What’s this?   A friendly, ambling robot seems to want my candy wrapper.

B.A.R.Y.L., a charming trash collector in the shape of an aerodynamic barrel, roams the Lyon station of the French national railway and gives people an entertaining alternative to littering.

Travelers say she’s very polite. She comes when they signal and even thanks them for their contributions. And here is exactly where SNCF exhibits brilliant branding.

The “Thank You” sound is a synthesized version of the railroad’s popular audio logo, as if the famous tune is intoned by a little robot.  That way, the brand surprises the traveler with a simple but instant emotional reward.

Hear the SNCF audio logo:

Hear the SNCF station signal:

Listen to the B.A.R.Y.L. library of functional sounds:

The SNCF audio identity shepherds the brand beyond just messaging, it supports a growing number of functional sounds. As the world puts out more mobile apps, IoT marvels, and smart robots, expect that ecosystem to expand.

The SNCF instituted their audio identity system a decade ago. It continues to evolve and bring people close to the brand with every possible customer experience.

To learn more, find the SNCF case in the Harvard Business Review blog

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