Why Mumbrella refreshes its sound identity
On October 14, 2009, Mumbrella launched a weekly edition of the Mumbrella podcast. That’s what turned into today’s Mumbrellacast. At the time, he was ahead of his time, especially for a professional media and marketing website. Now podcasts have become the norm.
Over the years, Mumbrella has had more than a fleeting need to focus on the audio representation of the brand. The importance of sound identity is evident when it comes to podcasts, but it was Mumbrella’s shift to conferences that increased that importance.
At the start of each Mumbrella Marketing Summit, a soundtrack is played to inspire delegates to learn and network. It’s generic music usually with a little bit of dance beat. But at Mumbrella360, it takes it up a notch with a personalized video accompanying a soundtrack played before the welcome speech.
Despite this, nothing connects the lectures to the podcast, nor does it actually provide some sort of uniform audio identity for Mumbrella. There was the recognition that this had to happen, but there were a number of reasons (often time-related) why it hadn’t happened.
According to Resonance founder Ralph van Dijk, Mumbrella isn’t alone – sound identity is often not a priority for marketers.
âMarketing is necessarily dominated by preeminent technology,â he says. “And it’s been screen-based since the 1950s, when television came on the scene.”
When it comes to audio, the payoff for getting it right is obvious since advertising carries sound. Whether it’s the Meadow Lea classic, the ‘You Should Be Congratulated’ jingle, Qantas’ ‘I Always Call Australia Home’ right down to the other end of the spectrum, the signature style short and crisp sounds like the startup buzz of Apple or the drumbeat of Netflix or the tune of Bunnings – these are the sounds that stick with the consumer and can affect purchasing decisions.
A well-executed sound identity has the ability to stick to the consumer and automatically communicate the brand to them.
Mumbrella’s mishmash of sounds was certainly not the best practice.
As with many other brands, COVID blocks have allowed Mumbrella to focus on its own branding, including its sound identity. To do this, we work with Resonance and van Dijk. He’s well known in the industry as one of the leading audio experts, a longtime Mumbrella360 speaker, and someone who’s been on Mumbrellacast more than most of the guests, including since our early iterations.
Initial warning, Resonance has volunteered its time for this project and Mumbrella will document the process. As of this writing, the project is coming to an end after months of work that got a bit halted / started up due to deadlocks and challenges with Mumbrella’s second half plan.
Originally, Mumbrella planned to launch their new sound identity on stage at the Sydney Hilton Hotel for Mumbrella360. Despite this, the project continued due to the importance of the works.
According to van Dijk, there are three main reasons why a brand should consider its sound identity.
âAudio-only content such as podcasts and music streaming services are growing in popularity. Second, the increased headphone / earphone port means online content is played with sound enabled. And also, brands are planning the era of the voice. Voice commands will soon overtake screen / touch interfaces, so brands need to establish their sonic assets now to thrive in the future. “
van Dijk believes that an investment in sound identity could pay off in the future.
âMarketers / agencies who think and plan five to ten years in advance understand this. They are not only exploring the Sonic brand in isolation, but as part of broader multisensory branding strategies, âhe says.
âThese progressive brands will be the ones that have developed valuable brand assets to capitalize on the opportunities that arise in audio, scent, haptics and beyond.â
The first step in the process is like most creative beginnings, a client-completed survey that shapes an initial workshop to give Resonance a better understanding of who the client is, who they should serve and how they want to be viewed.
The first workshop is then used to frame a sound audit – essentially analyzing the different music used across the assets and starting the practical work to discover an updated sound identity.
Mumbrella and Resonance took this step in May. Unfortunately for van Dijk and the team, the feedback was quite broad. Unsurprisingly, it was discovered that the use of varied audio gave different members of the Mumbrella team a slightly different idea of ââhow Mumbrella should sound.
The goals of the sound identity have been identified to add a sense of trustworthiness to the brand as well as to help it stand out, convey a sense of independence and uniqueness, and carry an informative, savvy and reliable tone.
It was the first two stages of five on the sidelines. First, the discovery phase, second the workshop. These will be followed by design and iteration, asset testing and finally implementation.
Next week, Mumbrella will host a lengthy interview with Resonance detailing the middle steps in the process before revealing the final work on October 5.