growing role in marketing communications.

As we discussed in Part 1, leveraging music requires you to make proactive decisions about what your brand sounds like. Decisions which shape the way prospects will feel about you.

Where lesser brands regard music as audible wallpaper, the great ones leverage music as an opportunity.

That can spell the difference between making your brand a star—and hitting the showers.

Great brand communication is storytelling. And music is one of the best storytelling tools available. So how does it work? Ask this guy:

“In Gaffney, we had our own brand of diplomacy. Shake with your right but hold a rock in your left.”

Frank Underwood. Or better yet, ask House of Cards composer Jeff Beal, whose main theme tells you everything you need to know about the series—in music.

A dark, ominous bass line, underscoring the ‘Washington upside-down’ of the story. The right-hand piano derives from a ‘puppet master’ sketch Beal created for Frank Underwood. The strings, also dark and mysterious, create an ominous call-to-arms.

Then, Beal’s favorite part, a chord based on a collision of A major and A minor. That’s a big musical no-no. But to Beal, this is Frank Underwood, reminding us what his initials stand for.

So how do you apply that sort of musical storytelling to brand communication? Here’s an example of music from a video project we worked on at Quarry not so long ago.

This is the music, on its own: the opening portrays the old way of doing things. The music gives a nod to Benedictine Monks chanting. Slow. Ancient. Unchanging.

Then, a transition. A restless, more hopeful theme emerges as we introduce our client, and the solution.

Problem to solution: a musical alchemy lasting 40 seconds, and instinctively understood by the listener.

Sounds can instantly signal your brand, and have a Pavlovian effect in programs, apps and emails—almost every aspect of digital marketing.

Music in brand communications is no longer an option. It is an opportunity, to say so much—without saying a thing. ‘Cause with the right music, nothing is impossible.

I’m Mark Heine at Quarry, for Fresh Ideas.

Mark Heine is a Creative Director at Quarry, and stand-up bass player, who readily admits that playing the piccolo would make getting to gigs easier.