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Frye boots do their own brand talking


An iconic brand’s sound trademark (aka sound logo, audio logo) took over my Sunday am solitude  this week. The noisy experience proved so disruptive during a quiet walk that I remembered to blog about it.

An audio logo, as you might guess,  is the sound of a brand and the experience it evokes in brand fans and outsiders.

I heard someone approaching from behind—with strong intention.  Rather, it wasn’t that I heard “someone.”  I heard someone’s footwear rolling up the blue slate sidewalk.

  1. The loud shuffle began to identify itself first as shoes, not athletic wear.
  2. Then boots, but not any boots.
  3. Intrigued, I began to identify a brand from the distinctive sound.

Do your boots walk to a trademark sound?

Source: tulul.comvia Rebecca on Pinterest

Aha! These were Frye boots, with their space-claiming kah-lumphing sound. You step and lead with a  great Kah-lumph!, then follow with a slouchy, scratchy step to complete the sound. Frye boots change the way you walk—and talk—apparently.

The experience of walking in Frye boots can be very empowering—especially for women. Is it the boot, the sound, or the price tag that make them empowering, a rite of passage in every way.

Sure enough, the person—a millenial in vintage ’70s clothing—passed by and there was that logo. My impressions and brand memory were confirmed. Her Frye boots were made for talking—and saying so much about her brand loyalties.

Most interestingly, Fryes were never my brand. (Dexter was my brand.) But the sound stays with you. It’s called sound branding or sound logos.

Research is confirming my audio brand experience.

Following up on a 2010 working paper, Dirk C. Moosmayer and Marc Melan observe:

…addressing the consumer solely by optical stimuli is no longer considered sufficient.
“Impact of Sound on Brand Evaluation
based on a 8.14.10 paper presented to AMA Summer Marketing Educators Conference in Boston

Will I go and buy Frye boots now? No. Instead, I’ll consider them the T-Mobile (hear that audio logo?) of women’s boots. And for that I’ll admire them.

What sounds do you associate with your favorite brand? Has sound ever attracted you or dissuaded you from a brand? Share your thoughts here.

  1. 03/07/2013 8:52 am

    That is pretty amazing, Elizabeth. Reading this I did “hear” that unique Frye audio signature and had a flash memory of me and a few of my long haired buddies all making that sound while cutting through Washington Square park on the way to a gig back in the 70’s.

  2. 03/07/2013 9:34 am

    Too funny — and true. I valued my own brand — Dexters — for weight and comfort. Yet I recall the audio trademark of my peers’ brand and the culture at large. Congrats on memory BTW!

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