Like it or not, your office might have its own sound one day.

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When – or if – you return to the office, you might notice something different in the entryway, the kitchen, or your entire workspace: carefully curated audio.

Maybe there will be an energizing soundscape playing in the parking lot to wake you up when you arrive in the morning, or swell around your office in the afternoon as you battle post-lunch depression. Collaborative spaces could be filled with calmer, relaxing sounds that inspire focus and productivity. Music meant for winding down can filter through the speakers at the end of the day to let you know when it’s time to wrap up.

Many American corporate employees have spent nearly two years working from home, getting used to the sounds of kids, roommates, pets and more while they work. Now, as some businesses consider reopening strategies, a quiet office could end up feeling like a thing of the past.

Made Music Studio, a sound branding agency that creates iconic sounds for brands like HBO’s movie presentation audio logo and AT&T’s four-note jingle, bets it will.

He is working with Spatial, a software company specializing in technology and powering what it describes as “immersive audio experiences” for retail spaces, museums, theme parks and more, to develop a series of sounds suitable for corporate environments, allowing companies to experiment with audio as they attempt to attract employees to the office.

Getting employees back to work IRL is more important to some companies than others, according to Calin Pacurariu, co-founder and CEO of Spatial.

“Employers who work in very high-growth, fast-moving industries with a lot of potential competition realize that if their teams aren’t together, they’re going to lose,” he told Marketing Brew. “So it’s not just about employee benefits – which it is – but it’s about the survival of the business, quite frankly.”

Soundtrack of my life job

Last fall, Made Music Studio and Spatial launched three sounds inspired by the four elements to tease the concept to potential customers. Companies that purchase the software and “soundscapes” can create more personalized experiences beyond the initial three sounds.

The “Welcome Mood”, designed for use in lobbies and entrances, is intended to inspire a feeling of warmth, while the “Focus Mood” aims to reduce distractions in coworking areas. An “energizing vibe” was designed for high-traffic spaces, like hallways, to create a feeling of “optimism and motivation,” according to the companies.

For larger offices, executives can order more personalized soundscapes to fill different spaces, according to Alex Coutts, SVP, chief experience officer at Made Music Studio.

“We want to make sure that we really grade every room and space so that they either focus on a specific function or give workers the customization they want,” he said.

Made Music Studio and Spatial won’t name customers yet, Pacurariu said, because the offering is still new.

For some companies, the goal is to use audio to counter the anxiety some people may feel when entering public spaces, especially ones they’re unfamiliar with, Coutts said. This strategy – using audio to create a sense of calm – isn’t necessarily new, it just isn’t applied to offices.

Colleen Fahey, US managing director of sound production and sound branding agency Sixième Son, said she had done similar work for an airline client, creating specific music to play as travelers boarded. and disembarked. Retailers, too, are paying close attention to their audio choices.

One strategy, called zoning, plays different sounds in different parts of a store, much like how Made Music Studios’ three soundscapes are each aimed at different parts of an office. The key is that the sound complements the product or activity associated with the space, Fahey said.

“People respond to consistency,” she said. “They feel better when things seem to match.”

Make noise

Speaking of audio, voice assistants could also become more common in offices, according to Emily Binder, chief strategist and head of voice marketing at Beetle Moment Marketing. For example, personalized Amazon Alexa could allow employees to access information such as company calendars, she explained.

“B2B applications of voice commands will change people’s lives,” Fahey added. “Once it’s not confusing because we’re so early in the life of the voice, it’ll be like every person has an assistant who can make a lunch reservation.”

That said, companies should be careful to avoid missteps in their use of audio. Binder said she sees sensory overload as a potential problem, one that American businesses have had in the past. (Can anyone else smell an Abercrombie & Fitch store yet?)

“We do that in advertising with visuals,” Binder said. “Don’t do that with the sounds too, because [people are] so sensitive to sound. The goal is to evoke a feeling.

She suggested holding focus groups before widely implementing desktop audio, while Fahey recommended avoiding heavy drumming and changing the audio at least once a quarter so no one gets confused. fed up.

In the industry, many sonic branding experts believe that simplicity and subtlety are key.

“There’s a kind of aural soundscape or ambiance you could create in an office that doesn’t need to be interrupted or even really noticeable,” Binder said. “He can really blend into the background, just like the air.”

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