Sonic logos: can sound influence willingness to pay?

Vijaykumar Krishnan (Department of Marketing, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA)
James J. Kellaris (Department of Marketing, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA)
Timothy W. Aurand (Department of Marketing, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois, USA)

Journal of Product & Brand Management

ISSN: 1061-0421

Publication date: 13 July 2012

Abstract

Purpose

Auditory branding is the association of a non‐verbal, auditory identity for a brand. Sonic logos, or “sogos,” are a key element of sonic branding. This paper seeks to examine the systematic influence of an objective property, the number of tones in a sogo, on consumers' willingness‐to‐pay for the associated brand.

Design/methodology/approach

A laboratory experiment was conducted to test hypotheses.

Findings

Findings suggest that the number of tones in a sogo systematically influences willingness‐to‐pay in a non‐linear manner. Sogos with very few (three) tones or numerous (nine) tones are perceived to be less valuable than sogos with a moderate number (six) tones. This influence is mediated by the fluency with which the sogos are processed.

Research limitations/implications

Although this study examines only one objective property of a sogo, it lays the theoretical foundation for a new research stream by connecting the processing fluency literature and logo literature to provide objective design guidelines for auditory branding elements. Future research could address the influence of other objective properties such as the contour (ascending/descending) of a sogo.

Practical implications

Although sogos are important and costly branding devices, their creation depends on intuition rather than objective parameters. Findings demonstrate that number of tones in a sogo systematically influences willingness‐to‐pay for the associated brand – a direct economic practical implication.

Originality/value

Despite its undeniably central role, sonic branding is a sparsely researched area. This paper demonstrates a strategic outcome for a brand leveraging sound as information.

Keywords

Citation

Vijaykumar Krishnan, James J. Kellaris and Timothy W. Aurand (2012) "Sonic logos: can sound influence willingness to pay?", Journal of Product & Brand Management, Vol. 21 No. 4, pp. 275-284

Download as .RIS

DOI

: https://doi.org/10.1108/10610421211246685

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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