By Anaëlle DANICAN
Today, brands all across the world can be recognized through different means: their products, their logos, their graphics, their packaging design…
It is also the case for coffee brands. Indeed, Starbucks can be recognized only through its logo image, the green and white mermaid located on the front of their coffee cup. Nescafé and Mc Café can be recognized through their logo graphics and design, and Nespresso can be recognized only through its packaging design.
Using the sound as a brand strategy seems to be very rare. However, audio branding also called as sound branding, acoustic branding or sonic branding (Minsky & Fahey, 2017) is important in order to differentiate from competitors in the mind of customers and enhance recall as well.
Indeed, audio branding directly appeals to customer’s emotions, and thus, engage with them.
According to Minsky and Fahey (2017), “sound carries meanings”. Audio branding can gather lots of things: ads musical backgrounds, jingles, internet music, musical backgrounds in-store, artist sponsoring, the highest range being an audio logo as a sign of brand identity. Thus, audio branding can be used at each point of contact with the customers: in advertising and non-advertising situations, alongside their entire experience.
Even though audio branding is not common among coffee brands, some of them have understood the power of audio branding to differentiate themselves in the mind of the customers and have taken their branding strategies to another level. These brands are Mc Café and Nespresso. What are the meanings of the sounds used by these two brands?
THE CASE OF MC CAFÉ
Mc Café is part and parcel of Mc Donald’s business. Thus, when people think about Mc Café, they also think about Mc Donald’s. And Mc Donald’s is one of the best examples when we talk about a sound logo. Indeed, this sweet sound is very well-known all around the world.
(Mc Donald’s sound logo)
Besides, because Mc Café is mostly present inside the Mc Donald’s fast-food, the background noise inside the fast-food plays a role in how the customers feel themselves when being at Mc Café, and how they perceive the brand: kind of noisy, with lots of people chatting all around the place.
In the advertising below, made for the UK, for instance, Mc café plays with a background song all along. In this advertising, the main word that comes along is “madness”. This word and the sound behind make the ad viewers perceive Mc Café as THE brand that has the solution to please disappointed and confused customers. This solution would be simple and tasteful Mc Café coffees.
Even though Mc Café plays quite well with music in their branding strategy, we must admit that Nespresso is outpacing any coffee brands on this side of branding strategy.
THE CASE OF NESPRESSO
Indeed, Nespresso has understood the power of sound to remember a brand and uses the same background sound at every touchpoint with the customers.
In TV ads, mostly showcasing their brand ambassador, Nespresso uses the same background music, “The Boutique” by Benjamin Raffaelli & Frédéric Doll (see below).
This background music is in each of their advertisings since they have started their partnership with Georges Clooney in 2006 (cf. Nespresso’s celebrity endorsement: an endless partnership with Georges Clooney)
However, Nespresso is going one step further. Because the interactions with customers are not always in boutiques, or through TV ads, Nespresso has understood that the greatest application of audio branding would be on the phone, providing customers with their aftersales service. Thus, they even use “The Boutique” as their customer service’s background music.
Indeed, if I put myself in the shoes of a customer who wants to reach Nespresso’s customer service on the phone, here is what I can hear (see below):
As you can hear, this music has become part of Nespresso’s brand identity. Hearing this song, customers will automatically associate it with Nespresso and this is how Nespresso plays to stay in the mind of its customers. Indeed, contrary to Mc Café, that relies on Mc Donald’s audio logo and that only plays with some background music in their TV ads, there is a consistency in Nespresso’s audio branding strategy. And consistency is what matters when implementing a branding strategy.
1Minsky L., & Fahey C. (2017), Audio Branding. Kogan Page