DKSH Audio Branding

Speaker: Alexander Wodrich
Client: DKSH
Agency: kleiner und bold (Berlin)


Switzerland-based DKSH is the world’s leading company in “market expansion services”. DKSH helps its business partners grow in Asian markets (Claim: Think Asia – Think DKSH). The company is hugely successful and belongs to Switzerland’s Top 20 enterprises. In 2011, after the completion of their corporate design implementation they wanted to enhance their brand presentation adding a brand sound. The sound was to reflect the company’s swiss heritage as well as their Asian expertise. In contrast to their main competitors and the general Asian marketplace DKSH agreed to go for a quieter sound: intense, passionate, and driving, yet sensitive.

The lead instrument chosen was the hammered dulcimer (“Hackbrett”), a traditional Swiss, similar to typical Asian string-instruments. The leitmotif of the brand music consists of a pentatonic four-note sequence, striking a balance between the Asian and western cultures. The natural sound of flowing water weaves its way subtly throughout the DKSH brand sound. It is a reference to the fantree symbol in the DKSH logo. The fantree is said to be the traveler’s companion and water-supplier, because when a leaf or stem is cut off, water drips out.  In Asia, this sound traditionally carries meaning and significance: water is one of the earth’s four elements, responsible for life and growth. The brand voice was chosen to be male, American, friendly, warm, professional, and positive.

DKSH has already implemented the full range of audio-applications produced by Wodrich Audio Branding: an animated audio-visual logo, more than one hundred telephone-loops for every international subsidiary featuring the brand voice, ring-tones, event-trailers, soundscapes for work-environments and reception-areas, brand music tracks for image-films etc. The DKSH sound has added a strong asset to the brand’s corporate identity. It helps transport the brand’s tone, reinforces its recognition, and sets it apart from its competitors.

Additional information

The audio branding process began with an extensive research phase on Asian listening habits and interviews with different Asian people about their perception on western and Asian sound. This was the basis for all work accomplished. All audio-sketches were revised by an Asian musicologist before they were presented to the client.

DKSH implemented a worldwide advisory board for the audio branding project, consisting of 15 international marketing team members. Milestone presentations were held in global web-conferences. Thorough audio-guidelines, in form of an interactive PDF and online tutorials were made available to ensure the consistent implementation of the brand sound.

Documentation film of the DKSH Audio Branding

Time period of realization

September 2010 – January 2012



DKSH Logo Animation Wordmark Claim (Audio Visual Logo)