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Soundings: sonic branding – new edition needed

by Michael Spencer on Wednesday 20th of June 2007

By Ronna Porter

*** Accessible
*** Inspiring
*** Practical
***** Relevant (to Audio Branding)
*** Well-grounded

There are only a handful of books that focus on the subject of audio branding, particularly in an accessible, jargon-free form that gives practical instruction to those with an interest in integrating sound and music into their business strategy, branding, marketing, and communications.   As probably the first such book, Sonic Branding: An Essential Guide to the Art and Science of Sonic Branding by Dan Jackson, has the disadvantage of appearing naive in an increasingly sophisticated world. One where consumer behaviour, attitudes and expectations are changing at breakneck speed, and companies are searching for ways to create ever more richly-imbued, emotive, and personally meaningful brands as they strive to be distinctive and reinforce relationships of
loyalty and trust.

Sonic Branding is a fairly easy read, and what it lacks in robust research-based underpinning (there is now a huge body or relevant research available), it makes up for in the many anecdotes and examples, predominantly British ones but some more globally recognisable, that it draws upon. The resulting methodology and recommendations need to be `handled with care’ in light of this. That said, it’s worth reading if only for the insights gained from transcripts of interviews with representatives of the Wolff Olins, Greenhill McCarron, and the Radio Advertising Bureau.

I’d personally welcome a new edition reflecting the passage of time since its 2004 publication, and giving credence to the continuing fragmentation of media and penetration of low cost technologies, such as the web, mobile devices, and interactive TV to name but a few, all of which are hungry for audio content. This more mature edition, will benefit from (1) a deeper application of psychological and commercial research, (2) a tighter focus on the information needs of the reader in light of market factors they face, and (3) a demonstration of how the intervening years consulting in this field have resulted in a more dependable and applicable methodology.

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