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Exclusive | Betting on consumer 'ear points': BrandMusiq's Mani & Rajeev

BrandMusiq, a sonic branding agency, is the first ever creative agency entirely dedicated to creating the ‘Sonic Identity’ of brands and in the process giving a unique voice to brands. If the whole world were blind, how would a brand be recognized? BrandMusiq believes that brands must create recognition and empathy with their target audience, not just by a visual identity alone, but through an audio or sonic identity too. The creation of a sonic identity involves collaboration with the brand owners, arriving at a mutual understanding of the brand, and then crafting a holistic, media-neutral sonic identity which can then be adapted across media. Brand Musiq serves to fill a major gap that has not been recognized by Indian marketers till date. The company creates sonic identities for brands in India and abroad.

During their careers in the advertising industry which spans over 20 years, Mani and Rajeev Raja developed a keen understanding of brands using several accomplished brand models and over time began to decode brands in a unique manner. Rajeev Raja through his advertising years has had a parallel career in music. Hence with their 

combined knowledge and expertise, BrandMusiq which brings two different worlds together was conceived.

Adgully caught up with J Mani, Founder & Brandsmith & Rajeev Raja, Founder & Soundsmith of BrandMusiq to know more about the new and unique concept  which is all set to create sonic identities for brands, it’s  growth  in the Indian market and their strategies chalked out for the future of the sonic branding agency.

When two advertising seniors Rajeev Raja(Ex-NCD, DDB Mudra) and Mani(Ex-President DDB Mudra) came together to establish the company, BrandMusiq came into existence. Speaking about the purpose behind launching a unique concept, Mani explained, “There is a clear gap in the way sound and music is approached by brands. Music is always a last minute effort, and is created most often, with the 30 second commercial in mind. Thus the music or jingle merely came to represent the advertising idea and not necessarily the brand. We wanted to create a process which allowed for the designing of a 'sonic' or audio identity for brands just as visual identities are created.”

For both, their career roles have changed from an employee to an entrepreneur.  Elaborating his personal experience on this front, Raja shared, “Well, the main difference I see, is that I don't have to worry about Monday deadlines!!!”  He went on to add, “But on a serious note, stepping outside the system has unlocked my creativity. We are no longer restricted to thinking only advertising for a client, but are exploring a whole new area of creating the 'sound of a brand'.”

Sonic identity is simply an identity created for brand using sound and music. Undoubtedly it is a new yet growing concept for the Indian market but the concept is seen growing. “Well, we have been in existence for a year now and we've done quite a few projects. While educating prospective clients is a big task, we are very encouraged by the response,” he stated when asked about the scope for their new venture.

Sonic identity creation ideally takes anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks for delivery.  Mani further informed that while Jingles are created for advertising campaigns, Sonic identities are created for the brand.

“There's lot of learning on the job, as there's nobody to follow. Everything that we're doing is being done for the first time. And we are very happy that clients are willing to join us on this journey,” said Raja in terms of challenges.

Embedded in this sonic identity is the ‘MOGO’, a term coined by BrandMusiq, which is a short form of ‘musical logo’. This then, works as a shorthand aid to brand recognition dialing up the emotion of the brand when heard. When asked how MOGO can add recall value to a brand’s identity, Mani avers, “The new world is dominated by the audio-visual medium, and as a result sound will become an integral part of every brand's identity.”

“Today we believe it's not just about consumer touch points but consumer 'ear points'. There are thousands of occasions and locations where you can reach out to the consumer's ears. These are all opportunities to reach out with a consistent sound of your brand. Also over time the MOGO becomes much more than a mere recognition device, but becomes a shorthand to remind the consumer of the values, persona and emotions of the brand,” he added.

On enquiring about the process of creating a sonic identity for a brand (from briefing to execution to outcome) Raja explained, “Well that's a huge question, but I'll try to capture it in nutshell. Basically we bring our combined experience on brands and my musical talent together. We first start with a robust brand understanding process. Once we've clearly defined what the brand stands for in terms of its 'Avatar', we then identity the principle emotion or 'Rasa' of the brand. The Brand Avatar and Brand Rasa then help us to create sounds/music which leads to the MOGO/MOGOSCAPE, which then becomes a defining sonic palette for the brand.”

The two member team has just completed the entire sonic branding for Club Mahindra's new identity. They are working on the new identity for Zee News and in the past have done work for Cadbury's Eclairs, J&J's Clean & Clear and Stayfree.

BrandMusiq is powerful concept especially in a market where brands are keen to break the clutter and engage better with their customers. Envisaging their long term plans, both hope to see Brand Musiq as the one name that brands will think of if they need to create a sonic identity for themselves.

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