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Musical Logos: An interview with Rajeev Raja - Part 1
Episode 11022nd December 2021 • Audio Branding • Jodi Krangle
00:00:00 00:38:39

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“Because we also believe that brands are multidimensional, just as human beings are, right? So, we are multidimensional: we are seen in a certain way by our close friends, we are seen in another way by our family, close family, we are seen in a third way by our colleagues and associates, right? So, we are multidimensional, and brands also need to express themselves in different ways depending on the environment that they are in.” -- Rajeev Raja

This episode's guest is the former National Creative Director of ad agency DDB Mudra as well as one of India's finest jazz and fusion flautists, with a number one album on the iTunes India charts for three weeks running. He's the founder and "soundsmith" of BrandMusiq, the first company in Asia dedicated to designing and managing sonic brand identities, and is a creative powerhouse who straddles the two worlds of branding and music.

With over twenty-five years of advertising experience, he's worked on many of India's and the world's top brands and created many award-winning nationwide campaigns. With such strong credentials in music and branding, it's only natural that Rajeev Raja founded BrandMusiq – a perfect example of how one's passion can also become one's life work! Listen in as we talk about the power of sound: how it can make a brand more memorable, and how it can touch and influence our emotions on a daily basis.

The Flute Found Me

Each episode begins with a look back at my guest’s earliest memories of sound, and Rajeev shares a moving account of how he grew up listening to the vinyl records his mother used as a classical dancer in a home that was always filled with music. Soon he began to listen to pop music from around the world, then early jazz, the blues, and then the flute. “Just by ear, I could immediately play it,” he says. “It was as if I'd found the flute, but the flute found me.”

Music on a Higher Level

Even after he’d settled into a successful career as an advertising professional in Mumbai, music still called out Rajeev, and he faced a choice between following his two passions. When he realized how essential music can be for branding, and how few companies had really tapped into its potential, he founded BrandMusiq. As he puts it, "we can elevate music to a higher level, compared to the way it was used generally, which is a good old jingle that happens on a radio spot or a TV spot but doesn't reflect the essence of the brand."

One Brand, Many Expressions

Next, we talk about MOGOs, or musical logos, a term he created that's quickly taken off in the business world. Rajeev uses his flute to give us a beautiful firsthand demonstration of how subtle changes can affect the mood it creates in surprising ways. "The beauty is once you've created your sonic identity," he says, "which the MOGO, the musical logo, is, as we've said, a big part of, then you can actually start creating different adaptations with these different emotions... it's one brand, but with many expressions."

Creating a Musical Identity

The first half of our interview concludes with a look at musical motifs and Jungian archetypes, and the power of musical logos to transcend the boundaries between cultures and generations while embracing their unique qualities. “There is a rich tradition,” he explains, “and a science behind this in our Indian culture… and if you listen to the great western composers, you’ll see that they knew that the use of a certain scale or combination of scales, major to minor and etcetera, would evoke certain emotions.”

Episode Summary

  • Rajeev’s early life and music in Bangalore
  • How a twist of fate led him to become a flautist
  • Founding BrandMusiq and the theory of MOGOs
  • Musical motifs and the power of archetypes
  • The flexibility and diversity of MOGOs

Be sure to listen next week for part two as we talk about the challenge of branding in a no-contact world, the explosion of sonic branding thanks to social media, and how MOGOs could become as much a part of our personal lives as they are the business world.

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