Sonic Branding

Our sonic branding process made creating a unique identity for a global advertising campaign as easy as 1,2,3

Santander’s aim was to become the best bank in the UK for its people, customers, shareholders and communities. In order to achieve this objective, Santander launched its Simple, Personal, Fair campaign. The brand was looking to build greater warmth and trust with its customers, and to begin to communicate in a more emotive way. As sonic branding is proven to deliver increased brand recognition and emotional connection with customers, it made perfect sense to engage with CORD and build a sonic branding toolkit. The challenge for CORD was to use the power of music to convey these core brand values, whilst maintaining a flexible approach to the complex needs of its modern and global brand.


Santander was looking for an adaptive musical theme that would support its new emotional positioning now and into the future. It was important that this theme would be flexible enough to allow the brand and its communications agencies to work freely with the newly developed audio assets and to be able to adapt to any genre and mood of specific campaigns. Such audio-visual cues can, over time, become a short-hand brand language that the consumer recognises and understands when seen and heard in connection with communications.


CORD partnered with Santander’s creative agency WCRS to work through our specialist audio branding process. The process kicked off with an audio moodboard exploration and together with the agency and clients, we listened to hundreds of existing pieces of music in order to focus in on a preferred sound world. We crafted a music brief that was based upon Santander’s unique brand challenges and objectives, which resulted in a vision for the music and future sonic identity of the brand.


Following an extensive creative process, composer David Lowe was selected to develop a long-form brand theme, to include a distinctive mnemonic. This sonic identity was designed to be truly flexible and to be constantly re-orchestrated, to suit new campaigns and pieces of content. Both the theme and the sonic branding mnemonic were recorded at the legendary Abbey Road Studios and launched during the Simple, Personal Fair campaign.

Since this time, the audio branding, comprising of the brand theme and the mnemonic, have become a key part of the brand's communications, and are used extensively, with a view to developing a ‘conditioned response’, thereby linking the musical notes to powerful brand ideas.