TikTok places sound front and center — What does that mean for you as a marketer?

TikTok places sound front and center — What does that mean for you as a marketer?

Ideas for your sonic strategies to market on TikTok

TikTok places sound front and center — what does that mean for you as a marketer?

Marketeers have been focussing on millenials for the last 10 years, but Gen-Z is next up to interact with, and they are doing things a lot different.

Here’s how sonic branding can help you communicate with them in an honest way, with more emotional impact.


Gen-Z is responsible for 40% of all customers, with direct and indirect buying power estimated to $143 billion according to independent studies.

Where Millenials have created, and favoured a false perfect reality, Gen-Z rejects the Instagram engineered aesthetic of perfection, and rather connects through realness.

With it’s focus on enabling everyone to be a creator, TikTok has become the defining platform for a new generation. 


TikTok is one of the fastest growing social platform.

TikTok was formally named Musical.ly, and acquired by ByteDance to be renamed to TikTok in August 2018.

 — 62 percent of it’s users in the US are aged between 10 and 29 (Statista, 2020).

— It is the most downloaded App on the Apple App Store.

The authentic nature of it’s content, the quality to Galvanize with humor and the emphasis on sound has helped TikTok to resonate with Gen-Z ers.

The rise of audio

TikTok offers a brilliant opportunity for marketers to reach younger audiences around the globe.

It’s important to understand though that strategies that work on other platforms don’t guarantee good results here.

There’s a challenge here for brands to learn to communicate in an honest, interactive and highly creative way, in order for it to resonate.

— So how do you do it?

While other platforms focus on Images (Instagram), or text (Twitter) — TikTok places audio front and center, and it makes perfect sense:

Sound is something we are all wired for, and we’re trained to interpret it really well.

We know for instance that people react almost 17 times faster to sound compared to visual input.

People react 17 times faster to sound compared to images.

Music can’t lie

If you think of it, it’s quit remarcable that you can recognise your mother’s voice amid a busy crowd for instance, and why can we instantly recognise a telemarketer from the way he talks to us? —  He wants it too bad, tries too hard, and the delivery doesn’t match his kind words…

Music is a language, and when used correctly, it’s the most efficient way to transmit information.

Music also unites us, creates tribes and gives a sense of belonging.

It’s therefore not strange that music plays such an important role in our lives, especially for adolescence.

‘Being Marketed-upon’

At the same time we see that traditional forms of marketing don’t interest younger people any more.

It’s clear that options are limitless but time is not, so choosing what’s worth our attention is more important then ever, and the filter for being marketed-upon is always up.

Research showed that only 14% of respondents recalled the last display ad they saw and the company or product it promoted.

Even with today’s sophisticated targeting technology, relevance remains a key challenge with only 2.8% of respondents stating that they thought the ad they saw was relevant to them.

So what does that mean for you as a markeer or business owner?

To put it bluntly: Audio is the next big thing for branding and marketing professionals to stay relevant.

Now is the time to invest in your brand audio if you want to play a role in the lives of a younger generation.


Build your sonic brand

So how do you build an effective way to communicate your brand with these audiences? Make use of TikTok’s emphasis on sound, and connect with people on an emotional level in an interactive, fun way.

The alignment of all brand audio, following a strategy is called Sonic Branding.

A sonic brand can include sonic logos, leaders for podcasts & YouTube channels, brand themes or anthems in different styles, service channels on-hold music, adaptations for educational purposes, audio UX sound suites, product sounds and much more.

Sonic branding comes down to ensuring your brand sounds unique and recognisable.

It should be ownable – so forget about licensing an exciting song- and above all, your sonic identity should capture the essence of your brand message at all customer touchpoints.


Now is the time to invest in your brand audio if you want to play a role in the lives of a younger generation.

How to market on TikTok 

TikTok recently added the ability to include links and commerce URLs to your profile and videos. So not only is the organic reach on the platform huge, you can also drive meaningful traffic to your website.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Start a branded channel

Getting started is relatively easy, cheap and the results can be incredible.

A good example of a how simple a branded channel can be is The Washington Post. Their feed is simple; anyone can do this, but they have 954.4K followers.

2. Start a #Hashtag challenge

A good example of a TikTok Hashtag challenge is the “Eyes Lips Face” challenge by  Elf Cosmetics. They invested in a song made exclusively for their TikTok campaign.

The song, inspiration by Kash Doll’s hit “Ice Me Out” is called “Eyes Lips Face” after the brand acronym. To kick off the campaign, they initially worked with a few influencers, inspiring other creators to post their video using the hashtag #eyeslipsface.

The challenge resulted in 7.8 Billion views thus far!


3. Collaborate with influencers

A smart way to utilize TikTok is to leverage influencer communities. This type of marketing isn’t new, but the viral nature of the platform lends itself perfectly for it.

An interesting development is happening over at YAAAS.

This new platform, from the makers of WOM protocol – the user-generated marketing channel, is set out to connect artists and musicians to influencers on TikTok. YAAAS has just been released this month (June 2021), so it’s early to predict how it will perform. 

I can imagine having a brand anthem being promoted and shared through collaborating on this platform.

If sonic agencies and brands can start collaborate and co-create campaigns tapping into the creator-economy model, it could potentially lead us towards something interesting.

4. Run paid add campaigns

Although this is a more traditional way to attract attention, TikTok’s platform isn’t that saturated yet.

As a brand you can buy in-feed adverts, sponsored hashtag challenges and target them on age, demographics, interests and related content.

People don’t have to hear the sound logo to recognise your brand.

Sonic stategies for TikTok

Although Sonic Branding is best knows for the implementation of short sonic logo’s, we advise not to depend on them too much when promoting on TikTok.

There’s a few reasons why:

1. A logo-reveal moment can quickly feel like traditional marketing, like you’re about to watch an add. People will quickly loose interest.

2. It’s a waste of video-time, and there are better, and more undistracting ways to brand your TikTok audio.

3. TikTok is more like an entertainment platform than a social network. It’s fun and optimistic (and sometimes really goofy, right?) and a sonic logo can feels too official, and marketed.

Instead, we advise using a strong, compelling brand anthem that can have different adaptations for different moods. 

A brand anthem always has a strong and clear melody line or a hook, that often serves as the sonic logo when abstracted.

It is this melody that makes the song, and thus your content, recognisable.

A brand anthem can be used as a backdrop for the video, or be placed front and center. A lot of TikTok video’s feature a song, and the creator is just lip-syncing, and pointing to text banners if they want to talk.

By doing it this way, you subconsciously communicate your sonic brand, without being distracting. 

Another way is to develop a sonic design system for your brand that is uniquely yours. When people start to recognise your trademark-sounding synth for instance, or a voice that sings in a unique way (strange accent maybe?), people don’t have to hear the sound logo to recognise your brand. 


Tips to using sound on TikTok

Here’s a few tips when you want to embark your journey:

1.  See whats trending

In the mobile app, tap the ‘discover’ tab, and search for ‘populair music’ to have an idea of what’s trending. You can click on a song, and even use it yourself. As a brand though, you want to have your audio ownable and recognisable, so we don’t suggest doing that, but it can be a good place for inspiration.

2. Create trends

Content has a good chance of going viral within TikTok, as the platform selects content it deems both interesting and highly engaging for each unique user, and places that content within the For You page. This is why challenges, pranks, and populair songs spread extremely fast within the app. It’s fairly easy to gain visibility if you are using a popular hashtag or a trending sound.

3. Be bold

Marketing professionals prefer to have data they can rely their actions on. This can be very beneficial, or not… It often results in nothingness, and more of the same. Gen-Z ers champion authenticity like Generation X did with the Punk / Wave / Hip Hop movement years ago. 

Make a statement, and make sure it’s a bold one! 

In this context I like to quote author and brand strategist Tom Goodwin when he says:

Make a statement, and make sure it’s a bold one!

Getting into sonic branding can be challenging, but it’s a rewarding journey preparing your brand to communicate in an engaging, fun and interactive way.

Resulting in a form of communication that is exciting, efficient, and yes — Measurable. 

The world likes to hear from you!

Do I need a sonic strategy?

Book a 15 minute demo call, and find out.

By the end of this demo call, you’ll have a clear understanding of what sonic branding is, and if-and how it can add value to your organisation. 

Speak to our team today

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