How Influence created its own theme tune (and why your brand should, too)

By Gabrielle Lane,

You learn a lot about your colleagues – their holidays and heartbreaks – in a 2.5-hour sonic-branding masterclass. Armed with nine musical extracts, PHMG’s Dan Lafferty visited Influence HQ to help the editorial team create a theme tune for CIPR’s award-winning magazine brand.

After a detailed explanation of the psychological and physiological connection between sounds and emotions – enough to convince us all of the importance of sonic branding – Lafferty asked each of us to write down how we felt when listening to the carefully chosen backing tracks. Featuring everything from twinkling keyboards that we described as ‘calming’ to lively techno sounds that made us feel ‘excited’ (and think of Bacardi Breezers), the task helps teams to establish brand values in a musical context.

Following in the footsteps of Samsung and Heineken, which have both turned to PHMG to hone their audio image, we next worked through the list of keywords we generated to agree on a five-word description for the brand.

Lafferty is trained in psychoacoustics and used the adjectives (and our weird and wonderful responses) to prepare a brief for a composer. The options include international composers for the likes of Beyoncé and other Grammy-winning artists.

During composition, each section of the track is matched against the brand values to make appraisal of the music as objective as possible. The final track is then presented to the team within a few weeks. “We can plug in the science but a client has to like it,” notes Lafferty. For Influence, he “created an uplifting, confident track with a sleek arrangement and an understated feel”. Piano chords were used to create a memorable melody. “We also used punchy sampled drums to ensure the magazine’s bold character came to the fore,” Lafferty explains.

We like our ‘confident’, ‘modern’, ‘thought-provoking’, ‘intelligent’ and ‘exciting’ theme tune. Have a listen and tell us what you think.

Visit the CIPR YouTube page to hear the theme tune:

With thanks to PHMG (


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