Sound Branding: How music can act as the glue to strike a cord with consumers globally

When it comes to building a global campaign, most people will naturally think of visual and copy content – expressing the universal truth with locally relevant images and articulating the global messages with copy that resonates with the local audiences. But telling the brand story isn’t just about what images and copy, an aspect of a global campaign that not many people invest in is how the brand “sounds”.

I am not referring to designing just a sonic element or trigger that appears in the campaign – the Intel’s “Bong”, the Nokia’s “Grade Vals”, or Motorola’s “Hello Moto”. These are valuable addition to the execution that could add memorability and longevity to a campaign, but they are not enough to help communicate the emotional side of the brand message. Consumers have also entered into a truly connected world where the use of sound cohesively across all touchpoints – online, offline, events and a diverse form of customer interactions. The sonic branding has to act as the glue for communications across time, territories and touchpoints, locally and globally.

The recent manifestation of the HSBC’s “Together We Thrive” global platform perhaps have done just that. A series of commercials have been launched communicating the message of “shared prosperity” (inspired by the Chinese name of HSBC 滙豐) and the diverse nature of the brand, building on the visual identity that the outdoor campaign kicked off last year. To allow the core brand message to be flexed in each local region, a bespoke piece of music has been composed, created by Jean-Michel Jarre, that allows endless local interpretations expressing intricate nuances.

Orchestrating a global campaign requires great leadership and vision from the top, and complete collaboration at the local level. Music can be a shared “language” that everyone can contribute and build on.

On an execution level, music, rather than just an add-on to an idea, can also become a platform to support multiple activation between customers and the brand. I am looking forward to seeing how this will develop in the coming months.

The Sound of HSBC series:

“Orchestral” edit

“Stadium” Edit

“Connected” Edit

“In Flight” Edit

“Wayfoong” Edit

“Mindfulness” Edit

“Inspiration” Edit

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