Sometimes it seems to me like the best branders in the world either can't or won't brand themselves.
Back when I was Head of Production for what was then the leading US music house, the Promo Open that kicked off our presentation reel was left entirely silent, although fully animated with live footage and graphics.
Can you imagine? Beginning a demo reel for a music production company with maybe ten, fifteen or even twenty seconds of silence?
The reasons for this were several:
POLITICS: Of the several in-house composers, management couldn't decide whom to reward with the assignment of providing a sound score for the open.
Conversely, one had to to take into account the feelings of the unselected composers who would certainly feel formally rejected if their own work remain unused for the task. You can't have a bunch of angry, depressed composers walking around, although in retrospect it might have been like that anyway.
There was also the question of BRANDING:
We fulfilled sonic branding assignments so well for others, but we were at a loss for how to brand ourselves (with sound). Just what were we supposed to sound like? What sonic identifier or fanfare should herald our unique presence in the brand universe?
We never quite figured it out.
Of course that didn't stop us from being a successful enterprise!
In the intervening years I've noticed that other dedicated branding companies sometimes share the same quandry.
For instance, look at the screenshot above which depicts websites (circa Summer 2008) constructed for Interbrand, Landor and Wolff Olins.
All three creative solution providers independently arrived at the same white board semiotic/strategy popularized by Google.
Although no sonics involved, each site, as delivered by these creative heavy hitters, opens with something akin to visual silence!
It may make sense in a bald barber sort of way, and I speak as one with a bald barber:
Best Haircut in the World.
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Click any link below to read all the articles in the six-part July 2008 UNBRANDED series detailing the relationship between Effective Sonic Branding and Black Noise (Silence):
TO BRAND OR NOT TO BRAND?
That is the Question.
Part 1: Non Branding For The Best Branders
Part 2: Sonic Branding or Silent Branding?
Part 3: Websites and Sonic Branding
Part 4: The Sonification of Everything
Part 5: Silence Please, for the Soundtracks of Our Lives
Part 6: Black Noise Branding