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‘Sonic marketing’ makes some noise in the UAE

RAK bank official song

RAK bank launches its official song in the UAE, but are customers dancing to its tunes?

August 2, 2012 1:03 by

National Bank of Ras Al Khaima (RAK bank) has become the first UAE bank to release an official brand song, to strike a chord with its consumers. Sung in English, Arabic, Hindi and Malyalam, this melody hopes to add another dimension to brand association and identity, for RAK bank.

Taken from the tune of singer, Ali Zafar’s soundtrack, ‘Chal Dil Merey’, RAK bank song is hoping to cash in on a slice of popular culture. The lyrics of the song extol the benefits of RAK bank’s products and services.

The song titled, “Yeah! RAK bank” has started airing on UAE radio channels such as Virgin, Channel4 and Al Rabia, amongst others. RAK bank will also upload different versions on youtube, spread the word via social media and place posters with QR codes at RAK branches, to download the song via their website.

Reactions from branding and marketing agencies are positive.

Paul Cardwell, Executive Creative Director for The Brand Union Middle East, “RAK bank are to be applauded. What they have done is an elegant and adroit use of a classic technique. I’ve heard these devices described as “jingles” then as “sonic triggers” – a charmless description for something that should be charming. Even worse was “aural mnemonics” but that never caught on because only the Strat gang understood it.”

According to Mounir Harfouche, CEO, Lowe MENA, the key difference between an official brand song and an ad jingle is the purpose behind it. While a brand song is a musical and cultural manifesto, that conveys the values, the personality and the ambition of a brand,  a jingle has a more tactical and commercial objective.

Said Aghil Baaghil, Brand Marketing Strategy Consultant says, “In such competitive market most banks fail to identify their ‘differentiation factor’. Brand sensory is one of the strongest elements of brand signals.  As far as sonic marketing goes, it helps the public participate and gain firsthand experience of the institution or product. Another successful example of ‘Sonic Marketing’ is Chevrolet, which encouraged public participation and in turn, helped the message reach further. If you wish your brand to engage today, you must offer that brand to be more than just a logo.”

Internationally, there have been many examples of official brand songs that clicked with customers. Mounir Harfouche, CEO, Lowe MENA says, “A good example would be ROM Chocolate’s ‘The American Rom’ campaign. The insight was spot on.  They targeted an emotion; patriotism. It’s just chocolate but every product you sell has to be coupled with an emotion. This emotion is what builds brand loyalty.”

The marketing fraternity may be singing its praises but will ‘sonic marketing’ resonate with consumers in the UAE? Kipp is looking forward to reactions of consumers on Twitter.

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1 Comment

  1. steve keller / iV audio branding on August 2, 2012 5:52 pm

    Research shows that audio branding can be highly effective in communicating brand identity, increasing brand awareness and facilitating consumer engagement. It’s not simply about producing audio logos or brand themes, however. Careful strategy and implementation are crucial to successful audio branding initiatives.

    Research and testing is definitely part of the process. It will be interesting to see how consumers respond. It already appears that there might be some confusion – with consumers not understanding that the RAK theme was actually licensed rather than “stolen” from the artist – and may need to be addressed in future advertising – perhaps with a recognition/endorsement by the artist.

    ROI is another important consideration. Audio branding agencies should consider how their clients can not only create and procure audio branding assets, but also how they can see the best return. While licensing music can be a viable strategy, it is problematic to build an entire audio brand around an audio asset that the brand is essentially “renting.” Typically, brands find that at some point the license is just too expensive, or at some point cannot be renewed. Brands like Intel, McDonald’s, Coke, T-mobile, Audi, etc all own their audio signatures outright – and can actually collateralize those assets.

    RAK Bank is on the right track. This is only the tip of the audio branding iceberg – with commitment, a clear strategy and the insight of a reputable audio agency they’ll stack the deck in their favor. We’ll look forward to continued reporting from Kipp as the story evolves.


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