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How to Use Sound to Boost Your Business

When designing a commercial space, sound may not be one of your priorities. However, this apparently secondary detail has an important role in the way your customers and employees behave. Here is a piece of information to reflect upon: Studies show that loud music, while irritating to some noise-sensitive customers, make many others succumb to impulse buying. So how can you use sound to boost your business and when in the process of designing your interior should you start thinking about it?

The short answer is: It depends. First, what kind of business do you have? Second, what is your target audience? Third, what do you want to achieve? Coupling your answers with the results of a few studies that show how customers and employees react to background sounds may give you a few hints. Here are a few of them.

Cision office, Chicago. Designer: Eastlake Studio. Photo via officesnapshots.com

Offices. If your run an office and employee productivity is important for you, loud music during work hours will work against your goal. However, sound stimulation during break hours can have a positive effect by motivating and recharging your employees.

It is important to remember that productivity in a large open office may be as low as a third of that in a smaller quiet room. If you run such an office, providing headphones for your employees is a good way to deal with this problem. Using the headphones to listen to calming sounds such as birds chirping can raise productivity and change their mood even more.

Wax Revolution salon, Mexico City. Architecture: ROW Studio. Interior Design: Midori Calvo, Francisco Mota, Jose Manuel Garin
Photo: Sófocles Hernández via retaildesignblog.net

Spas. The reassuring sound of chirping birds is also an excellent choice for a place of relaxation such as a spa. The human mind is wired to associate this sound with a safe environment, where the happy chirping signals the absence of predators and, in a certain measure, the abundance of resources. Manipulating such deep human instincts and creating a calming atmosphere through sound is important for a spa business.

Another idea is to use the sound of ocean waves, whose rhythm happens to correspond to the breathing of a sleeping human body. Such a sound is great in a massage parlor, where sending your customers into a pleasant sleeping mode makes for good business.

Craft restaurant, Mumbai. Designer: Sameep Padora & Associates (sP+a) Photo: Kunal Bhatia via contemporist.com

Restaurants. If your business is a restaurant, you are likely interested in a few aspects of your customers’ behavior. How can you make them consume more? How can you improve their mood so that they remember you and come back? How can you open their wallet for more generous tips? And how ca you use sound to boost your business?

It is a good idea to start thinking about how sounds affect your patrons during your restaurant’s interior design stages. It has been concluded that the voices of other customers softly chattering in the background make restaurant patrons feel more connected, alive and present. A good architectural designer will give you ideas on what materials are best in achieving great sound control and sound transmission levels, instead of simply using sound absorbing materials that unnecessarily block the voices of other customers.

Unsurprisingly, slow music affects the mood of your patrons, making them linger over an additional dessert or glass of wine. If you want to attract a young crowd, raise the tempo and serve them more contemporary music.

Finally, if you want your customers to be less stingy with their tips, use music with prosocial lyrics that talk about helping others. The words seem to influence their behavior and make them be more open to larger tips.

Jade Dragon Hotel, China, designed by Mindful Design Consulting, rendering by Ryan Knope

Hotels. A well-designed lobby talks about the quality of your hotel even before the actual accommodations have a chance to do it. You can use sound to induce a state of relaxation as soon as your guests enter your door. A great way to do it is creating a water feature that sends its soft echo throughout your space.

Rajeunir Black Caviar cosmetics store, Houston. Designers: Studio Jantzen  and Open Source Architecture
Photo: Aker Imaging / Joe C. Aker via retaildesignblog.net

Stores. In a store, you should use sound to boost your business by adapting it not only to your target audience but also to the specific products you sell. For example, French music played in a wine store tends to make customers buy French wine, while other regional music directs them to the products associated with that region. Most importantly, loud music seems to influence customers’ self-control, make them buy more and be more receptive to marketing strategies such as brand names or discounts.

Please take a look at our Before and After images of selected projects from 2018 HERE.

If you are thinking to open up a new business or in a process of rebranding and remodeling your existing business, contact us to get a free consultation from Mindful Design Consulting. Click HERE to price your project design.

Also, take a look at “Branding By Interior” e-book, the only book written on this subject at this time. It brings insight on how you can turn your business into a market-dominating competitor by using human cognitive responses.

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