iligo and Listen & Feel #2 – The study on the importance of sonic signatures in building brand identity with audio

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Background information

Listen & Feel is a two editions research focused on the power of audio. In 2021, the first edition tackled the measurement of the emotional impact of audio ads. The second addition, that took place between March 29th and April 9th 2023, discussed the measurement of the power of brand sounds. Olivier Goulet, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at iligo (award-winning research agency and consultancy focused on understanding new consumer behaviours) presented this second edition of the Listen & Feel study commissioned by NRJ Global, at Market Intelligence Meeting 2024 in Madrid.

Description and testing of the study

The power of sound signatures can be measured following two steps, also called the 2 beats measure. The first step is to listen to short brand sounds signatures (brand-specific music, melody, tonality, or song) to evaluate spontaneous brand linkage and evocations provoked by these ‘signatures’ and the second step is to listen to audio spots without mentioning the brand (initial listening to the ad without the brand sound and following that, listening to the same ad with the brand sound). The main target of this study were French individuals aged 18 to 64 and they were surveyed online.

There were in total 11 brand sounds and 3 audio spots that the individuals were exposed to. The brands tested covered a wide range of sectors such as food & beverage, transportation, confectionery, leisure, phone providers, retail, automotive, etc (for example: Nespresso, Haribo, Netflix, SNCF, Decathlon).


A first take away of this study is that sound identity is key to reinforcing brand identification. 37% of individuals correctly identify the emitting brand. Another take aways is that the best associated brand sounds are all composed of a short sequence of distinctive notes. Sound effects with a melody seem to be more efficient. Moreover, from 11% to 63%, a wide range of attribution has been observed. By adding sound identity to an audio ad, attribution increases by 50%. Finally, strong sound identities stimulate the imagination. The sound signature shows its effectiveness in conveying powerful evocative themes such as sensory evocations, important life stages, nostalgia and positive emotions.