Remember jingles? Annoying? Yes. Catchy? Definitely.
Oddly, the jingle is not dead. In fact, it is used by contemporary companies in an attempt to differentiate their brand in a communication-saturated marketplace. The International Audio Blog claims that it creates an emotional link, or more simply, an audio imprint in your customer’s mind. Just as a corporate logo can evoke certain feelings (i.e., trust, sex appeal), so too can a sound.
Sound Branding (1900-2000)
Popular corporate sounds from the last century:
Each of these sounds are at the very least “iconic.” Though they are dated (NBC’s chime debuted in 1931), every company currently incorporates the same audio into their branding. This translates into long-term equity with consumers, rivaling the success of logos and even the best commercials.
These sounds are under ten years old, and each brand incorporates the audio into all of their customer communication (i.e., commercials, product design).
American Express’s “Sound”
What does American Express sound like? Apparently like this.
The sound is only used on AmEx’s web page—not to be found in any other communications. Corebrand, a branding consultancy, compares it to a “start-up” sound, similar to the audio used when beginning a Macintosh or Windows operating system. Will it have any impact on the American Express’s brand and site experience, or will it be an annoyance and fade into the advertising noise? The sound has been on americanexpress.com for about one month now with mixed responses from the users. Time will tell whether audio branding will have any impact.
Twitter comments on American Express’s sound:
killingtime: american express website: ajax bill pay = kinda cool, playing a moronic sound when you log in or do something is pretty stupid
jazzychad: well this is brilliant. the american express website plays a sound when you load the homepage. “Hey everyone! I’m logging into my account!”
twingonautWhy does American Express now have sound effects on the website? Wierd!