This post originally appeared on Sonoport Blog.

The second day of the Audio Branding Congress has opened its doors to more than 100 participants: audio brand managers, musicians, industry stakeholders, researchers and academics, students, composers…

I learnt by the Dean of Faculty that Alexander von Humbodlt, the younger brother of the siblings that gave the name to the University, was a pioneer of acoustic ecology.


During his famous journey to South America as a naturalist and an exlplorer, between 18th and 19th century, he observed how sound at night sounded much louder than at day: it’s called the Humboldt effect. He described sonic landscapes, sound memories and acoustic ecology in his masterpiece Views of nature. Not a coincidence that the word Views is used to describe sound as well.

Sound is one of the senses, unimaginable as an independent entity. Senses merge, perception merges, and what we experience in everyday life and in communication is a holistic unity of the senses.

And we were all a bit more aware of it after Olaf Hartmann’s inspiring talk on The Power of Multisense. Steve Keller, the man with the hat the warm and infatigable host of the Awards day, introduced the keynote speaker Olaf Hartmann from the Multisense Institute. Olaf made things clear from the first sentence. Why, if we all know and we can prove with data and case studies that multisensory communication of a brand works way much better than mono-sensory communication, why then is it still so difficult to convince clients? Well, Olaf was ready to give us the perfect evelator pitch for multi sensory communication. And sound, of course, is a fundamental part of it.


After all, all of us, at the core of our decision making processes, refuse to spend money unless is in the name of… lust. Emotion. Passion. Briefly, precisely what makes us really human, really alive. Functional reasons, effectiveness and efficiency are not the right drive when we talk about the senses, something that appeals to our deeper level of communication.

We need a resonance field to get in emotional contact with our counterpart. Emotion, and very happily so, it is still what drives our choices, and those of our clients too.


And after the inspiring keynote speech, the Best Practice Cases poured into the Senatssall filling it with sound… let’s have a closer look.

KLM Sonic Branding

Presented by Michiel Cremers and Tommy Zee from Massive Music (Netherlands), KLM Sonic Branding is an extensive project to develop a complete and coherent sonic identity for the Dutch Royal Airlines. The audio mood board is the key to Massive Music process:

a method to push and pull the client out of their comfort zones, that involves brainstorm sessions and listening sessions arranged in non conventional places

like night clubs, restaurant, churches… the places where we hear do influence our perception, and what Massive Music wants is their clients to lose their traditional expectations and set free in the encounter with sound.


Hugo Boss Sound Manual

HearDis! is a sound branding and music production agency with ten years of activity and production facilities in Berlin. “How does your brand sound like?” is at the core of the relationship with the client according to Robin Hoffman, Creative Director and Managing Partner of HearDis! The SoundManual© is a prioprietary app to manage large collections of sounds with an appealing, clear and intuitive UI that allows the client to always orientate in the palette of the brand sonic values. Color coding, graphic design and clear brand values translated into music form the milestones of this innovative tool. Certainly an example of the future of sound branding:

We need to give clients not only facts but an emotional way to relate to these facts in their everyday activities.

The Sound of Fruttare

Fruttare is the icecream brand  by Unilever “with summer at the centre of the brand” as CORD founder Daniel Jackson states in his introduction to this audio branding project developed by the international agency over the course of two years – and still ongoing! A highly successful and engaging project, with the original brand song composed by Mikey Ballou remixed by the world reknown producer Tiesto, and, as Gregory from Fruttare told the Awards audience, shared on social media with “a total video views that went much beyond the expectation with ten times more total views than what the brand expected”.

Fruttare is the winner of the 2015 Bronze Audio Branding Award.


Wiener Linien Sound Branding

The all-winner of the Gold Audio Branding Award and of the Audience Award was Sound Branding for the Austrian transport system of the city of Vienna, Wiener Linien.

A highly engaging project, from beginning to the end (and it is still ongoing). A joint project by the Austrian agency SOUND STRATEGY with his founder Herwig Kusatz and the German agency Why Do Birds with its CEO Alexander Wodrich. Sabine Ludwig, head of Corporate Sound division at Wiener Linien, told us that 66% of their customers declared to be unhappy by the existing audio identity. It was time to change. And the starting point was: What is the sound identity of the city of Vienna? Of course, Viennese Waltz.

As for the voice, an online consultation was run to let Vienna’s citizens to vote for the favourite voice out of a  selected group of four female speakers. A massive succes that saw the participation of over 21,000 people. Wiener Linien employees orchestra even requested for the score of the signature audio identity to perform it at their concerts! Another proof that public participation is key for the long term success of an audio branding process.


The French Open

Michaël Boumendil founded Sixième Son in 1995: what a better circumstance to celebrate its twentieth anniversary than the Audio Branding Congress.

The mere existence of this event and of a whole network of audio branding agencies was more than unimaginable two decades ago.

A very special project this year for the French team that won for the second consecutive year, the Silver Award. Roland Garros is one of the most prestigious sports events in the world, followed by 3 billion people. It deserved a special process to getits real audio identity done. To get the root, the emotional connection. Sixième Son team embarked in a journey all over the world to live and breath the most important sports events and feel the sound of it. The result, a success with more than 70,000 shares on social media in the first hours of release and the Rafa Nadal.


Åhléns City Stockholm, Children’s Department – Great experiences for little customers

Stockhom based Lexter agency with its founder and sound architect Margareta Andersson closed the 2015 Audio Branding Award. Lexter worked for six months with Sweden largest department store Åhléns for the sonification of the new children at Åhléns City. An ambitious, sophisticated project that merges interior design, product design, education and cognitive sciences with sound, interactivity and well, a lot of fun.

“The truth is, we can do all our productions and adjustments in the studio, but when we bring it out there, we don’t have a clue on how it is gonna sound” says Margareta.

Sound in real life. For the children’s department, a total of eight different sound events were implemented, themed with the Swedish forest for a mesmerising experience that enhance the shopping experience for the little customers.

Sounds like a lot to take in for one day?

Yes, it was intense. But the New Composer Talents made it fun taking the stage with their live sonic interferences.

Jamie Perera gave us a passionate sonic storytelling. Mikey Ballou reminded us of the power of silence. Benjamin Zucker brought us through a sonic journey wave after wave. Christopher Robinson challenged the common sense and the establishment with guitar and voice – what else?


In conclusion, turned six years old, the passionate work of the Audio Branding Academy team managed to transform a small circle of agencies into a respected peer industry group which is shaping the world of audio branding

Without forgetting the feeling of being part of a family which members, spread all over the world, look forward for the event to meet up and share once again life and work. And as any family, it is always growing and planting new seeds for the future members.

See you in 2017… guess where?!


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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.