Audio branding for Theatre Vanemuine – How to express a 153 year legacy within 3 seconds?

One of the first works performed by Bränd Sound was a highly responsible task – to create a sound logo for a dignified and long-standing Theatre Vanemuine. The entire process took place in close collaboration with Risto Joost, the music director of Vanemuine Theatre, as well as other creative leaders, the theater director, and the marketing department.

This involved several rounds of listening, discussing, and generating ideas.

According to Risto Joost, the music director of Vanemuine Theatre: “The collaboration with representatives from Bränd Sound, Maksim Adel and Ikevald Rannap, was thorough, constructive, and solution-oriented from the beginning. The initial expectation and feedback from Vanemuine’s client were crucial starting points in the creation. Based on that, a sound logo was created, which is now Vanemuine’s signature melody

The task was to capture the heritage of Vanemuine Theatre – staying true to traditional elements while creating a fresh sound that can also function in the present day context. The previously used sound mark of Vanemuine Theatre, the duet “Õnn, meie juurde jää, jää meiega” from Evald Aav’s opera “Vikerlased,” was first played at Vanemuine Theatre in 1967. This 55-year-old tradition of the audience call has become the foundation of Vanemuine’s sound logo.

Typically, a sound logo is around 3 seconds long. Within those short seconds, the character of Vanemuine must be captured both in sound and melody. It should resonate with all long-time fans of Vanemuine and also appeal to new visitors and younger theatergoers. Every element, sound, and note must be well-thought-out and curated.

Although there was a specific direction in creating the sound logo, it was necessary to make precise decisions about which elements could convey the spirit of Vanemuine in such a short time.

In collaboration with Bränd Sound representatives, we have listened to dozens of variations of the sound logo with different instruments that, on the one hand, carry tradition and, on the other hand, youthful freshness. The Vanemuine sound logo encompasses the sum of all our wishes” say Vanemuine representatives about the process.

During the process, snippets with different moods, rhythms, and melodies have been created. The use of drums and percussion at the beginning of the clip, for example, can provide a certain dramatic and startling sound. The main melody can be played with various instruments. One part of the excerpt taken from Evald Aav’s opera is played on the kannel, which was initially concidered in a short segment. However, it was decided that the main melody would be played by French horns: something that expresses grandeur, richness, and dignity. Violins and cellos play in the background to express classicism and tradition. The harmony change gives a sense of movement, where tradition is respected while staying in touch with the present day. A harp-like shimmer at the end hints at magic and primordiality.

Even in a short segment, there are multiple elements that the ear can distinguish, as well as several that the ear cannot perceive. Since the perception of music and sounds largely operates on a subconscious level, even these short segments are multi-layered. Although it is a 3-second segment, the final work consists of nearly 30 musical components.

While one might think that music creation is largely an intuitive process, based on the experience of global sound branding teams, it is not. Creating a sound brand is not an expression of a musician’s personal creativity. It is about deeply understanding and implementing the client’s wishes to achieve desired results. It is a longer and more extensive process that consists of several stages, for which Bränd Sound has developed tools and strategies.

A proper groundwork, development, strategic direction, involvement of management and stakeholders, and skillful and conscious use of the sound logo across all touchpoints (a touchpoint is a place or medium where customers or other stakeholders encounter the brand sound, e.g., theater hall, podcast, radio advertisement) are prerequisites for effective sound branding.

What does Vanemuine think about sound branding and the process?

The sound logo is an important part of our brand – something that was born in the studio of professionals with the support of our own people, including the music director. The process was as enjoyable as the result – a big thanks to the professional team at Bränd Sound! The sound logo will be in use for a very long time, and modern media solutions create new opportunities for presenting it – not excluding, for example, as a phone ringtone in the future

Listen to Vanemuine’s sound logo – how many different elements can your ear identify?

The past season was exceptionally successful – the occupancy rate of the theaters exceeded 90% on several months, and a whole range of new productions sold out tickets for the entire season even before the premiere. Vanemuine’s new sound logo has been heard by over 130,000 theater visitors – in addition to everyone who has heard it through radio, podcasts, or television.

Sound branding is still in its infancy in Estonia, but the situation is changing, and we at Bränd Sound believe that we offer companies new values and opportunities to amplify their success.

Sound branding can be a successful strategy that helps create a strong brand identity and establish an emotional connection with customers. Every company can customize sound branding according to its values, product, or service and create a unique sound world that supports their brand and business goals. The Bränd Sound team has a mission to create sounds and environments that allow brands to communicate meaningfully and effectively with their stakeholders. We have developed and tested processes and tools to ensure that brand values and client preferences are incorporated throughout the entire process.

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