There are exceptions to every rule.
I’ve always felt very strongly about having a brand’s name as part of its audio mnemonic. This often takes the form of a jingle, but not always. Sometimes the spoken name worked into a strong melody can be just as effective. It’s often a better fit as well depending on the nature of the brand. I’ve mentioned before how audio branding is a long game. The long game becomes shorter when the connection between the sound and the business is explicit.
In Veritonic’s 2020 Audio Logo Index, audio assets that mention the brand name scored 20% higher, and 75% of the year’s top 20 audio logos were melodic. This may explain why audio identities like McDonald’s, Intel, and State Farm are recognized very quickly, while Netflix and Xbox might leave people scratching their heads.
In short, melodies are good, and being bold with the name makes it even stronger, but let’s look at this from another angle. I always find myself explaining auditory concepts using visual analogies. People tend to have a better grasp of visuals, and there are so many parallels between the two. Because of this, I love learning about how producers of traditional visual logos, and visual media in general, go about their creative process.
Some brands will get to a point where they’re so recognizable that they’ll start paring their visual logo.
Sometimes they’ll go monochromatic.
Other times we see them dropping the ornaments too.
And others will just go super, super simple.
This is a huge power move. When you’re starting a business, you do everything you can do to stand out. Doing the opposite and making your logo simpler makes a very bold statement. It tells the world that you can bring your logo down to its core and still be recognized. The same is often done with audio logos.
State Farm’s jingle has been around for nearly fifty years. If you see or hear “Like a good neighbour…” you know exactly where it’s going. It’s so deep in the public consciousness that State Farm can remove the singing and even scale down the instrumentation and still be recognized.
Sleep Country did the same just a few years ago. And McDonald’s is so powerful and has such strong frequency that they haven’t used their sung jingle in many years. In fact many have forgotten, or maybe never knew that it started as a Justin Timberlake track.
Today it gets by on just the opening scat, and with virtually any instrumentation. The melody doesn’t even resolve anymore.
But this is not for the novice brand. It takes years of consistency and frequency to reach this point. But if your logo – auditory or visual – is so ingrained in the public consciousness that you can bring it down to its bones, that’s a huge power move.