Hear the Brand: A Hospital Marketer’s Field Guide to the Surprising World of Sound (Part 2)

January 29, 2016

// By Colleen Fahey //

This second half of a two-part series continues to explore the concept of audio branding and looks at how a tailored audio vocabulary can boost your brand influence more than you might ever expect. In the first section, we focused on social media in the quirky world of hospital marketing and introduced the subtle ways that branded audio can be used to tie content back to the overarching brand. In this installment, we cover best practices for infusing audio into your full customer journey and look at the role audio branding can play in bringing coherence, differentiation, and impact to your brand.

Colleen FaheyWalk into the admissions area of a university hospital and you’ll hear the clatter of carts, the chatter of announcements, the buzz of phones—everything to say, “You’re in an institutional environment.” Nothing to say, “Welcome, friend.” No sounds to help convey the experience you wish for the patient, family, or staff, such as confidence, optimism, teamwork, or scientific rigor.

Enter an equally large mall in Lyon, France, and you get a different experience entirely. The music has been designed to suggest a magical experience in store for you. All along the route there will be moments of auditory surprise, humor, and humanity. Plant walls carrying the sounds of birdsong and waterfalls, chairs whispering calming meditations, soothing music or children’s stories, corridors scored at a relaxed walking pace—all threaded with the sound of the brand.

And at a Lancôme Beauty Institute in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, a blogger reports on the treatment rooms: “The music is original and specifically made for Lancôme, designed to be in harmony with the motions used in the treatment.” It’s not the same old spa music. It supports both the experience and the brand.

So you may wonder what links the hospital, the mall, and the beauty institute. The answer is simple: All of them have the chance to use sound to change the way people view the setting and the experience. But while the mall and beauty institute are using auditory elements to their full potential, the hospital is missing a valuable opportunity to use sound to create a connection with its target audience.

If your organization is like the university hospital in this example, you’re overlooking the power of audio to convey important messages and build a relationship with patients. But it’s not too late to begin bridging the gap today, one note at a time. Better yet, your admission numbers and customer satisfaction ratings may benefit from your efforts.


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