Jean-Michel Jarre creates the sound of HSBC
When Jean-Michel Jarre was tasked with creating an audio identity for HSBC, it was clear that this would need to be a universally engaging sound. HSBC is one of the world’s largest financial brands. The company has around 40 million customers in 66 countries, so this would be one of the most global and ambitious ambitious audio branding projects to date.
Andrea Newman, global head of brand at the bank, admits that their brief to Jarre was “loose”. She recalls, “It could have gone horribly wrong, but it didn’t… We knew when we heard it he had absolutely cracked the brief.” In making the work, Jarre says he was inspired by the bank’s heritage, visual brand and motto - “together we thrive”. He aimed to combine those sought-after traits of tradition and innovation.
Newman used her gut instinct and decades of experience with the brand to judge Jarre’s compositions. And so far, reactions to the sound seem to be positive, with many fans requesting CD releases of the tracks.
At the core of HSBC’s new audio identity is a simple, melodic sonic logo, which Jarre has expanded across seven compositions (Orchestral, Stadium, Connecting, In-flight, Wayfoong, Mindfulness and Inspiration). “Stadium”, for example, will be used at events whilst “Mindfulness” will be used to calm customers on-hold. HSBC now also has a “sound board” - a collection of additional sonic assets, like app startup sound and in-store cashier notifications.