We will soon be launching BrandMusiq Labs, to refine sound branding and create wellness music: Rajeev Raja

Rajeev Raja, Founder and Soundsmith, BrandMusiq, a Mumbai-based global sound branding agency, describes his 10-year journey in this exciting new field, from educating clients to looking beyond the tactical jingle to raise the sound. at a level of identity for brands


Before we get to how we started BrandMusiq, let’s take a look back at my early years and the various influences that shaped my life and career. I grew up in the then sleepy city of Bangalore, decades before it became India’s Silicon Valley. My house was always filled with conversations about the arts, ranging from Bharatanatyam and Kathakali to Carnatic music, pop music and jazz. While my mother, a Bharatanatyam dancer, gave me my love for the arts, my father introduced us to his unwavering passion: cricket. My older brother Ramkumar represented the University of Bangalore and my younger brother Arjun played the Ranji Trophy for Karnataka in the same team as Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath. As for me, my rapidly advancing cricket career was brought to a screeching halt in college when I had to stop playing for two years due to a spinal problem. As they say, in every crisis there is an opportunity. In my free time, I discovered the transverse flute, formed a band, and spent the next five years in college, playing and becoming a pretty serious musician. When I graduated from college, I was faced with a dilemma. Should I make music a profession or let it remain a passion? Luckily for me, the decision was pulled back because I was offered a job with an advertising agency, and without thinking too much, I made it with a promise that I would never neglect my music.


I spent the next two decades living a life together: creative director by day and musician by night. I worked mainly in two agencies, Clarion which became Bates, and Mudra which became DDB Mudra, my last paid position being National Creative Director of DDB Mudra. During these years I have continued my music, performing regularly in India and abroad with my own band and sharing the stage with fantastic musicians ranging from Louis Banks to Shankar Mahadevan, Fazal and Taufiq Qureshi and the legendary trumpeter. Arturo Sandoval. But after 25 years in advertising, I was again at a crossroads. With my professional commitments taking up more and more of my time, music took a back seat. Finally, I decided to take the plunge and throw everything into the music. The next big question I asked myself was, “How do I monetize my passion?” “


So in 2011, Exactly 10 years ago, BrandMusiq was born, in collaboration with my colleague and friend JS Mani. Our dream was to harness the power of sound and music in a scientific and strategic way so that brands could add a sensory dimension to their identity. So we set out to create a process of analyzing brands and arriving at their DNA using Carl Jung’s theory of archetypes. At the same time, we understood the science of sound and identified different ragas, scales, harmonies and rhythmic patterns that evoked specific emotional responses in human beings using the Indian theory of Rasas or “emotional essence”.

Thereby, we were able to create a holistic sound identity system for brands including a MOGO-scape (sound palette), MOGO (music logo) and mini-MOGO (functional sound). Once we’ve created the sound identity, we help brands “amplify” their sound assets. We follow a brand’s customer journey and create a “Ear point” (audio point of contact) dashboard. Then, based on the brand sound, we recreate versions for different ear points so that the brand enjoys 360 degree surround sound that follows the customer wherever they go.


When we started out, we spent more time teaching clients to look beyond the tactical jingle and elevate the sound to an identity level. We told them “Every logo needs a MOGO”. Slowly but surely we started to take our breaks. One of the first big brands to jump into sonic branding was Vistara. Prasad Menon, then President of Vistara, saw the power of the Sonic Mark and until today, when a Vistara flight takes off or lands, you can hear the MOGO-scape created by BrandMusiq. Soon, with the help of our mentor and advisor, the late Ranjan Kapur, we bagged HDFC Bank’s sonic branding mission. Every time you withdraw money from an HDFC Bank ATM you will hear the MOGO created by BrandMusiq, an example of how sonic can go beyond just branding and provide a utilitarian benefit to customers. .

Three years after the start of our journey, we have faced a devastating loss. My partner and co-founder Mani died suddenly from a heart attack. It was a difficult time for me personally and professionally. But then my good friend and former Bates colleague Ajit Varma stepped in and took the reins of the business, which allowed me to focus on what I knew best, curating music to reflect the personality and values ​​of a brand. Today there is no going back as BrandMusiq has continued to create sound identities for several iconic Indian, Asian and global brands – TATA Salt, HDFC Life, TV18, Zomato, VIM, MG Motors and many more. other brands in India; ABC Soy for Kraft Heinz, Lactogrow, S26 for Nestlé and Blue Band Margarine in South East Asia. Two years ago, we were commissioned to create Mastercard’s global sound identity in 190 countries, and it has become a ‘best practice’ case study, ensuring that the Sonic Mark as a discipline is here to stay.


Ten years have passed. BrandMusiq has firmly established itself as a leading player in the field of sound branding, showing brands how to use the science of sound and the art of sound branding for maximum impact in a world. increasingly cluttered digital. The way forward is particularly interesting. For example, on non-display media such as voice-activated speakers, sound branding is the only way a brand can make its presence felt. AI and ML are increasingly playing a role in automating sound processes, validating sound output, and measuring the impact of sound on brand value and buying behavior. To stay ahead of the curve, we created BrandMusiq Labs, soon to be launched as a virtual platform to study the fundamental nature of sound and its effects on human beings on an emotional, physiological and neurological level. He will conduct sound experiments, create sound experiences, engage in conversation with leading practitioners in marketing, sound branding, behavioral sciences and musicologists. The lab will also study the relationship between music and well-being and will work closely with psychologists and music therapists to create ‘music for well-being’.

I’m sure in heaven, Mani is smiling proudly at us as he sees the rapid progress the team at BrandMusiq is making in realizing our vision of “enabling brands to transform the human experience using the power of sound”. We look forward to BrandMusiq 2.0 and the sound journey that awaits us!

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Posted on: Monday December 06, 2021 07:19 IST

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