Time to Be Heard: A Guide to Sound at Events

By Team Timebased

 

The medium of sound is a powerful way for brands to not only connect with their audiences but to influence the way they feel in a certain environment, in a certain moment.

 

As sound affects us in four ways (cognitively, psychologically, physiologically and behaviourally) it’s easy to see why it’s an important part of the event mix.

 

For example, did you know that if French music is played while you are wine shopping you are more likely to buy French wine? Or that the sound of waves crashing makes us feel calm because it has 12 cycles per minute, the same as a sleeping human?

 

Sound affects our everyday life and the way in which we think and feel in different environments.

 

Here’s our guide to getting it right at your event.

 

RETAIL SPACES

 

In its purest form, we move away from sounds we don’t like and towards sounds we do like. It has even been proven that inappropriate ‘soundscapes’ in a retail environment can see sales drop 28% on average.

 

When we worked with H&M on their DIVIDED pop up in Brick Lane an evening music programme was curated to transform the retail space into a lively music hub, with DJs like Lou Hayter chosen for her links with the fashion world and fresh London sound.

 

Headline act Foxes, who performed at the launch party, was also a perfect fit for DIVIDED with the right image and credentials to talk authentically to the brand’s 20 something audience.

 

The result was a hugely successful pop-up that ended up running for twice as long as originally intended.

 

BY ASSOCIATION

 

Music is a powerful way to enhance story telling at an event, conjuring memories and association.

 

Take Sunglass Hut's Tea Party for example, which took place as a standalone event during London Fashion Week 2016. The headline sponsor wanted to launch its latest collection alongside Georgia May Jagger with an avant-garde punk tea party, giving rebellion a fresh modern twist.

 

An enchanting experimental tea party menu from Bompas & Parr was created, a personalised punk print wrapped the walls and a raw venue nestled behind the lights of Piccadilly Circus was chosen for the A-List press preview.

 

The event however culminated in a private Brix & The Extricated performance, an appearance that gave the occasion roots and connected it authentically to the punk movement.

 

CULTURAL CONNECTIONS

 

The right music act can even mark a moment in time and create a dialogue with your audience. At the GQ Men of the Year Awards last year the show opened with ‘Life on Mars’ by the London Gay Men’s Chorus.

 

This not only served as a touching tribute to David Bowie but also opened conversation around equality and inclusion.

 

A BIGGER PICTURE

 

Music can also be a powerful way for brands to interlace elements of their marketing campaign together. When we launched Charlotte Tilbury’s Scent of a Dream perfume, Candi Staton took centre stage to perform in the middle of Covent Garden as a nod to the fragrances’ TV advert featuring Kate Moss.

 

The live show connected thousands of customers with a story they had experienced in other spaces, creating a moment in real time to remember.

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The right act, DJ or soundscape can make  an event. A thoughtfully crafted event environment can spark the imagination and create real emotional connections.

Now is the time to think about how audiences should hear the experience you want to create for them, and what that means about your brand.

Got something to add? Or want us to help you with an event? Get in touch!

 

References:

“Persuasion: Social Influence and Compliance Gaining” [2013] Robert H Grass, John S Seiter
“Listening to Music Can Change the Way You Judge Facial Emotions” [2009] Science Daily
“The 4 Ways Sound Affects Us” [2009] Julian Treasure, TedGlobal
“Perspective is everything” [2011] Rory Sutherland, TEDxAthens

Charlotte Tilbury: Scent of a Dream
H&M Divided Pop-Up
GQ Men of the Year Awards 2017
London Fashion Week SS16: Sunglass Hut Tea Party
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