From the Desk of Michael Boumendil, Part 5: Sonic Branding in the States vs. Europe


By Michael Boumendil

As a European native who has lived in the U.S. for years, I have a unique understanding of the differences between sonic branding in the States and in Europe. Both regions have valuable approaches and because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy in this industry, it’s important to learn the pros and cons of each. Ultimately, this will help brands be more successful globally. 

Generally, Americans take more of an advertising approach when it comes to branding. They favor the seducing aspect and thus, like to focus on persuading customers to buy a product or use a service. When it comes to sonic branding, Americans have an effective short-term approach – they typically go for the quick wins. This isn’t surprising given that Americans have such a “go, go, go” mentality. Quick wins net rapid results and ultimately, a stronger impact. Americans also look for a special balance of quality and effectiveness, meaning they want to see an impact on their brand before they invest in the long-term. With this approach, however, their solutions often don’t age well. 

In contrast, Europeans strive to create value in the long-term so they are willing to invest in their branding gradually, even if they don’t see an immediate impact. Europeans are not as agile in short-term branding, but they have a more comprehensive approach to sonic which can lead to stronger results over time. Additionally, American brands focus on their direct competitors and that’s why they are effective in the short-term. They see themselves within their specific category or industry and choose to dominate there. Whereas European clients see themselves beyond the direct competition and will consider how their brand influences society at-large.

Lastly, Americans and Europeans have different values when it comes to branding quality. Because Americans are focused on the short-term, they are willing to sacrifice quality for efficiency. If they’re able to get their brand to the point of 80 percent quality, they’ll be satisfied, because striving for anything beyond can be cost-prohibitive. Conversely, Europeans care more about a brand’s relevancy in the future so they prioritize investing in high quality products and services, hence why the French have always been leaders in the luxury sector.

To put it simply, the U.S. is better with tactics and Europe thrives with long-term strategy. Today, with Sixième Son being composed of half a European team and half an American team, we’re able to provide a vision for the short-term, while also considering how a sonic brand can be future-proofed to pass the test of time. We’re able to offer the best of both worlds, which is a unique guarantee. 

Photo by Alexey Ruban on Unsplash