'Brands are willing to spend on sound': Adelphoi and Frukt alumni set up sonic agency DLMDD

Max De Lucia talks about the rise of sonic branding

Max De Lucia has just founded sonic branding agency, DLMDD with partners, Greg Moore and Sascha Darroch-Davies. All three left senior management roles at music and sound collective Adelphoi Music to set up the business alongside Jeremy Paterson, former managing director of creative music agency Frukt.

“Many of the world’s most iconic brands are releasing sonic identities for the first time – and on some scale too, with premieres even being unveiled at the Grammys,” says De Lucia, explaining the timing of DLMDD's launch.

He's right, just last month Mastercard chose the annual music ceremony to debut its sonic logo, a unique melody that will play when customers interact with the brand in-store (point of sale or payment acceptance sounds) or online.

The demand for such marketing activity coincides with the spike in demand for voice-activated speaker units like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home. Such tech is also being added to vehicles with an estimated $40bn value placed on the market next year and a predicted 72 million connected cars set to be on the road by 2023.

“Consumer technologies and touchpoints are ‘sound ready’ and the playing field is wide open for brands to weave their identities across these new frontiers,” De Lucia says of the potential due to growth in demand for voice-enabled technology.

"Audio and voice-led tech provide a valuable breakaway from screen time," he adds, saying that sonic identities are being produced by many of the world’s largest brands for the first time. The Drum is among those to have developed and released its own sonic identity as part of its rebrand last year.

“Global companies are increasingly focussed on finding their identities in this new-found world of sound and they are willing to spend to get it; £1.3bn last year in a market estimated to be worth £25bn by 2025,” he continues, citing research from Grand View Research that was released last November.

“While there is no doubting that sonic branding is hot property and very much in vogue, sound has [always] played an intrinsic role in life on planet earth since day dot. It is how we communicate and create communities. Researchers have found 43,000-year-old flutes made of mammoth tusk and we know that song is even older with pitched languages predating modern speech,” he adds.

“Today music and sound continue to unite communities across the globe; we sing to support our sports teams, to celebrate birthdays and to feel a sense of national identity.

“Sound identities are already embedded within our lives and cultures – they have been since the dawn of time. For this reason, we have launched the agency safe in the knowledge that sound will continue to be a more powerful universal language than the written word. We are here to help brands harness this ageless power."

He continues: “Everyone has pieces of music that trigger powerful memories and feelings - that can instantly take us back in time or across continents. So powerful in fact that the memory of music and sound has been seen to be spared when other memories fade.”

De Lucia firmly believes that audio will cut through the overwhelming amount of media and advertising messages consumers are exposed to. He also thinks it has the potential to stir emotion and cement brand connections through affinity and familiarity.

“We are also fascinated by the behavioural effects of our tools too. Music can fuel the adrenaline of athletes, make us become better or indeed worse drivers, help us concentrate harder and even send us off to sleep. These applications, among others, begin to explore the broader possibilities of music’s uses that go far beyond the traditions of an audio signature."

De Lucia also says the business is working with scientists to examine the psychological and behavioral effects that could be generated from sonic branding.

“By measuring the impact of the work we make, clients can make decisions with the assurance of market appetite and commercial success.”

The Drum understands that the business is working across the client base of McCann and a number of other agencies in the UK.

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