Last month CBS launched a whole new rebrand. It’s a visual rebrand with a new audio logo that sets the tone for the animation. These kinds of rebrands are not uncommon, especially for a brand as old as CBS, but in this case, it sounds like they’re doing it for the right reasons.

“I wanted to create a deeper emotional connection to the brand and create that experience so it works across every single customer touchpoint.”
-Mike Benson, CBS President and Chief Marketing Officer

Congruency 5/5
It pairs very nicely with the new visual component. The melody was designed to match the pace and feel of the “This is CBS” voiceovers of the past. This is a very smart move. It gives some structure and meaning to the piece rather than relying on a random and arbitrary structure. I also like that they went with a reasonably timeless sound. When you’ve been around for over ninety years, this is kind of essential.

Flexibility 5/5
This was designed to unite their entertainment, sports, news, and studio sub-brands, which was a very smart move. So much diversity of content could create confusion, or at least a lack of uniformity. This audio logo is simple and strong enough to tie them all together without feeling like a compromise. That subtle opening crescendo is also a nice touch. Audio logos often benefit from having some sort of built in transition or sonic palette cleanser. Intel’s audio logo has been doing this for decades.

Melody 4/5
The melody draws strength from its simplicity. They resisted the temptation to make it into a grand production, and instead created something that is accessible without feeling weak. At the same time the subtle harmonies give a little more colour and texture to the presentation.

Memorability 3/5
This one’s clearly built with the long-game in mind. It’s very clean and simple. It’s not going to stand out to the average viewer/listener right away, but it’s strong enough to work its way into the public consciousness long term.

Distinctiveness 3/5
I’ve been very critical of a lot of modern audio logos in this regard. More and more big brands are adopting audio elements and strategies, but a lot of them are starting to sound the same. This one doesn’t necessarily jump out at you, but it doesn’t sound like anything else either. Again, assuming they have a long-term strategy, it will eventually stand out by reputation.

OVERALL 4/5
The new CBS audio logo is very strong, and it draws its strength from its simplicity and its timelessness. I look forward to seeing it grow both in terms of its application and its place in the public consciousness.