The Sound of Business – Part III

How to Give Good Sonic Personality©

We live in an age of metrics. Traditional and new media advertising
agencies often substitute metrics for understanding. Mathematical
models create the appearance of scientific analysis, when in fact they
are often manipulated to support a preselected agenda. We all know
data can be massaged to conform to almost any conclusion. Besides,
most small owner-managed companies can’t afford the expense of
these agency-driven number crunching solutions. The real question is,
do these metrics actually help us connect to our customers, who just
happen to be people?

Emotions Win Over Rationality

After all, we are dealing with people, and people react to information on
both a rational and an emotional level. If everyone bought goods and
services based on a strictly rational basis, we would all be driving Smart
Cars and wearing Old Navy jeans. People make decisions based on a
perception of reality, rather than a rational analysis. Without getting too
metaphysical, in business there is no reality, only perception. We
believe what we think is true, or what is presented to us as true.
Information is colored by who and how, the message is delivered.

Trying to Make ‘Senses’ Out of Life

We experience our lives through our senses. We see, hear, touch, and
smell. It is through these senses that we create what passes for reality,
and on that perceived reality we make our so-called rational decisions.

Left on their own, people will interpret what they sense in very individual
ways. What tastes good to you makes me gag. The woman I think is
beautiful you think is ugly. That is until we our told in some convincing
communication, what we should think.

Skinny, shapeless, superior super models are beautiful because we are
told over and over that they are, and ultimately we mostly learn to agree.
So what does this all mean: reality is a managed state of mind. We are
either the managers or the managed. Sounds pretty icky, doesn’t it, but
there it is, and I for one rather be one of the managers than one of the
managed.

Managing Perception

We have all been told from early on that ‘a picture is worth a thousand
words.’ How many times have you quoted this famous saying? And you
actually believe it, after all Confucius wouldn’t lie, would he? According
to Jack Trout, in his book ‘The New Positioning,’ what Confucius actually
said was, “a picture is worth a thousand pieces of gold.” Not the same
thing at all is it? There is actually no evidence that Confucius made
either remark.

The documented origin of the famous expression has been traced back
to a guy named Fred Barnard who sold tram advertising in the 1920s by
stating the claim in his advertisements. Originally he claimed it was an
old Japanese proverb, but later changed his story and issued Chinese
lettering with a translation in his ads. Who knows what the truth is,
maybe old Fred invented the expression himself, but most people
believe Confucius said it, and that’s reality, even if the damn thing was
made up.

What You See is Nice, But What You Hear You Remember.

People want to believe what they see is the most important element in
delivering a message, but I would argue that what you hear outweighs
even what you see. Think about it. Companies spend millions of dollars
on attractive logos and pithy corporate names, and I have no argument
with developing a proper logo or a great name. But successful company
names and logos have an element inherent in their design that goes
beyond how they look. It is how they sound. When you see a visual
brand representation, a signal goes off in your head and a little voice
whispers that company name. Try to think of a popular corporate logo
without the name of that company sounding silently in your head.
Sound, and more specifically the human voice, is the most under utilized
marketing tool we have at our disposal. And it’s ready to hit The Web,
big time.

The Web is Made for Sound

The Web is a multimedia platform and your website should utilize every
possible tool available to create your reality and to deliver your
marketing message. No one was able to stop the flood of images from
overtaking the Web, and soon audio will follow. Now I hear the screams
of some crying out against the multimedia pollution on the Web, and I’ll
agree that it will surely come. But here’s the thing, agreed most
companies will implement sound on the Web all wrong and it will be just
more noise, but if YOU do it right, you’ll be the winner. Your message
will get through the noise, and you will define reality, and manage the
perception of your audience. The question then is how do you effectively
implement voice-audio on the Web?

Audio – The Human Connection

I started this series of articles by stating that the way to break through the
liquid crystal barrier was with a human voice that delivers a Sonic
Personality¬© for your business. We’ve talked about how you must create
the basis for a business personality by first defining who you are, what
you do, and why you do it better than the competition. We’ve also talked
about focusing on the core values of what you want to do for your
audience, and not confusing them with all the things you can do. So now
we are ready to craft your Signature Voice Рyour Sonic Personality©.