How Sonic Branding Strikes an Emotional Chord

By Kerissa Lalkaka

Think of your favourite song. Does it give you chills? Does it help you relax? Remind you of a particular time in your life? Make you smile, or make you cry?

Music transcends the realm of entertainment. It can enhance our sense of well-being and elicit powerful physiological reactions like goosebumps or a change in heart rate. Thanks to your neurological responses, music can improve emotional regulation by influencing mood or providing a cathartic outlet when processing complex, distressing feelings. Music triggers the release of neurotransmitters associated with reward, like dopamine, and involves the same areas of the brain as other forms of pleasure.

Though emotional reactions may vary from person to person, music evokes responses at a universal level as well. Listening to your favourite song probably triggers emotions and memories specific to you. However, if you, or anybody, were to hear a song for the first time in a Major key, you would interpret it as sounding happy. Play it again in a minor key, and it becomes melancholy. That’s just one way a song could be manipulated to convey a different feeling.

Here’s a great example of how transposing a happy tune into a minor key and switching up the rhythm completely transforms the piece –

Musicians make deliberate choices with the style, instrumentation, and scales used in their compositions to communicate a specific message or sentiment. They might base a happy song on the major pentatonic scale. In addition to sounding joyful, this would appeal to an international audience as the use of pentatonic scales is popular worldwide. When they want a dark and mysterious sound, the diminished scale could work as the base. A sad and sentimental song could be based on a natural minor scale. In turn, the behaviour known as emotional mimicry causes listeners to mirror the emotions that the music expresses.

That’s why sound is the most powerful tool your brand can use to form an immediate emotional bond with your customers. A well-crafted sonic identity not only conveys the essence of your brand but also creates long-lasting positive emotional associations. Every time your customer hears the tune, they’ll remember what the brand stands for and more importantly, how it makes them feel.


Brandmusiq's sonic innovations bagged awards at the Best Audio Brand Report 2022 for two iconic brands: the globally recognised MOGO® for Mastercard Global, and the ubiquitous sound for HDFC Bank.

Lenovo’s Music Balm wins under the Audio Marketing category of the ISA Better Sound Awards 2022