Sound Thinking

An own approach on the usage of sound in favour of a brand, business and people.

How can music and artists expressiveness help a brand to connect with different audiences in different points of contact? How the voice tone of speakers or even employees who have a direct contact with customers can work in favour of a close interaction and at the same time detached from other players? How sound can amplify the characteristics of a product, and at the same time establish an emotional connection with your customers? How can sound comfort be in favour of the brand appreciation? How can sound improve the user experience in an app for example? Those are complex questions and they should be on the back of the mind of every manager who wants to minimize incongruences that the brand experience on its daily operation.

Although we try sometimes to let these important questions pass us by, we are noticing that more than ever, with the shift of the way we consume certain products, it is imperative that the aesthetic and attitudinal factor are aligned.

The subject sound, especially on the background of a brand identity and user experience development, fits perfectly on this scenario. The negligence of this subject can represent a huge missed opportunity, which is to explore one more sense. With this in mind, we developed a simple but powerful approach, which we named SOUND THINKING. Through three basic cycles
called LISTEN, CREATE and IMPLEMENT (LCI) we help brands to perceive the impact of sound on their transformation, business and people. We often say that the way of thinking about sound is constantly improved, in an organic way. The contact with incredible professionals inside and outside companies in each project makes us evolve towards making the sound thinking even more relevant.

Our role is to notice, in a holistic way, the world around you, seeking cognitive, emotional and aesthetic aspects, which affect the human experiences. Executives need to look their situation in an emphatic way, in order to identify and solve problems. All these aspects integrate the universe of sound, which we define as our field of work.

The Innovation must be transverse, not vertical in a corporative environment.

When we start a new project, the first big step is to understand its real context, map it, and assemble a multidisciplinary team that has an array of particular skills and knowledge required to fulfil the challenge laid in front of us. Approaches, such as Design Thinking, instigate us to not only focus on this point, but to bring different agents that have connection with the challenge proposed.

This process is very efficient, especially because we have professionals with the required skills to make it happen and this enables us to bring a creative freshness to each project, avoiding same cognitive field and same group solutions.

Another crucial point that is present in how groups and projects are organized in traditional ways. In our vision as well as in our DNA, there is no separation between innovation and creative team. In our way of thinking and acting, each project, environment, process and person, provides naturally a perspective and logical thinking to achieve the best result. Therefore, instead of having a creative group responsible to come up with the “BIG IDEA”, our way is that everyone working on the project have the opportunity to bring their inputs and outputs. These dissonant approaches from the different set of skills and points of view towards the problem are vital do generate the shared value.

Time to Practice the Active Listening

Listen - Sound Thinkers

Our first cycle, within the Sound Thinking approach refers to expand the listening capability of everyone involved, including our clients. The search of the right questions in order to find the challenge that we will face is essential and constant, among problems that are sometimes peripheral and only consume unnecessary time on the management decision- making process. This is a pivotal point that we notice when we get directly in touch with our clients, to define what the real problem to be solved is.

Perhaps due to this reason the subject sound is constantly underestimated, many managers cannot realise the different ways that a sound project can bring results not only to the brand but also to the business and all agents involved. This may occur when developing a new technology or even when re-aligning a brand. In one of our clients, a big Brazilian chain of
department stores, was not easy to realise that the excessive high volume of the music combined with the lack of acoustic treatment in certain parts of the stores and the peaks of noise caused by people’s movement on the shopping area generated slowness on the service at the checkout counter, increased time on queue by the customers and as a consequence of this,
products would be left on the queue area which would cause a decrease on the average amount spent by purchase.

The cycle closes as we come to realisation and “open our ears” to the real strengths, weaknesses and dissonances towards the goals and problems present on the project.

Prototyping Solutions in a Collaborative way

Create - Sound Thinkers

After understanding clearly all the context, it is time to put all the agents involved to think in solutions. On this new cycle, our goal is to facilitate a co-creation process where everyone involved, including our clients can aggregate their own perspectives and experiences around the project. Our solutions may vary from addressing aesthetic and attitudinal aspects
using sound or even develop an exclusive software that can control in real time all the sounds that will be put or withdrawn from a certain environment. In an interactive way, using agile methods we seek to fragment each insight and deliver these fragments in a way that everybody
can test and perfect the creative solutions until the final deliver.

Putting the ideas in action

Implement - Sound Thinkers

The last cycle consists in selecting the solutions that are relevant to the client and put them into action. The key point here is that, arriving on this stage, the insights were all tested and discussed over, which minimize the chance of re-work. Some clients say that at the same time that they can understand how we achieved together certain solutions, they developed a
new technical repertoire around the subject and an awareness regarding the real impact of sound, not only on the work spectrum but also in their own personal life. Trigger this awakening is what moves us daily.

Is vital to have this sound consciousness, especially in the world that we live in nowadays where more and more information get to us at all times and from every side, generating disorder, bad feelings and perception involution, not only to sound but also from all our senses. We can establish agile processes and include multidisciplinary people in a project, but we need to be emerged on the cycles in order to make them work and to have them making sense.

The fact is, the way that different projects are organized in traditional models result in a clogging of the listening, creativity and cause a negative impact on the amount of hours spent by each team on re-working the way that every solution is decided and executed.

Sound Thinking and the LCI cycles provide this empathic process of reconnection with ourselves, with others and with the world. It is a fluid way of thinking and it can be applied in different contexts, either on the performance of a certain service or on the development of new products and services, regardless the field of work. We want to expand this work philosophy beyond the meeting room, promoting the sound consciousness and this is crucial to achieve the transformation that we want to see in the world.

Paulo Dytz Published by Paulo Dytz

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