National Park College’s Sonic Branding Work Wins Silver NCMPR Regional Award

Posted: November 4, 2022

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National Park College (NPC) in Hot Springs, Arkansas recently brought home a silver medallion in the NCMPR regional wild card category for their sonic branding campaign. Sonic branding is a way of branding an institution through sound and/or music.  According to Forbes magazine, “While nobody would question the need for a brand logo or color scheme, audio branding is often neglected.”

When National Park College decided to add a sonic brand to their overall brand, VisionPoint eagerly got on board, starting with extensive research and surveys. The stakeholders that were surveyed all thought their sonic brand should “sound like a journey.” So with that, the sonic brand was developed. Forbes explains, “A brand with a highly developed and easily recognized visual identity has no advantage … In audio-only interactions, a sonic identity is a key way of relating to the overall brand.”

Creating three iconic sonic brand tracks for NPC, each piece contains :6- and :15-second edits as well as full tracks, allowing the music to be used in any and all institutional media. The brand’s smooth, orchestral acoustic sound is rooted in tradition while brimming with modern-day relevance. The auditory journey is furthered with the variety of rhythms all on display at once. Some instruments (like the guitar or drums) play faster, subdivided notes, while others (like the horns or strings) play longer, sustained notes to provide a contrast. The goal of any sonic brand is to make it become fully associated with its institution, and with the music being used in radio spots and digital ads, NPC is already giving audiences auditory associations with its brand.

“The music should sound like you’re getting somewhere. Accomplishing something. Music that would power a road trip or summiting a mountain top would create that sense of excitement and opportunity. Our students overcome so many obstacles to get to their goals. Our community college students are resilient, dedicated, and determined.”

National Park College stakeholder describing the sonic brand

Both audiences familiar with NPC and those who are interacting with the institution for the first time will hear the three signature songs in many ways. The sonic branding is so important to NPC that they have added instructions for the use of it in its brand guidelines. You can listen to a the full cut of “A New Journey” to get a taste of the journey involved in NPC’s sonic branding.

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When we say we’re “in the trenches” with our client partners, we mean it. For 21 years, we’ve worked in the higher ed enrollment marketing industry. Our team members provide expertise in lead nurturing, brand identity, and, of course, sonic branding. Want to see what we can do for your enrollment needs? We’d love to work with you. Contact our vice president Chris Fait for a free consultation call.