PHMG Sound Ideas October - blog main image

A brand full of character

Oct 11, 2019
There’d be no Potter without Harry… no Star Wars without Luke… and certainly no Sopranos without Tony. Just as characters are an essential part of a story, they’re vital to each brand – but this doesn’t mean every company needs its own heroic protagonist. What they do need, is a way to show consumers their unique identity – whether that be with a plucky brand mascot, a creative campaign, or – most effectively – an audio brand that captures their character.

Adverts through the ages have featured not just people, but animals, aliens, jolly green giants and even men made of tyres, all deployed by companies to act as the face of their brand. This technique is most notable in highly commoditised sectors (just think Flat Eric, the Duracell Bunny and anyone from Snap, Crackle and Pop to Ronald McDonald and the Kool-Aid Man). More than just an icon for packaging and adverts, these figures work to encourage familiarity and connection, particularly in brands targeted at families. And for businesses with a more abstract product, it can add heart and personality to an image that comes across as cold. This is certainly the case for insurance companies including Geico, who’ve continued their tradition of character-driven branding with their latest Halloween-related campaign. Following the success of the Cavemen, Maxwell the Pig and the Hump Day talking Camel, they now introduce Griswalda – a witch who’s become the third roommate of two college students. As well as her role in the ad promoting renter’s insurance, Griswalda also has her own karaoke cooking show on social media – illustrating how character branding can extend across multiple platforms to further strengthen the company personality and idea.
PHMG Sound Ideas October blog - image 1
Griswalda is a physical, identifiable embodiment of Geico’s quirky, creative identity – yet other brands choose to convey their character in a more subtle way. It would have been easy for Lego to pack their ads with a whole cast of their own block-headed characters, but for their first brand campaign in 30 years, they took a rather more ingenious approach designed to appeal to both children and parents. ‘Rebuild the World’ denotes an adventure scene through a ‘real-life’ city with the tropes of Lego playtime – heads spin 360 degrees, hairstyles change by the second and cars based on real toys soar into the sky. So by the time the characters and scenery change back into bricks at the close of the ad, every viewer understands that this company doesn’t just make toys – they encourage creativity and inspire imagination.

While the concept and visuals are hugely important, music plays a vital part in the Lego campaign by conveying real whimsy and excitement. Created especially for the ad by electro-musicians and composers Flavien Berger and Jacques, the decidedly video-game-esque piece incorporates electronic beats, handclaps and SFX to perfectly punctuate the action – really bringing the scene to life. This piece has been exclusively composed to represent not just these visuals, but the whole identity of the brand – and every business has the opportunity to benefit from custom music in this way. By using musical elements that deftly represent each aspect of your brand personality – innovative synths, classic strings or warm, friendly acoustic chords – you give customers a sense of your character in a way they can not only hear, but feel. With every play (whether that be at an event, as part of an online video or within an On-Hold Marketing production) this piece becomes synonymous with the qualities and positivity of the brand experience, strengthening identity as a whole. And when you combine this with expertly crafted copy in the distinct tone of the business (such as the compelling call to action ‘Rebuild the World’), it only enhances the unique character of the company.

Brand character is built by more than bricks – but with exclusive music and the right tone, you’ll create an identity as unforgettable as the greatest figures of literature, cinema and television.