To be honest -this headline was a struggle (and still is). Because how do you show that sound is the next big thing, that it can uplift any brand (especially within fashion) and at the same time give a glimpse of all the science behind sound? Argh -not easy! But no matter if the headline works or not -let´s find out why sound is so fxxxxx awesome and why we can´t overlook it (or should I say “overhear” it, ha ha -there are so many jokes when it comes to the science of senses – I am sorry in advance)!
The power of sound
Ever since I experienced sound expert Julian Treasure at a conference last year -I have been obsessed by sound. Sound is everywhere around us, but we don´t pay attention to it and worst of all; we are not aware of its tremendous power! Just think about how music can make you feel. It can change your mood completely and it can give information about any object without even seeing it (just try to think of a phone ringing -without seeing a phone in front of you…) And that is exactly what sound is capable of: interacting with your inner and outer being, and then things starts to become interesting….
How sound affects us
Sound can change the way we behave! If you hear a very annoying sound, you want to remove yourself from the sound. On the other hand -a very pleasant sound will be able to attract your attention and create a desire to move closer to the sound. Sounds can be constructive, but also destructive.
Sounds can be constructive, but also destructive!
If you work in a company with an open office environment you will experience that productivity goes down 68% and if you play inappropriate music or sound in a retail store -sales will drop 28%! So this is obviously the downside of sound. That it becomes annoying and distracting. As a brand and business, we should be very aware of the sound-environment around us: At the office, in our shop or even in the queue waiting to get through to customer-service.
How to take advantage of sound as a brand
During the last decades focus has been on visual information, which means pictures, logos and everything around the visible side of your brand. But now it is time to focus on how your brand sounds. Our society has become more and more visual. And we have become more and more overwhelmed in the proces of scrolling 200 meters of social media feed everyday (I am exhausted just by writing this fact)! This make us turn towards sound. We want to be informed and entertained, but in a more pleasant and comfortable way. And the answer to this is sound.
As a brand you can use sound in many different ways. You can create a sound logo, also called a sonic logo or an audible logo. If you google Dell or Nokia -you will most likely recognize their sound logos. You can also think about the music played in your stores. Music is the most powerful sound that exist. Why? Because it triggers recognition and association, which is the two areas you would love to join if you are creating a brand you want to be remembered -anywhere and anytime!
If you want the sound to be more personlized you can create music designed just for your brand and likewise -a brand voice. Sound can (and should be) an element that goes along and across your brand. Just like you think about, which campaign photos to use, sound should be an important part of your brand as well.
Society of sound
When our society developes into a more audio-driven society, it is crucial that brands fit in -in an audio world. Right now many brands sponsor podcast, but the only thing the potential customer hears is the host saying: “This episodes´sponsor is…bla bla bla” and that is not good enough. “Ads with music that fits the brand are 98% more likely to be remembered than those with non-fit music” (Sonicbranding by massiveMusic).
“Ads with music that fits the brand are 98% more likely to be remembered than those with non-fit music”
So if you want to play in an audio world -guess what, you have to think and be audio;-) Create a sound or some music that is your brand and share it in every imaginable context.
Sound is stronger than pictures
I am one of the biggest fans of pictures and visual images. It is so powerful when it comes to the art of building brands. But actually sound is even stronger. It can bring back memories and emotions, so you feel as if it happened a second ago. And that is powerful! We have 5 senses, but far from all senses are taken into consideration when we want to build a brand.
And that is a shame. I know that technology doesn´t allow us to smell or taste a brand through a smartphone yet, but I can imagine how amazing (and powerful) it will become. Many brands and retailers have opened their eyes towards the multi-sensory shopping experience and that is great. When we get more and more technology into our lives, we long for something less cold and metallic. We seek towards soft and comfortable experiences. Which actually leads me to my next point of view, about the benefits of sound.
Never forget the sound!
Sound affect us on several levels. It affects our hormones, our heartbeat, our breathing and it is able to change our mood. Sounds goes under our skin and it goes deep. If we listen to techno -we drive faster than if listening to classic music. Humans are such an amazing creature. If we understand how our surroundings affect us, we will be able to create perfect environments and the best conditions to thrive. This is especially important if you have a fashion brand and a brandstore. The sound of shopping in itself is actually quite annoying: The sound of hangers touching eachother, people discussing what to buy/what not to buy and clothes coming on and off. Sounds that can be annoying should be camoflaged at anytime. If you are not into music, consider sounds of nature like birds, waterfall or rain.
The future is audible
“If you are not audible in the future, you will be invisible” -according to sound expert Julian Treasure -and I actually believe he is right -to a certain extent. I would rather say, that sound have the ability to create a stronger brand-experience than anything else and that you should be aware of the possibilities to activate all senses. As technology moves on in its crazy pace forward, we, as humans, will have a need for the gentle touch through sound, smell, taste and touch. If brands are able to deliver this -branding will go to a whole new level. But to begin with, let´s try the sonic-branding and ask yourself: “How does your brand sound like”?….