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Sonic Boom

How Sound Transforms the Way We Think, Feel and Buy

By Joel Beckerman with Tyler Gray
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Sonic Boom by Joel Beckerman with Tyler Gray

Sonic Boom (2014) highlights the many ways sounds permeate not only our environment but also our personal lives. From your company brand to your personal space, sound has the power to make us remember and even can encourage us to buy. These blinks show you exactly how to harness the power of sound in your business and life.

Key idea 1 of 5

While you might try to block out all the world’s noise, your brain never stops listening.

Close your eyes right now and take in the sounds around you.

What do you hear close to you? Perhaps you can eavesdrop on a whispered conversation on the bus. Now, what do you hear further away from you? Maybe you can identify the rumble of highway traffic, or children shouting in a nearby playground.

Every day we are surrounded by sound, and what we hear shapes the way we feel, influences our energy level and touches our consciousness. Movie music does this particularly well: you can’t help but be put on edge when the “shark theme” from Jaws – just two resonant bass notes – is played!

The right sound heard at the right time can even trigger a memory or evoke a powerful emotion. When this happens, it’s called a boom moment. But why exactly do boom moments occur?

It’s simple: your brain never stops listening. Even when you might not consciously be paying attention to the sounds around you, your brain is processing it all and connecting the sonic input with experiences you’ve had.

Chili’s, a Mexican restaurant chain in the United States, has recognized the power of sound to influence its customers. When you enter a Chili’s restaurant, you immediately hear the sizzle of meat on a hot iron plate.

This sizzle grabs your attention and inspires a chain of sensory reactions: you hear and smell the meat, the laughter of other happy and sated guests surrounds you, and you realize suddenly just how hungry you are for fajitas!

This is a boom moment, and one that obviously contributes to the restaurant’s bottom line. No surprise that Chili’s sells as much as 60.4 million pounds of fajitas per year!

The influence of sound on how we feel isn’t random; there’s definitely a science to it. Researchers Clare Caldwell and Sally A. Hibbert found that diners spent almost 15 minutes longer in a restaurant in which slower-tempo music was played, in contrast to a restaurant that played faster-tempo music.

The reason? Slower music made diners feel relaxed and safe, so they lingered over dinner.

Would you want to incorporate the power of sound in your business? There’s more to it than just turning on the radio. Read the next blink to learn more.

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