More than Just Effects

Best Practice Series

More Than Just Effects

Sound Trademarks

In our most recent series of support articles, we have been highlighting the power and the value of sound effects. We have discussed how and why they are essential to your multimedia project as well as some of the technical aspects like formatting and file types. In this final article in our Sound Effects Solution Center, we are going to explore how you can utilize sound effects outside of individual multimedia productions. It’s called the Sound Trademark, and it can be a powerful contributor to your branding efforts.

A Sound Trademark is, essentially, exactly what it sounds like. A company will use a unique sound to associate a product or message with their brand. Either the company creates the sound on its own, or arranges with a third party to source and produce one.

Every organization has to create its own unique sound through a combination of music and effects. Once the sound is created, it is officially licenced to that company, which can then push it out to the public as much as possible so that when consumers hear that sound they will think of that specific company.

We’ve all heard these before and seen them on TV. Some of the most popular examples can be experienced right as a movie begins to roll. When you see the iconic lion from MGM and then hear it roar, you instinctively know that “roar” is MGM’s Sound Trademark. The same can be said for the trumpets that play during 20th Century Fox’s movie preroll.

The audio branding blog TreBrand lists some great examples of sounds that are associated with brands. TreBrand’s top 10 Sound Trademarks include: Intel, NBC, and McDonald’s, as well as 20th Century Fox and MGM, among others. All of these sounds are highly recognizable and are heavily associated with the brands they represent.

When you read the names of some of these brands, you will instantly hear their familiar  tunes in your head. Intel is arguably the most popular. The chip-maker’s five-note “sonic logo” was composed by Austrian composer Walter Werzowa and is tough not to remember it when you think of Intel. (Source:

While familiarity may be fun, there’s real money at stake. Research consistently shows the impact of sound on consumer behavior - and on the bottom line. In one eye-opening example, when the sound was removed from slot machines in Las Vegas, revenue fell by 24%.

With this in mind, brand recognition through sound can be a powerful tool to reinforce your market position as a brand leader, drive forward the concepts that audio media can help elevate your product/service, and ultimately boost the bottom line. Sounds good to us!.

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