Ears have become a key gateway to audiences, thanks to the rise of audio entertainment and an abundance of sound systems—and brands are starting to take note.
In September 2019, Coach published a series of Instagram posts requesting that viewers put the sound on, and highlighted noises associated with Coach, from the "always satisfying sound" of its Turnlock bag fastenings to the clink of its metal buttons and the whirr of a sewing machine stitching one of the brand's pieces.

In the same month, Bao Bao Issey Miyake invited London Design Festival attendees to visit Bao Bao Voice, an "interactive, multisensory event" that included more than 100 sounds attached to its renowned geometric bags.
In the auto world, audio innovation is unsilencing electric cars, which have
raised safety concerns for being too quiet. The European Union (EU) is already rolling out rules to equip electric cars with sound for new models, and from July 2021 all cars in the EU must have an acoustic vehicle alert system. BMW has decided to up its game by rejecting the traditional sound of a car engine and tapping composer Hans Zimmer and sound engineer Renzo Vitale to create audio cues for its BMW Vision M Next electric car. The partnership was announced in June 2019 and Zimmer and Vitale have developed the BMW IconicSounds Electric series of sounds. The brand says that its aim is to address the "gap in the emotionality of the driving experience" when driving a nearly inaudible electric car.

In early 2019, both HSBC and Mastercard unveiled new sound identities. HSBC worked with composer Jean-Michel Jarre to create "a bespoke piece of music that will help people instantly recognize the bank." Mastercard devised a sonic logo and ensured the originality of the melody by hiring musicologists to compare it with a database of music.
In June 2019, US music platform Pandora launched an audio consultancy called Studio Resonate, which will help "propel brands into the new era of audio." In the same month iHeartMedia and WPP announced Project Listen, a new content and research service providing sonic branding. Audio branding services are being ramped up as a result of the reinvigorated need for bespoke sounds.

"Consumers are listening more than ever and we already know the power of music, voice and sound to create engaging and emotional human connections. As consumers' behavior evolves, from the media they enjoy to how they relate to brands and make purchase decisions, it's essential to have a modern approach to creative and strategy for all media, including audio." Mark Read, CEO of WPP.

Companies are tapping into the science of sound to strengthen brand identities and better resonate with consumers. Sound, after all, is our fastest sense: according to auditory neuroscientist Seth Horowitz it takes our brains at least one quarter of a second to process visual recognition but only 0.05 seconds when it comes to sound. Brands seeking to leave a long-lasting, emotional impression on consumers should look to trademarked audio identities.