By Amelia Kallman, Innovation Consultant at Engage Works

Voices, sound and music are a large part of our emotional lives triggering memories, pushing buttons, and creating moods and feelings that enhance audience engagement. From targeting demographics and promoting brand essence, to rewarding customer interaction and creating personalised anthems based on customer’s unique data, we have identified the use of audio as a growing trend to add another dimension to digital experiences and marketing.

Smart brands understand that the more senses you can engage, the more possibility you have to cement your brand in a customer’s mind. Whether shopping online, on a mobile app or in retail stores, sound can be used as an impactful tool for emotive marketing that can significantly influence buying behaviour. Voice commands that produce a reaction through technology and directional audio technology can empower customers and assist in customer driven retail journeys.

One company exploiting this trend successfully is Novelia, interactive printed posters that produce audio when touched. They combine conductive print and capacitive touch to create smart surfaces that act as sensors and speakers. By wirelessly connecting the digital world to the physical through the touch of a finger, they are able to bring 2D to life, surprising audiences and giving them a unique experience that encourages product exploration and community sharing. Their interactive musical prints work across media, advertising, education, music, fashion, and healthcare sectors, giving brands a new way to connect with their market.

We have recently been exploring emotion based software solutions that utilise sound to drive market research and marketing industries. Personalisation is trend that we will be seeing much more of, and technology is opening up an array of fascinating opportunities. Through sensory data-capture technology, someone’s emotional response can be measured to different jingles or sounds, allowing brands to more accurately choose appropriate advertising themes that have the greatest resonance with their target audiences. Someone’s personal emotive data can then be assigned to instruments, translating a persons unique body chemical reactions into a 100% unique, personalised musical anthem.

Garbage Jukebox is a good example of function meeting fun. Offered as a solution to litter left over from late night partying on the streets on Portugal and Spain, the Garbage Jukebox encourages people to throw out their trash by rewarding them with music. For every plastic cup thrown into the Garbage Jukebox, thirty seconds of music plays, and glass bottles score a minute of listening pleasure, prompting attendees to throw out their trash to keep the party going.

While audio enhances marketing capabilities, there have also been recent innovations that will have worldwide impact on how we all communicate, ultimately leading to greater customer experiences. Skype Translator is a tool that breaks through language barriers, giving real time translation that lets people communicate easily when speaking different languages. Translator is currently available in English, Spanish, Italian and Mandarin with more languages coming soon. The potential for this technology impacting retail, as well as our day-to-day lives and global community, is immense, and it will be interesting to see where this leads. Talking humanoid robots, such as Norris the RoboThespian, featured in our Flux Innovation Lounge, uses sensors to interact with people, reciting lines from movies, telling stories, and greeting customers. Some humanoids can already speak multiple languages as well as mimic speech patterns, and are starting to pop-up in retail environments as attractors and sales representatives.

Sound is a vital part of the way we communicate, and innovative technologies continue to open up new ways that we can connect to audiences in the most effective and efficient ways. Listen carefully… you can hear the future calling.