The impact of sound over people’s emotions, behaviours and decisions has been well-established by numerous scientific research. Sound can influence the way we perceive and experience things. As we have shown in our previous article, the use of sound in branded spaces is crucial to effective and engaging customer experience. Music strongly impacts product choice, time spent in-store, sales, perception of shopping time and perception of store.
However, physical environments are not the only touchpoints where sound can be used strategically to enhance and augment brand experience.
In the previous decades, much interest has been given to the development of branded sounds: the catchy jingles and auditory logos. These sounds are distinctive signature sounds, they can be representative of specific brands and may convey benefit in terms of the consumer’s product experience or brand impression (Spence & Wang, 2015). However, auditory cues have been found to be impactful also if they are associated with the packaging of a product. Previous research on food and beverages has shown that the sound of these products almost allows us to understand how they will taste. Moreover, they also influence our hedonic expectation concerning how much we will enjoy it (Spence & Wang, 2015). In the same sense, we should start to consider a proper relationship between packaging and an appropriate use of sound.
Packaging is a critical aspect for brands, it is the outfit of the product. The design and presentation of packaging is a key component of the customer experience. It conveys the brand image, generates attention and product engagement.
An effective package design can grab attention, delight and engage consumers. A good way to do so is to insert elements that defy the expectations, to which the customers will react more favourably. The sound that a product packaging makes when consumers pick it up off the shelf, when they handle it, or when they open or close it, can influence their multi-sensory product experience. Such sound can lead customers towards improved engagement and create positive associations with the product, leading further to a better product experience (Krishna et al., 2017).
A great example of the use of sound in packaging has been done by Jason Mayden, the founder of Super Heroic, a design-led company that sells children’s shoes. The goal of the company is to convince the kids that put the shoes on, that they’re a superhero . To elicit such experience, Mayden has created a great packaging and the sound is fundamental. In fact, the shoes are packed in a large cardboard cylinder and if one end is pulled, the shoes emerge as a video game-inspired sound effect plays. If the cylinder is put under one arm, instead, the shoes pulled out mimics the motion of unsheathing a sword from its scabbard. Moreover, the shoes come with what Mayden calls a “utility cape”: a drawstring backpack that includes a cape emblazoned with the company’s lightning bolt logo (Schwab, 2018). Mayden’s packaging is a great example of how sound should be used to augment the unboxing experience and enhance the meaning of the product inside of it.
We have been working with many of our clients on their branding and packaging, collaborating with their branding teams to inspire them to create a truly multi-sensory and product meaning augmenting unboxing experience.
How multi-sensory, engaging and product experience enhancing your packaging is?
Krishna, A. et al., (2017). Sensory aspects of Package Design. Journal of Retailing, 93(1), 43-54. Retrieved from: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Luca_Cian/publication/312180007_Sensory_Aspects_of_Package_Design/links/5a2d9ad10f7e9b63e53d337d/Sensory-Aspects-of-Package-Design.pdf
Sayin, et al. (2013). Sound and safe: the effect of ambient sound on the perceived safety of public spaces. International Journal of research in marketing, 1-11. Retrieved from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0167811615000798
Schwab, K. (2018). This Ex-Nike Designer’s Sneakers Turn Kids Into Their Own Superheroes. Fast Company. Retrieved from: https://www.fastcompany.com/90167413/this-former-nike-designers-sneaker-startup-turns-kids-into-superheroes
Spence, C. & Wang, Q. (2015). Sensory expectations elicited by the sounds of opening the packaging and pouring a beverage. Flavour, 4(35), 1-11. Retrieved from: https://flavourjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13411-015-0044-y