Sonic Branding Pointers for Financial Services


By Colleen Fahey

Veritonic’s research says that Financial Services is the category that uses the most sonic logos, but often those logos don’t seem to be well-known. The sonic testing firm theorizes that the companies aren’t putting enough advertising support behind them.

Our own observations suggest that companies may also be over-relying on advertising and forgetting to use all of their audio-enabled touch-points – social media, on-hold music, payment sounds, how-to videos, and even voice apps. 

Though the finance and insurance companies use more sonic logos than other sectors, we’ve observed that many use a lone signature instead of deploying a coherent sonic branding system. With digital technology moving people away from in-person financial exchanges to screenless payment options, the financial services sector has a greater need for sonic branding to weave the experiences together. 

Sixième Son also recommends that companies address the internal communication gap that can negatively affect customer recognition of their sonic identities. These days, plenty of content is created in-house and the people producing the content may not realize the audio brand applies to their work, too. They are used to picking their own music for social media or promotions and often turn to generic stock music libraries. 

We recommend creating a mix-and-match library of your own branded music scores interpreted in different moods – for instance: “reflective,” “determined,” “optimistic,” “confident” and “triumphant” – and having a handy kit of branded intros, transitions and outros that can be used with them or with licensed tracks.

At Sixieme Son, we developed a distinctive sonic brand for the Royal Bank of Canada – with a sonic logo that captured RBC’s new brand direction. But beyond the logo we created a shortened version of the RBC audio logo (1.5 seconds) to signal the bank’s content right at the start of all social media platforms – Facebook, YouTube, Instagram – and longer versions for videos, too. Not to mention a custom score for their customer service line. At each touchpoint, RBC musically conveys the idea of a bank grounded in reality but also seeking innovative opportunities for its customers. 

We also worked on the sonic brands for USAA and State Farm. In fact, these brands’ sonic logos recently received top audio scores from Veritonic’s 2022 U.S. Audio Logo Index. The State Farm sonic logo – which we relifted with a new fresh sound – performed especially well and was labeled the most trustworthy, likable, and innovative in the insurance industry. But it’s worth noting that this success wouldn’t have happened without these companies recognizing the value in a sonic brand and taking the initiative to invest in them holistically.

Financial services have some of the most inspired sonic identities but they also have untapped audio touchpoints. To build their brand engagement, marketers need to deploy their sonic branding systems not just through advertising, but via their podcasts, events, voice technology, payments sounds and social media presence.

Photo by micheile on Unsplash