This post originally appeared on Sonoport Blog.


A reportage of our trip to this year Audio Branding Congress that took place in the amazing Berlin on 27th and 28th of May.

The sky over Berlin, as Wim Wenders says, welcomed us to the 2015 Audio Branding Congress with all the stunning wonder of the European early summer days. My last Congress had been the 2010 edition in Hamburg. Five years later, the Audio Branding Congress is a well-established event.

The international connection hot spot for the sophisticated sound industry.

Nineteen countries from the four corners of the Globe – I myself traveling all the way from the Equator – took part in this research and industry meeting, proving that audio branding is now a recognised field with its own guidelines, quality seals, professional roles, leading representatives, scientific literature. And with the challenges that emerging from a niche toward standardisation brings about. The two days event was hosted by the prestigious Humboldt Universität, in the historical, political and cultural heart of the German capital, along the main city artery Unter den Linden, next door to the German History Museum, Alexander Platz and the River Spree. The University lobby surrounded the participants with powerful, mixed feelings.

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The famous Karl Marx right in front of the entrance, the 2010 art installation commissioned by the University to challenge the public’s perception of that very same sentence, the portraits of some of the thinkers who made themselves at home at the University: yes, I’m talking of Albert Einstein, Hegel, Walter Benjamin, Max Planck.

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This year’s edition marks several changes in the Audio Branding Congress.

The event will now be biennial and not annual: a way to concentrate efforts, but also an inevitable step to take as the network of audio branding agencies and industry partners grows.

Also, the 2015 Best Practice Cases confirmed a field where projects are becoming more complex, involving bigger teams, and increasingly part of a longterm strategy for brands. The Congress was hold over two days, with a clear distinction between the research and industry updates on the first day Academy Workshops and the celebration Audio Branding Awards day on the second day, completed by an unforgettable cruise gala dinner on the river Spree.

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Another most welcome add-on to the Congress format is the New Composer Talent showcase: selected performers in anything with sound introduced themselves to the audio branding community through an open-mike style. And, a lot of time to spend together for the 100 and more participants, with breaks turned into social events, chats, drinks and sharing of sound moments.

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Four workshops were held during the 27th of May, first day of the Congress. Difficult to choose between the subjects:

  • Back to Basics: An Introduction to Audio Branding Best Practices, by the 2015 Congress moderator Steve Keller from iV Audio Branding, a much needed recap of where we are in audio branding from the basic definition up to the future challenges and best practice;
  • Music, Branding and Advertising: Testing what works, by Dr. Daniel Müllensiefen from Goldsmiths University of London and adam&eveDDB, a thourough exloration of more and more fundamental questions that from cognitive sciences brings us to as Return Of Investment (ROI) and the other Sacred Graals.
  • Music Matters: Licensing basics and the value of music, by Ruth Simmons of Soundlounge on the eternal debate on licensing and evaluating the music product. A similar subject was at the center of Reinher Karl’s workshop. Reinher, a lawyer at BKP&Partner specialised in copyright, gave an intense overview of the opportunities triggered by web giants like YouTube and their royalties programs.

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This year’s feelings were heated by many subjects we all felt the urgency to express:

Where are we on the road to standardise an audio branding best practice and industry guidelines? What is audio branding after all? Is audio branding a product or a process that implies a long term strategic thinking?

Scientific literature and its figures have been another hot topic. We have more and more data to show to our clients and prospects, as a sign of a maturing discipline. At the same time, sound is one of those matters of passion, where everyone has strong feelings. After all, sound speaks to the heart and to any heart. What is the value of scientific data in such a human, psychologically deeply rooted experience? Topics that will be a top trend for many editions to come, and it is indeed very difficult to image the speed of change we will witness.

But… who won the Audio Branding Award 2015!?!?

More on the next post…

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Sara Lenzi

Director of Marketing at Sonoport
Sara Lenzi is Director of Marketing at Sonoport. With more than a decade of experience in sound design and audio branding consultancy, she writes about all the multifaceted aspects of sound in communication. She is an international lecturer and founder of Lorelei Sound Strategies, the first sound branding boutique studio in Asia. Sara has a Master Degree in Philosophy from the University of Bologna and she is starting her PhD at the University of Bilbao, Spain. She lives in Singapore, where she spends her free time in tireless exploration of local food stalls and vintage shops, sipping cocktails in the tropical humidity and diving with giant turtles in the South China Sea.

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