Artwork for podcast Audio Branding
Signature Sounds: An Interview With Jon Brennan & Sean Beeson - Part 1
Episode 12613th April 2022 • Audio Branding • Jodi Krangle
00:00:00 00:33:31

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“I think that the future of audio is one that's customized, personalized, interactive, intelligent and dynamic, you know, instead of always treating audio as on and off, we need to treat it in a way that's delivered to each person as a unique experience.” -- Sean Beeson

This episode features a rare two-for-one interview with a powerful sonic duo, Jon Brennan and Sean Beeson, formerly of Sonic Signatures. Jon Brennan's a music composer and sound designer with twenty years of experience creating sound for iconic brands and multimedia platforms. With the rise of voice, podcasts, and streaming, he founded Sonic Signatures to enable brands to effectively use branded audio across every campaign and platform. He's created audio logos, original music, and sound design for leading brands including Amazon Alexa, Tide, Southwest Airlines, IBM Security, Mercy Health, Union Home Mortgage, and KeepTruckin. His film scores include internationally distributed feature films and documentaries, and he has an MFA in Music Composition for the Screen from Columbia College Chicago. Very recently, he decided to work with Sixième Son in the US.

Sean Beeson is a composer and sound designer who's worked on hundreds of scores for video games, ads, trailers, and podcasts for clients like Google, Disney, McDonald's, Taco Bell, State Farm, Wizards of the Coast, Neoglyphic, and Sony. He helped develop the sonic identity of Google's Pixel phone, Pixel Buds 2, and Google's Home and Max speakers. He's contributed to three Emmy award-winning projects and has been nominated for multiple Game Audio Network Guild Awards. He's now doing independent music and sound design work.

If you want to understand why audio is so important to your brand, Jon and Sean have a thing or two to tell you about that.

As always, if you have any questions for my guest, you’re welcome to reach out through the links in the show notes.  If you have questions for me, just visit where you’ll find all sorts of ways to get in touch. Plus, subscribing to the newsletter (on the webpage) will let you know when the new podcasts are available.


The Essence of a Project

We start off with a look at the early influences that shaped Jon and Sean's interest in sound. Jon tells us how his older brother's Depeche Mode album sparked a lifelong career in music, while Sean recalls his very first encounter with audio branding when he played Sega video games as a child.  The topic turns to the versatility of sonic branding in everything from mobile games to casino slot machines. The goal, as Sean explains it is, is "to boil down the essence of a project or product or brand to what really makes it unique and what really helps make it relate to the consumer or the user of that product."


Supporting the Brand

The interview continues with the story of how Sean and Jon met at a gaming conference, and how their combined experience in commercial music and interactive audio gave them a unique perspective when it comes to audio branding and marketing."We feel that we can best help a company through our one-on-one relationship," Jon says, "and it's through that personalization that we can come up with the most custom and creative results that are the most effective in the long run."


Everything is Interactive

Next, we talk about audio branding, what it means to them, and how video games in particular have always been ahead of the curve when it comes to dynamic audio and using sound to continually shape the listener's experience. Jon sees interactive audio, guided by machine learning, playing a more vital role in our everyday lives as smart devices become widespread: "Sonic branding," as he explains, "extends beyond just having a jingle or a piece of music, and it really needs to kind of aid the user to be able to identify, interact and interpret the audio so that it creates a better experience."


Delivering a Unique Experience

Jon and Sean tell us about the process of creating a sonic brand for a client, and how it can vary from one project to the next. “It's less about what you personally like and dislike,” Jon says, “as opposed to what has been shown to work the most in testing.” We look at how they communicate with and work to keep their clients engaged in the process, whether it’s creating a variety of audio logos for a new app or testing the sound interface for a new piece of hardware.  “Everybody is integrated into the process,” Sean tells us, “from the creative planning parts to the actual creation to the implementation.”


Episode Summary

  • Jon and Sean’s first memorable experiences with sound
  • Casino sounds and the importance of creating a positive impression
  • What modern sound interfaces can learn from video games
  • How machine learning and voice-first technology are changing sonic brands
  • The importance of working with clients to create a unique audio package


Check back next week for the second half of our interview as we take a closer look at some of the clients that Jon and Sean have helped, and actually listen to the audio brands and interfaces that Sonic Signatures has created for such companies as Union Home Mortgage and KeepTrunkin.


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