How did you spend your WhatsApp-free night on Monday? It was like a gift.
I learnt Mandarin and found a cure for cancer.
I’m exaggerating of course, but without the pings and pongs, my evening was transformed.
Of course it’s possible to manually turn off the notifications, but I did this recently and I couldn’t cope with the silence. The not knowing was almost as stressful as the constant sonic interruption.
So my texts, Telegrams, emails, LinkedIns and membership notifications all chirp / buzz at me in sequence from across the room from my phone, laptop and desktop to create an electronic chorus worthy of an early Depeche Mode B-side.
But this is what life is like now. Pay for a thing, accept a thing, get warned of a thing coming up – it’s all go on the sound front.
It’s also an incredibly powerful branding technique: each of is noises is very distinctive, so we instantly know what they’re associated with.
Witness the dawn of the ‘sonic logo’.
Which is, in fact, more of a sunset, as it’s been around for ages.
Take a listen to this recording of every Mac startup chime since 1984 – quite soothing.
Sega’s ‘Seeeeegaaaa’ takes me right back to Sonic the Hedgehog in 1991.
And these days, Netflix’s opening ‘b boom’ is the sound of a promising evening ahead.
What’s your favourite?
Since the pandemic, we’ve become big audio users, which makes it even easier for brands desperate for our attention to seep into our brains.
But it’s not just noise. Sensory marketing applies to smell as well. For example, Dunkin Donuts actually pump the smell of doughnuts into the air conditioning of buses in the US... all perfectly timed to when the bus passes a store.
A little creepy perhaps, but we already know that Tesco does that in their bakery aisle to give the impression of freshly baked buns.
You may not be able to create ‘eau de advice’, but what you can be doing is creating a world where people can be drawn in by you, where they recognise elements of who you are in places other than where you actually are, physically.
So what’s your sound? At Nucleus’s recent Illuminate live tour, speaker Nick Elston asked members of the audience what their walk-on song what would be. This could be a good place to start.
Think marketing isn’t for you? Then think again, I say in IFA Magazine. It’s no longer about Mad Men-esque agencies with Soho postcodes and a well-stocked drinks cabinet.
Do you prefer in-person retail to online shopping? I do when I get undercharged. This week I almost came away with a free Barbour jacket after the lady in John Lewis forgot to scan it. That would never have happened online…
Rats may soon need to hide their faces as Rentokil has developed a form of facial recognition technology designed to track individual rats.
Work in progress: The 80s version of the hybrid office, courtesy of mega Instagram account @ the_80s_interior.