AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerSound is Moving with the Speed of Marketing

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Sound is Moving with the Speed of Marketing

For years you could identify NBC by the three chimes. But in today’s Amazon Echo and in-store experience, sound is becoming even more important.  AdWeek calls “sonic branding” the use of sound to reinforce a brand identity.  In the voice activated world, sound will become a critical part of your marketing.Home intelligent voice activated assistant. 3D rendering concept of hi tech futuristic artificial intelligence speech recognition technology.

Sonic sounds are audio logos that worm their way into your subconscious. NBC’s chimes, Nationwide’s jingle sessions, Intel’s signature to ads and ESPN’s hit all are easily memorable and add to the storytelling ability of the brands.

The NBC chimes (the notes G E C) was the first audio trademark accepted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It’s just one more sense used to enfranchise your brand.  There are a number of popular audio trademarks:

  • Intel’s five-note signature
  • ESPN’s repeating three-note signature
  • Pillsbury doughboy giggle
  • Harlem Globetrotter’s “Sweet Georgia Brown”
  • The white-noise opening of HBO’s original programming

Yet sound is used in all our experiences. For that reason, Visa has developed a sonic branded sound that makes their shoppers feel safe and secure during transactions. After using a Visa card, customers will hear a chime signifying a secure transaction. The sound of credibility and success—strong emotional connections that will aid Visa in all future marketing.

The best brands are using sound in new ways with new technology. What kind of sound are you making?


Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.