Sonic Branding: A Power Play For Sports and Entertainment Brands


A Look Back at the Leaders 4se Conference

In the world of sonic branding, if sports teams and organizations sound the same, no one stands out and fans check out. Branded sound expresses unique core values and creates an emotional preference for one sport, game, or team over another. Uniqueness is vital.

This was the topic of conversation at a recent 4se New York panel “Why Audio Branding is a Marketing Game-Changer”. Michael Boumendil, founder of Sixième Son, and Nathan Strawn, Senior Group Manager of Branding Strategy at TD Bank, discussed their perspectives with an audience of senior thought leaders and innovators in the sports, music, fashion, and entertainment industries.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 22: at Chelsea Industrial on May 22, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe / Getty Images for Leaders In Sport)

The Power of Sound in the Sports Industry

Nathan recalled his experiences at Raiders games. There’s a chant specific to that team alone. “Raaaaaaaaiderrrrrrrrrs”. It puts Raiders fans in the mood. There’s no denying where they are. “It’s not a Chiefs game or a Steelers game. It’s a Raiders game.”

“Sound offers a sense of belonging,” Michael explained. “The more unique the sound, the stronger the fan’s devotion can grow.” With sound being everywhere from social media, to the ticketing process, to within the game itself, the opportunity to find this unique sound is front and center.

Nathan added that the sound also must be memorable and repeated. He referenced brands such as Intel, McDonald’s, and State Farm, all of which have been repeating their signature sounds for years. “Data proves that repetition is key.” The trick, according to Michael, is that it has to be interesting. That interest is built through an audio vocabulary.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 22: at Chelsea Industrial on May 22, 2024 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for Leaders In Sport)

Crafting a Sonic Identity : Strategy and Objectives

Like traditional branding methodology, a sound strategy follows the same playbook; analyze, visualize, and create. Sixième Son created an ecosystem of sound for TD Bank that drove consistency and flexibility over all its audio touchpoints.

“Sonic branding must have a clear objective,” said Michael. “These objectives lead to awareness, attribution, clarity, attention, and engagement.”

So why not call it a jingle? Nathan explained that jingles are variables tied to marketing campaigns, not the brand’s longevity. They are not created to exist past that campaign.

“There are definitely a lot of jingles that have become synonymous with a brand,” he chuckled, “but there’s a whole lot more that have come and gone. A sonic identity is something that you’re going to use for a really long time.”

As Michael put it, “At the end of the day, we are building preference.” Building brand equity with an ecosystem of sound engages and unites fans at a whole other level.

A power play the sports industry needs in its primary lineup.

To hear the sonic identity Sixième Son created for TD Bank, visit here.