September 30, 2019 / Technology

Music to our Ears

band playing

Arguably the most underutilised sensory mode in retail, we look at how brands are using sound to create multi-dimensional stores that help consumers explore, immerse and evoke emotional responses from spaces and products.

Sound can have a direct effect on our emotions. With the potential to influence our perception of depth, speed and motion, music can change how we view our environment. Independent Hearing Professionals have found that this strong tie to emotion is correlated strongly with the memories we associate with sound.

One of music’s most influential minds, Brian Eno, concluded that music has the power to soothe the nerves and stress of flyers and created the ‘Music for Airports’ albums, concluding that,

music can have physical and emotional effects on our health.

Speaker brand Sonos has been influential in using sound to immerse consumers in their products. A recent collaboration with IKEA explored how sound effects our emotions in an immersive theatre pop up. Each space was designed to represent a specific part of the brain with the sound having a ‘transformative effect’ on our perception. A bizarre trip into the inside of the brain helped guests connect with not only their sense but each other, emphasising both companies desire to use their brands to build community.

Investigating how music is evolving in retail, we look to Urban Revive in London’s Westfield. The store strategically places speakers that play soundscapes from Chinese cities, immersing consumers with the heritage of the brand. Designed by Domania Architecture, the urbanised has ‘sonic sensors are interactive, allowing visitors to engage with the product in an entirely new way.

Redefining the meaning of retail therapy, jewellery store Hoorsenbuhs’ in LA, gives consumers the chance to relax and be immersed in a sound bath before or after purchase. With a meditation dome on the roof, guests can choose to bathe in sound, reflect or even play on a small skate ramp, highlighting the luxuries venture into creating exceptional retail experiences.

In a society where technology trends are changing in rapid succession, the ability to adapt and emote is key in creating sustainable change. With many retail brands and stores wanting to create unique and immersive experiences, experimenting with sound should be imperative. Using either personalised platforms or reflecting a brand’s heritage, music adds another dimension for a consumer to explore and connect.

Key Insights

  • Critically thinking about how music could have an emotive resonance with consumers will allow music to be an adaptive and reflective entity of a brand, adding another dimension to the scope of a space.
  • When investigating new ideas we should look not only at our own discipline but investigate ideas across professions. This will not only drive our imagination but allow room for collaboration and diversity of ideas.
  • We should think about how can we combine elements of design to react in different spaces. How can our design of a space affect people’s attitudes, emotions and feel beneficial to a consumer?

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