Behind The Music | Audio Branding & Identity

Audio Branding And Identity Blog

FirstCom Music, along with audio branding expert Fritz Doddy, are proud to present a bespoke mnemonic collection built specifically for audio branding & identity.

Also known as audio signatures, logos, and sometimes even earworms, mnemonics are a very short form of audio branding that last just :02-:05 seconds. These audio snippets are often immediately recognizable; you may instantly recall the mnemonics of brands such as Intel, NBC, or Netflix.

As someone with exceptional experience in audio branding, from the research phase through strategy to writing and scoring, Fritz was the perfect person to take on this project.


We spoke to Fritz about the strategy behind this collection as well as his writing process.

Hi Fritz! Can you tell us how this project got started?

Ken Nelson, SVP Global Head of Production at UPPM and head music wizard at FirstCom contacted me in the Fall of 2018. He said FirstCom gets a lot of requests for short audio branding devices, and I was immediately excited by the challenge!

We decided right away that rather than pulling audio from existing work, which can be time consuming and not as effective, we wanted to write everything from scratch.

How did you begin developing a strategy?

My first goal was to create an organizing principle. I created five categories of broad archetypes to help aid FirstCom’s clients in finding and choosing a mnemonic that fits their brand.

I wanted each category to be robust and offer a sizable selection of tracks. These categories will help the client focus on which mnemonic is most appropriate for their brand by guiding them to moods and feelings which are more closely aligned with their brand personality.

There is always so much subjectivity when listening to, judging, and purchasing music, and I didn’t want potential clients to get bogged down with too much choice, so having five categories felt like a good number to me.

How do the tracks fit within the five categories?

I wanted to maximize this initial collection by creating tracks that could be remixed to offer often wildly different versions. I planned to do this by building them from the ground up, using a combination of sound design and melodic, rhythmic, and textural elements, knowing that I would be mixing them in alternate versions. While the initial collection has 50 discrete ideas spread through the five categories, the alternate versions bring the track count up to over 150 tracks!

How did that strategy translate into writing the tracks?

Once I had my categories and my production techniques in place, it was time to write. I looked at many different business types and brands and used them as my muse for writing. Healthcare, financial institutions, lifestyle brands, tech brands, service providers, and even regional brands all played a role in my creative choices.

It’s a challenge to write a piece of music that is only :02 to :05 seconds long, and have it feel premium, ownable, and immediately readable, but the challenge is enjoyable! FirstCom Music is definitely on the leading edge of production music libraries with this very unique collection.

See the Creative Brief for each of the five categories below:

The Innocent /Regular Guy-Gal

This category is marked by being happy, having strong values, and wanting to belong and connect. There is a desire for these brands to be simple, down to earth, trustworthy and reliable. Consequently, the focus of the sonic palette follows suit; warm organic, human tones should take precedence and use of sound design should have a natural feel to it. There are melodic elements as well as simple chords.

The Hero/Magician

Hero/Magician brands want to improve the world, make dreams come true and create something special. They are often courageous, bold and confident as well as visionary, charismatic and imaginative. Palette considerations follow suit. There are a wide variety of timbres, both acoustic/organic and synthetic. Arrangements are traditional and disruptive. Melodic content is simple and can be omitted with a bold arrangement.

The Sage/Caregiver

Sage/Caregiver brands want to care and protect others as well as help others gain insight and knowledge. They are caring and trusted as well as sources of information. They are generous, compassionate and act as advisors.  Palette considerations range from acoustic/organic to synthetic. There can be a sense of technology for those brands that rely on information and a sense of discovery for those brands focused on healthcare with plenty of room in between.

The Jester/Lover

The Jester wants to bring joy to the world, and the Lover wants to create intimacy and inspire love. These brands can be passionate and mischievous. They are warm and fun. They allow people to be more spontaneous and impulsive. The palette for these is on the lighter side, whether it’s acoustic or synthetic. Playful melodies live alongside light sound design. Arrangements can be quirky sometime, but never frivolous.

The Outlaw/Explorer

These brands break the rules and help their customers find fulfillment through discovery and new experiences. They are rebellious and restless, independent and iconoclastic. Palettes used for these brands convey that. Timbres are bold and creative. Instruments can be used in inventive ways. Melodies may be provocative and arrangements can take chances.

Find out more about Fritz Doddy and discover more of his music on firstcom.com

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