Student Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Program of Study

Communication - Corporate Communication



First Advisor

Michael Bayer

Second Advisor

Minna Logemann


Sonic branding is not just about composing jingles like McDonald’s “I’m Lovin’ It.” Sonic branding is an industry that strategically designs a cohesive auditory component of a brand’s corporate identity. This paper examines the psychological impact of music and sound on consumer behavior reviewing studies from the past 40 years and investigates the significance of stimulating auditory perception by infusing sound in consumer experience in the modern 2020s.

Qualitative content analysis of audio media was used to test two hypotheses. Four archival oral interview recordings from Jeanna Isham’s podcast “Sound in Marketing” featuring the sonic branding experts Daniel Jackson (Sonicbrand), Audrey Arbeeny (Audiobrain), Damian Scragg (Veritonic), and Steve Keller (SXM Media) were transcribed and thematically analyzed.

With a recent advancement of the device-driven economy, multisensory marketing, and artificial intelligence, sonic branding has been on the rise providing emotional context to brands’ presence through voice, music, and sound. Consequently, demand to invest in data-driven audio research has grown. Compared to other forms of branding, however, especially to visual design, sonic branding is still a “young” industry that faces a variety of challenges and setbacks due to being largely misunderstood, undervalued, and underfunded. In addition to knowledge of music, the sonic branding profession requires complex stakeholder management communication skills and research of consumer behavior, sound science, and sonic ethics.

Research limitations/implications:
Although this study examines only a broad general role of sonic branding based on the comprehensive literature review and content analysis of the archival audio media interviews from the publicly available podcast, it lays the theoretical foundation for further research.

Practical implications:
To help sonic branding be better understood by a broader audience, it is recommended to remove the lack of consensus on terminology when referring to synonymous terms. Sonic branders need to unanimously agree on a glossary or, even better, establish a trade society to set standards. Incorporating “sonic branding” courses into the higher education curriculum and recruiting a new generation of energetic advocates with a combination of musical and business skills could provide the fruitful future that the sonic branding industry is striving to achieve.

Despite its increasingly important role, the field of sonic branding lacks published research compared to other forms of branding. This paper contributes to raising awareness of the significance of sonic branding, clarifies misconceptions surrounding its meaning, and establishes the core skillset needed to enter and succeed in the profession.

Sonic Branding, Sonic Brander, Sonic Logo, Sogo, Sonic Identity, Podcast, Audio Intelligence, Jingle, Voice, Music, Sound, Art, Research, Consumer Behavior, Device Attention Economy, Advertising, Branding, Marketing, Corporate Communication, Executive Strategy

Included in

Advertising and Promotion Management Commons, Applied Behavior Analysis Commons, Art Education Commons, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Commons, Audio Arts and Acoustics Commons, Behavioral Disciplines and Activities Commons, Behavioral Neurobiology Commons, Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms Commons, Business and Corporate Communications Commons, Business Intelligence Commons, Cognition and Perception Commons, Cognitive Neuroscience Commons, Cognitive Psychology Commons, Cognitive Science Commons, Community Psychology Commons, Composition Commons, Curriculum and Instruction Commons, Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Commons, Entrepreneurial and Small Business Operations Commons, Experimental Analysis of Behavior Commons, Human Factors Psychology Commons, International and Area Studies Commons, International Business Commons, Leadership Commons, Leadership Studies Commons, Marketing Commons, Music Business Commons, Music Education Commons, Musicology Commons, Music Pedagogy Commons, Music Performance Commons, Music Practice Commons, Music Theory Commons, Organization Development Commons, Other Business Commons, Other Computer Sciences Commons, Other Legal Studies Commons, Other Music Commons, Other Social and Behavioral Sciences Commons, Psychological Phenomena and Processes Commons, Radio Commons, Social Psychology Commons, Strategic Management Policy Commons, Technology and Innovation Commons, Television Commons, Theory and Algorithms Commons, Theory and Philosophy Commons


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