You know the distinctive chime when your iPhone has an incoming text, or even the thud when you close your car door? Well, these days, anything with a distinct sound is big business! A growing number of Fortune 500 firms are spending big bucks hiring sound engineers to create custom sounds to identify their products, and give them an edge over the competition. For example:

  • Make-up line Clinique recently rolled out High Impact Extreme Volume mascara, which makes a crisp click when you close the top. Manufacturers tested 40 different clicks before settling on the one that made people feel the product was safely closed and luxurious. 

  • What about that pop when you open a bottle of Snapple? Consumers equate the sound with freshness. And the company calls it the "Snapple Pop." They say it “builds anticipation and offers a sense of security,” because the consumer knows the drink hasn't been opened before. In fact, the Snapple pop is so iconic, that they were able to do away with the plastic safety wrapper around the lid, because people knew, if the Snapple popped it was safe. That saved them millions in packaging costs.

  • And you know Sharpie pens? The company calls the sound a Sharpie makes as it moves across the paper the "scritch-scratch." And anytime they launch another pen it has to make the same sound.

  • And your washing machine could soon play Beethoven at the end of a spin cycle. GE is replacing the traditional beeping and buzzing appliance sounds with new soundtracks. Their new line of washing machines will play everything from rock, to piano music. 

Spending money creating trademark sounds might sound like a waste, but psychologically it can be a huge make it or break it factor with consumers. Something to think about the next time you hear a click, ding or buzz. Somebody actually put a lot of thought into that.