BfR // Sound Branding

BfR – Holistic sound branding for the institute

BfR Logo

Science in the service of mankind.

The focus of our work is the protection of human health”, says the mission statement of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. The BfR achieves this very laudable maxim through excellent scientific work and a reputable image that inspires confidence. When it comes to the sensitive issue of health, it is not enough to simply do a good job. The recommendations made and the basis for decisions must have a special status of credibility. GROVES was therefore asked to create a sound identity for the institute to strategically communicate its corporate values and culture to both internal and external audiences.

About the Client

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a federal institution under the public law of the Federal Republic of Germany with direct legal capacity. Its task is to provide scientific advice to the Federal Government on issues of food safety, product safety, contaminants in the food chain, animal welfare and consumer health protection. As of 2016, the BfR has 855 employees and has already written around 3000 scientific opinions.

Brand Analysis

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) was established as an autonomous federal agency under the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL). This structure complicated the analysis, as it required navigating both the hierarchical layers of state institutions and identifying relevant players in the free market economy. When assigning a unique sound to a brand identity, it’s crucial to not only encapsulate the brand’s specific values through sonification but also to distinguish it from the sound identities of competitors. Out of 24 competitors analyzed, 7 were shortlisted. The auditory branding strategies of these selected competitors were then considered in developing BfR’s subsequent brand positioning.

The BfR Sound Identity

The semantic analysis of the brand materials reveals that the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) emphasizes three core brand values: Transparency, to guarantee the accuracy of testing methods and scientific inquiries; Scientific Excellence, to uphold credibility through rigorous research and testing; and Independence, ensuring unbiased risk assessment.

Based on these identified values, two design layouts were proposed to the BfR. Following a comprehensive workshop, one layout was collaboratively chosen with BfR, aligning with their value structure.

Sound Logo incl. Variations

The production of the sound logo is consistent with the BfR’s brand image and also illustrates the initial letters. There is a good reason for this. The pure memorization of letter and number strings increases many times over with a melodic background – remember the ABC song? A proud 26-character string. However, the sound logo must not only be melodic, concise and consistent with the brand, it must also be in an optimal frequency range. Because it is not only the creativity and texture of the sounds that are decisive when evaluating a good sound logo. In order to ensure flexible use of the logo in all BfR applications, we decided to design the logo information in a center-oriented layout (500 Hz – 2000 Hz).

Sound Logo
Variation 01
Variation 02
Variation 03

Brand Song

The BfR brand song is an extension of the BfR sound logo and creates the compositional basis for adapting the sound identity to other sound branding elements. With its extended melody and additional compositional structure, it enables the flexible design of a variety of additional applications and moods.

Moving Image-Kit

The moving image opener is an opening sequence that is placed before the BfR’s contribution videos and the music of the toolkit is based on the chorus of the brand song, but with a reduced melody.
The music is concluded with the sound logo, whose three beats have been adapted to the visualization of the logo: On the first beat, the logo with the little man comes into the picture. On the second beat, the BfR lettering appears.
On the last beat, the words “Federal Institute for Risk Assessment” appear.

Bewegtbild Sound-Pool

Der Bewegtbild-Opener ist eine Anfangssequenz, welche vor Beitragsvideos des BfR geschaltet wird. Die Musik des Toolkits bedient sich an dem Chorus des Brandsongs, jedoch mit reduzierter Melodie.

More Adaptations

The wonderful thing about a clearly defined sound identity is that it can be easily implemented in other applications without leaving the predefined communication corridor. In addition to the elementary building blocks of the sound identity, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment also wanted sounds for events:

Events: With opening music, interval gongs and a soundscape production.

Telephone: With 9 (welcome and waiting) loops for individual communication.

Buildings: With 14 soundscape productions for various application scenarios.

Brand voice: With casting and recording of a brand voice for the BfR.

Cello composition: With a polyphonic arrangement for a live performance at an event.

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