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  • Michael Spencer

Soundings: images plus sound have a 2+2=5 impact

By Ronna Porter

***** Accessible ***** Inspiring **** Practical **** Relevant (to audio branding) **** Well-grounded

Brand Sense: Build Powerful Brands through Touch, Taste, Smell, Sight, and Sound by Martin Lindstrom isn’t a book (although, without qualification, it’s one I recommend that anyone with an interest in business strategy, branding, marketing or communications should read!) It’s a fountainhead of inspiration, ideas, and practical approaches via a whole community of innovators in anticipating a future certainty: consumer behaviour, attitudes and expectations of brands are radically changing. In his forward, Philip Kotler puts his finger on the resulting imperative:

“Distinctive brands (must) deliver a full sensory and emotional experience … It pays to attach sound, such as music or powerful words, or symbols. The combination of visual and audio stimuli delivers a 2 + 2 = 5 impact.”

The Brand Sense offerings have an evangelical tone of voice you will recognise from the world of internet marketing and social media (be warned, if this is not your thing!). They include a web community at (which you can access free of charge using a unique ID code in the book) plus the weekly video blog BRANDFlash, bring to life the always inciteful words of Benjamin Franklin: “Tell me and I’ll forget. Show me and I might remember. Involve me and I’ll understand.”

As an audio branding specialist, I’m intrigued to what extent Martin’s prediction – estimating that 40 per cent of the world’s Fortune 500 brands will include a sensory branding strategy in their marketing plan by the end of 2006 – has come true. “Quite simply, their survival will depend on it. If brands want to build and maintain future loyalty, they will have to establish a strategy that appeals to all our senses. This is a fact that no serious brand can ignore.” While I agree (well, I would, wouldn’t I!), its interesting to map the impact on these views of the continuing fragmentation of the media, and the diversity of way people are engaging with low cost technologies, be they the web, mobile phones, palm held devices, interactive television, touch sensitive displays, and so the list continues. Brand Sense is a first step down a long road to try to interpret future customer needs, and to create the emotionally-charged brands that meet them.

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