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I’m Lovin’ It: How Brands Design Sounds To Get And Keep Customers

Humans instinctively memorize melodies. That's why something like the Netflix sonic brand, or the Stranger Things theme song seem so catchy and memorable.
Humans instinctively memorize melodies. That's why something like the Netflix sonic brand, or the Stranger Things theme song seem so catchy and memorable.

Humans can hear 20 to 100 times faster than we can see. And that has a stronger impact on us than we might expect.

One study found that people shopping for wine in a store playing German music were more likely to buy German wine. When the store played French music, the purchasing preference shifted to French wine.

Subsequent studies have pushed that research forward: the type of music played can also alter people’s perception of the wine flavors. When peopled listened to powerful orchestral music while drinking red wine, they rated the flavor of the wine as 60 percent more powerful than when they listened to no music while drinking.

And companies have capitalized on our tendency to link emotions and decision-making to what we hear.

Sonic brands, also known as sound logos, are meant to inspire a Pavlovian positive response to a company. You’re probably thinking of a few right now. Some have been around for nearly a century, like the MGM Lion’s roar, while others are advents of modern technology, like the Netflix sound.

Voice is a key part of branding, too. A recent report found that the tendency of voice-assistants to use women’s voices, like Siri and Alexa, can reinforce gender biases.

How do companies design a a sound to generate business? How do they take advantage of the human instinct to memorize melody? And what happens when bias creeps into the design?

 

 

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