Whenever I host a presentation or webinar about audio branding, I usually play a brief game with the audience. I’ll play an established audio logo, and invite them to tell me who or what it represents. They always recognize McDonald’s, HBO, and Intel. I stopped using Netflix because people rarely got it. This is not good.
Netflix’s audio logo recall has always been disproportionate to its frequency. Odds are very good you’ve heard it before, but if you need a reminder, have a listen.
Since 2015, this animation and audio logo have preceded all their original programming. Some of us hear it multiple times a day, yet somehow it still fails to resonate. Let’s see if we can figure out why.
Audio branding isn’t arbitrary. There’s a process. You identify brand values and attributes, and then sonify them. If you’ve gone through the process properly, the result should be a product that not only has an obvious sonic connection to the brand, but is almost inseparable from it. The Netflix audio logo always felt arbitrary to me, and I recently found out that it was. The result is a product that neither sets the tone for the experience, nor does it make any deep connection to the brand.
Since it’s not part of a greater composition, there’s not much else you can do with it other than what is already being done. Ideally your audio assets are distilled from a brand anthem. This provides you with multiple audio assets that can be applied to various media, touchpoints, and environments. They did, however, recently expand on their audio logo, but this always felt like a band-aid solution. We covered this a few blogs ago.
I’m giving it a 1 because it has one note. Unfortunately a percussive D does not constitute a melody, and this is probably the main reason for its poor recall, and its failure to make its way into the hearts and minds of the public. Otherwise, it’s just a tonal knock with a bit of a trail. Sometimes you can enhance a poor sonic asset with a more engaging animation, but in this case, the animation doesn’t even match. We have two knocks haphazardly synced with three brush strokes.
I’ve already talked about how this one doesn’t seem to click with people, but don’t just take my word for it. Netflix’s audio logo ranked below average in recall and overall score in Veritonic’s 2020 Audio Logo Index.
This may be the only thing it has going for it. It’s a cool sound. The knock is actually fairly distinctive, and I like the sheen of the trail that follows. It’s accented beautifully with the bars of light that follow in the animation. But cool sounds don’t necessarily reflect brand values. The same effect could have been achieved with any half decent stock sound.