A great sound logo is an essential part of your brand sound – but not many people are aware of what goes into creating one. Here are the 4 steps to a fantastic-sounding logo
A custom sound logo is a brilliant branding asset that you get to own and use throughout your marketing platforms, and you can use it to shape how your brand is perceived and reach your audience on both existing and new platforms.
But how exactly is a sound logo created? Here are the four steps involved:
1. The Concept Phase
Based on your input about your brand, visual references, values, keywords, usage context and target audience, your chosen composer sets out to do a series of initial concepts. For ideas on how to inspire your sound logo composer, check out this guide I have written.
Once you’ve received the initial concepts from your composer, it’s time to start reviewing them to pick the one that works best with your brand.
Ways to do this can include trying them with your visual materials such as logo animations and videos, internal reviewing, feedback from your marketing department or agency, and group testing to gauge what sort of response you get on it from your target audience. Does it communicate what you’re looking for?
If you don’t find exactly what you’re after in the initial batch, see if any of the concepts are in the direction of what you need, and ask your composer to build from that. And if nothing works in the first batch, ask the composer for another round of concepts.
When it comes to deciding on your sound logo, here’s something to consider:
Group testing and external feedback on the concepts can be great to have – but in my personal opinion, the single-most important thing to look for in a sound logo is this:
Do YOU think it works for your brand, and would you be happy to use the chosen logo throughout your marketing materials.
Why is this so important? Research from SenseLab shows that the deciding factor in what makes a sound logo successful is how YOU use it. You have to consistently use it throughout your marketing to establish it as your sound and link it to your brand. And the more you use it, the more you cement it as your brand’s core logo sound.
That’s why it’s vital that you’re completely comfortable using it consistently on all applicable platforms going forward and establishing it as your sound.
2. The Polishing Phase
Once you’ve picked your preferred sound logo from the delivered concepts, it’s time to start polishing it.
Are the sounds, feel and rhythm exactly as you’d like them to be? If not, ask the composer to tweak the sound logo so it fits with your vision.
Consider doing more reviews on the various tweaked versions, and revise until you’re happy with the results. You now have your Core Sound Logo.
3. The Integration Phase
With your Core Sound Logo in place, it’s time to start thinking about the ways you are going to use it. If you have a visual logo – an animated one – for instance, you’ll want your sound logo to fit with this. Ask the composer to adapt the logo so it gels in with your visuals.
This can include adjusting the length or adding additional components such as lead-in or lead-out music, or having sound effects that are timed to the logo reveal.
If you’re in the process of reworking you branding materials, you can also consider having a new logo animation done, based on the sound logo. This gives your visual designers something to work from, and ensures that the visuals are completely in sync with your sound logo.
Be sure to put your visual designer and sound logo designer in touch, so they can collaborate on creating a complete logo package that works its very best.
Maybe you’ll be using variations of your sound logo, depending on the context where it’s being used. For instance, you might append it to your television commercials, use it in products or applications, or run it in campaigns with a specific theme. Ask your composer to do variations on the Core Sound Logo that fit with these purposes while still retaining the key elements that make it recognizable as your sound.
4. The Buyout
By this point, the development phase is essentially completed, and you’ve now reached a vital step: You want to make sure that you own the sound logo – and any variations of it – so it becomes your unique brand asset. Ask the composer for a full buyout so you’re free to use it in whatever context you want going forward.
Some composers may be members of a collecting society, an organisation that collects royalties on behalf of the composer based on the usage of their work. In this context, this may limit how you can use the sound logo – or at the very least, it can mean additional fees for you down the road.
This is why, for these types of projects, I normally recommend that you only work with a composer who’s free to sell you the full and exclusive usage rights. Some collecting societies may allow this – but others may not, so be sure to check this with your composer early on in the process to avoid wasting time and money.
Incidentally, since a buyout is vital to you owning your brand sound, this is why I’ve chosen not to be a member of any collecting societies or right’s organisations.
The buyout price will vary depending on factors such as the sound logo’s potential use and proliferation, the size of your company and brand value.
It’ll be a one-time payment and it’ll be well worth it for the freedom it offers.
After all, your brand sound will become yours to use exclusively; and one you can use on a myriad of platforms and contexts, for as long as you want. And importantly, there won’t be any additional fees to pay for it down the road.
I hope this has given you an idea of what goes into creating a successful sound logo.
Are you ready to get a unique sound for your brand to make you stand out? Drop me a note here – or use the contact form on the right-hand side – and let’s get started!
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