Have you ever seen babies turn their heads to jingles on TV or radio. The SnH used to crawl at 100kmph to watch his favourite ad. My nephew used to sit patiently on his grand mom`s lap till the title song of his favourite mythological serial, crawl away and would promptly come back to hear it play again during end credits. During the DoCoMo launch days we used to have singing competitions between your truly, SnH and ToW (Ahem! ok Braying from my side).
The Sound byte takes the place of a logo sign off in visual communications. Where sound scores over sight is that the person listening could be concentrating on some other activity. The sound reaches him and his brain records and associates the brand/product.
The earliest sound branding in India, I guess, would be All India Radio’s start up tune. Risking the fact that everyone will realise how ancient I am, remember the startup tune to Doordarshan? These I don’t think were conscious branding decisions, but standard tunes. The first one at least in my memory was Britannia. They have maintained the sound byte even after the rebranding exercise. The instrument Ting tingta Ting was changed to a vocal one.
The Airtel A.R. Rahman tune is one which every AirTel user has had on his mobile at some point of time. The same goes for the Nokia tune. Intel`s Sound bit has been expanded in all their ads, Britannia again takes first place in that. Remember the commercials in which the kid says ting Tingta ting. (Sorry am lazy to hunt all those video links).
The Liril Bathing beauty tune was as easily recognisable as the Beauty. Liril continued using the voice byte even after the model changed. Any of the common jingles were all sound branding examples. These were never conscious branding decisions but did the job nevertheless.
Both the Korean giants Samsung and LG have gotten on to the signature Brand Tune, though the consistency of use is not there.
There is a host of subliminal level applications of brand sound bytes, like embedding them in other places. That would be another post...
The human brain can perceive and distinguish five senses - sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. Sight has been used extensively by marketers. Now sound has been explored. What about smell the most primal of senses. Couldn't brands exploit the smell - what is the smell you associate with your favourite brand of shirt. Does tea Rose or lavender evoke the memory of a long lost girl friend or your courtship days. It does! Now you know what I am talking about. What does your favourite airline smell like, or what smell do you associate with Indian railways ;-)
From smell to touch and taste is just a tiny step.