Sound Matters

Adrian J Cotterill, Editor-in-Chief


I asked Julian Treasure over at The Sound Agency earlier this week, if he could create me a single page foil that summarised his thoughts, his work and his company’s offering of Sound and Sound Consultancy (a tall order considering the scope of the subject matter).

I wanted a single page which I could then use in my own speeches and presentations and (of course) credit him with the detail. He came back with 3 foils but I do pride myself on the mastery of the simple Powerpoint and indeed got it down to a single foil. I will be using this PPT later today and in 2 weeks time again in India at the DS Asia event.

Anyway, thought I would share the salient points with you.

Sound affects people powerfully, altering their behaviour

  • Primary effects are physiological, psychological, cognitive, behavioural
  • Research has shown that sound can increase retail sales by over 30%

Most retail sound is arbitrary, incongruous and hostile

  • Main effect is to reduce dwell time and therefore sales

How to design an effective soundscape

  • Create audio brand guidelines
  • Remove inappropriate noise
  • Optimise acoustics and install a decent sound system
  • Design an effective background sound using psychoacoustics and ABGs
  • Add foreground sound that is targeted, appropriate, valuable
  • Consider the whole soundscape and listen: shut your eyes!
  • Test and test again

Julian’s Sound Agency offer, and trust me, it is so worthwhile you talking to them when doing a screen network or any retail work…


  • The sound of your brand defined and optimised
  • A four-stage process
    • SoundCheck – full competitive audit
    • SoundThinking – BrandSound defined in full audio brand guidelines
    • SoundPractice – BrandSound expressed
    • SoundHealth – optimisation and development

Sound creation and removal

  • Custom sound design and production
  • Soundscape design for retail and other commercial spaces
  • Music composition and styling
  • Audio programmes, sonic logos
  • Leading edge delivery technologies such as reactive sound, generative sound and hypersonic loudspeakers
  • Acoustic treatments for spaces

Sound consultancy

  • Expert advice on applied sound including:
    • Strategies, training, conferences, blue sky days, white papers, sound audits, teambuilding, event sound, voice coaching…

One Response to “Sound Matters”

  1. Nick Says:

    Great guidelines If only more retailers would think about round and noise pollution in their environments

Leave a Reply