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Ideas and technique to help you promote and image radio

The sound of Harrods

Demonstration of brand sound. from Stephen Martin on Vimeo.

British-based The Sound Agency has just picked up an international award for its audio work with the luxury retailer Harrods.

Audio Branding Award - trophyThe Sound Agency has designed and installed five  soundscapes which are designed to enhance the visual appeal of Harrods’ Toy Kingdom. Now this initiative has been recognised  by the Audio Branding Congress as the finest work of its kind in the world.

These in-store soundscapes are just part of a wider sound strategy which is designed to express Harrods’ brand values of “British, luxury, innovation, service and sensation”. The audio in each area continually evolves according to some “generative ” algorithms. Eventually further executions of this this brand sound concept will roll-out across the entire Harrods store.

Here are some examples of the different soundscapes:

[audio:|titles=”Harrods enchanted forest”]
[audio:|titles=”Harrods Toy Kingdom”]
[audio:|titles=”Harrods wonderland”]
[audio:|titles=”Harrods space odyssey”]

The founder of The Sound Agency, Julian Treasure hopes for a future that includes:

carefully designed soundscapes form part of a complete, beautiful multisensory experience, in stark contrast to the old, now scientifically invalidated, practice of veneering poor quality music on top of lots of noise.


So what has this to do with radio?

Businesses like Harrods who are investing seriously in the sound of their brands will be wise to generate some return from it through their advertising. As the medium that gets closest to consumers’ hearts and reaches them close to the point of sale, doesn’t radio seems a good place for them to start?

I’d like to know more about Julian’s work and how a brand sound strategy can be expressed in advertising but one thing’s clear already: if this immersive approach to brand sound design is to work in radio ads we’ll have to think beyond the usual production techniques. It won’t be enough to cast a voice, add a sonic brand trigger and write good words.

I’ll invite Julian to explore this growing area on a future edition of the Earshot Creative Review podcast. I wonder what he thinks radio commercials producers might do to help their clients derive more value from their investment in a brand sound strategy.

Meanwhile, I’m keen to hear from you too. Do you agree with Julian that this is a positive evolution in the way brands engage through sound and who is already taking this approach in their radio advertising?