The sound of an apex predator

Orca Security offers cloud security for organizations, and since 2018 they have been developing the only agentless, cloud-native security platform. Their innovative platform provides security that is transformed for the cloud to simplify and automate security. Through the years, Orca Security has been awarded many industry recognitions, and latest, the 2021 Gartner Cool Vendor for Cloud Security Posture Management.

 

The Challenge

Orca Security wanted to strengthen their brand by using sound and music to express and support their key values. It had to be an audio identity that would enhance the overall recognition and understanding of Orca Security as a brand. So with that in mind, Orca Security came to us looking for a professional audio identity, including brand music and an audio logo. Their goal was to create something so strong that their customers would immediately associate them with security, dependability and trustworthiness.

We chose to collaborate with our vendors Dave Reynaud & Amnon Freidlin. Dave has been working as a Composer & Sound Designer over the last 20 years for commercials, idents and trails for TV, radio, podcasts and online, TV shows, documentaries, film and mobile games, mobile apps, even theme parks, stadiums, concert halls and for onboard transport use. Amnon specializes in composition, sound design, implementation, sonic identity, audio UX, music supervision, creative direction, and design. He’s worked with Lexus, Apple Arcade, NBA, Christian Loubatin, Barneys, Nick Cave (artist), The Met Museum, Microsoft, and Lacoste. His music has been covered by Vice, The New York Times, NPR Music, Pitchfork, and Resident Advisor, among others.

Regarding their involvement in the process, Dave and Amnon said the following;

“It was the first time I’d had the opportunity to work with a cloud computing firm, so to be involved with one as fast moving, experienced and dynamic as Orca Security was both exciting and inspiring for me.” – Dave

“For an entire year [before this project], I practiced a common visualization technique to try to improve my sleeping habits. For this exercise, one can worldbuild any visualization they’d like, but every detail of the routine MUST remain the same, night after night, for it to work. I chose an aquatic routine. Cut to me getting an offer to work on an oceanic sonic identity for Orca.” – Amnon

Insights

The name Orca immediately conjures up an image of killer whales. It’s an animal synonymous with nature and unadulterated freedom, but also direct and daring action, striking strength and indomitable will. We thought the symbolic nature of the brand name was a perfect opportunity for sound. Combining the worlds of tech and nature inspired a lot of creativity, but also came with a challenge. Here were Dave’s initial thoughts upon receiving the brief;

“When we received the brief, it was clear that the Orca Security methodology was inherently influenced and defined by the strengths and behavioural qualities of the real life Orca whale when thinking in terms of the company’s ambition, function and personality.” – Dave

Quite early in the process, we found that the Orca Security audio identity, just as the name and logo, should take inspiration from the marine mammal. Orca Security’s bold and daring attributes and their focus on team collaboration match the Orca animal. Orcas are social animals often gathered in pods and families, hunting together using unique sounds and communication. Therefore, the audio identity had to generate a sense of boldness, kinship, daringness and a feeling of community. All these factors have been used to drive and shape every element in their audio identity, including various harmonies, unison voices, timbres and free-flowing rhythms. Dave also added;

“For us musicians, this provided the perfect “feeding ground” from which to experiment in finding the most creative ways to interpret these attributes musically and sonically, channeling the world of the Orca to support and enhance the brand’s values where we could see comparisons that would compliment the company strategy and environment.” – Dave

“(…) I believe our creation of music and sound here goes beyond that of a conventional sonic identity and invites users of Orca Security into a whole sonic world which can be experienced end to end.”

Strength in numbers

From a creative standpoint, there were a multitude of benefits to a collaborative approach. First of all, it fits with the overall nature of how Orcas work together in social groups. Second, it allowed for a more diverse result, combining the talents and experiences of different people.

“Our musical backgrounds and experiences are in some ways quite different, but I think it was this diversity that proved most insightful when it came to combining ideas and finding the best outcomes.” – Dave

Third, when multiple creatives work together, ideas are formed exponentially. One composer creates an idea, which is then further developed upon by another, which more often than not leads to innovative solutions. Dave concurs;

“Some of our sound creations are the product of combinations of ideas and of us both sampling and resampling each other’s ideas on a more granular level to create further more permutations.” – Dave

The result was a truly unique and innovative audio identity that takes its time to tell a story, while simultaneously revealing the complementary aspects of two opposing forces: nature and technology. To this, Dave adds;

“As far as the evolutionary process of the sounds were concerned (…), I believe our creation of music and sound here goes beyond that of a conventional sonic identity and invites users of Orca Security into a whole sonic world which can be experienced end to end.” – Dave

 

Audio Logo

The Orca Security audio logo is a sonic representation of the Orca; lethal in the face of danger but comforting to have on your side.

Musically speaking, the logo combines underwater sound design, expressing the passionate and ‘weightless’ nature of the Orca with a unique melody. The deep notes, showing strength, boldness and insightfulness, represent the endless depths of the ocean, rising to a short musical phrase akin to a police siren, symbolizing security and threat hunting. Finally, a ‘bite’ sound effect adds intensity, boldness and memorability.

“Finding a solution that brought these naturalistic and technological worlds together in a way that felt homogenous, progressive and future facing was the biggest challenge for us.”

All sounds are created using electronic and acoustic techniques, such as synthesis & sound recording manipulation. The combination of these techniques allowed us to fuse the technological aspects with the naturalistic ones. Here are Dave & Amnon’s thoughts regarding their approach.

“Finding a solution that brought these naturalistic and technological worlds together in a way that felt homogenous, progressive and future facing was the biggest challenge for us.” – Dave

“Lots of work I do has biophilic elements, either overtly or covertly. I have a deep love for making hype musical forms but also eco, transcendent, and ambient-inspired ones.” – Amnon

The audio logo was mixed for spatial audio (3D), highlighting the various movements and layers in the sound, allowing for an immersive experience.

“Audio producers are always looking ahead to the different ways music and sound design can be integrated more experientially so as to make a listening experience more immersive. With Orca Security, we were able to provide sonic elements that could be mixed binaurally with the endeavour to do just that.” – Dave

Listen to the audio logo below.

Music Toolbox

Besides the audio logo, we made a music toolbox for Orca Security, containing three brand tracks for their films, social media and podcasts. In addition, we also created sound effects, called breakers, for their podcasts Cloud Security Reinvented & Breaking Waves. These brand tracks and sound effects helped with creating a musical universe explicitly designed for Orca Security and based on their needs and usage scenarios.

The method we used during the creation and production of the music was similar to the audio logo process, exploring various aspects of the brand name, in a literal and metaphorical sense. From a music theory standpoint, the Orca Security audio logo is harmonically ambiguous at the end. This plays to a suspended floaty vibe in the tracks, given that they are in a different (but closely related) key than the logo.

Read more about each track below.

Cloud Security Reinvented

Cloud Security Reinvented is a podcast for security leaders who oversee or manage the security infrastructure within their organization. Each episode provides a glimpse inside a day in the life of a successful security leader. Led by host Andy Ellis, the podcast needed a soundtrack that supported the serious but calming tone of the series.

The weightless, human and modern side of Orca Security, is represented through a calming and ambient progression, setting the tone for the podcast.

We also created a unique outro for the podcast, to distinguish it even further.

Breaking Waves

Breaking Waves is a bi-monthly news podcast, hosted by Beverly Nevalga. Each episode reports on Orca Security news and company culture, interviewing employees and subject matter experts to understand cybersecurity news in layman’s terms.

The creative goals for this track were ​​that it had to be colorful & vibrant, playing off of The Great Wave Off Kanagawa by Japanese artist Hokusaias, while retaining a sharp edge similar to the iceberg imagery used in some of Orca’s marketing content. This resulted in a more contemporary sounding older brother to the Cloud Security Reinvented brand track, with a more fresh and hip-hop inspired style as opposed to the original tracks ambient & electronic production.

The track represents the revolutionary, passionate and insightful side of Orca Security, with a more upbeat progression supported with sound designed waves weaving in and out, throughout the track.

Cloud Surfing

Cloud Surfing is an upbeat tune for special occasions. With a fast tempo, and experimental sound designs integrated throughout, this track is ideal for exciting announcements and events.

Listen to a snippet of Cloud Surfing below.

Podcast Sounds

We made various breakers and pageturners for Orca Security’s podcasts. These breakers range from short to long, acting as a kind of bookend, or a comma in the context of a podcast episode.

Here’s an example of how they sound.

All in all, the solution was a result of collaboration between a diverse group of audio professionals, with different backgrounds and experiences. Regarding the collaboration, Dave says;

“Working with Amnon was a complete joy. His ability to spark inspiration and find fun and creative ways to articulate the sounds we were after, in the most organic fashion, brought so much value to the table. The same can be said for his support and guidance he gave when it was needed, which is incredibly important when working as part of a composing team.“ – Dave

Amnon agrees;

“(…) Enter Sonic Minds, and a ferociously talented and kind musician named David Reynaud. A former BBC composer, this dude destroys and then reimagines the idea of the triad.” – Amnon

Amnon further adds about the consultancy from Sonic Minds;

“[We received] lots of bold support from Sonic Minds. Anton [one of the consultants at Sonic Minds] is an electronic music explorer, and Karsten [CEO] is a jazz musician with lots of DIY community-building energy. Those are a few key strands of my DNA.” – Amnon

 

Listen to how the Orca Security audio identity is used below.

Words from Orca Security

“Today, every B2B technology company is a media company. That means producing a variety of multimedia content such as podcast episodes, customer testimonials, webinar replays, product demos, and more. Across these content assets, there needs to be consistent audio branding akin to what your company has for its visual identity. Failure to do so is a missed opportunity to make an emotional connection with prospective buyers and elevate your brand. Sonic Minds helped bring Orca Security’s audio branding to life through a powerful combination of passion, process, technology, and talent.”

 

Elias Terman, SVP Marketing Orca Security

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