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1.618 Digital to join Czech VR Fest 2018

We are delighted to announce that 1.618 Digital will be attending the Czech VR Fest 2018 in Prague, Czech Republic. The Czech VR Fest is now in its second year and will be taking place from the 10th until the 12th of May. Oliver Kadel will be giving a presentation on Immersive and Interactive Audio on the 10th of May at 17.30. If you are attending the festival, be sure to drop by and say hello.

Tickets and more information about the Czech VR Fest, including a list of speakers can be found here: https://www.czechvrfest.com

1.618 Digital Team

1.618 Digital Joins Streetwise Fair 2018

The Streetwise Creative Industries Employability Fair 2018 is taking place at the University of West London from the 19th to the 21st of March. Open to students and graduates of UWL, this fair offers attendees the opportunity to meet potential employers from across the creative industries. Over 30 organisations will be attending to give insight and advice regarding gaining work experience and progressing in their industry.

1.618 Digital have been invited to participate and we’ll be attending on the 20th of March. We’ll be there to present our work, talk about our recently launched Immersive Audio Podcast and discuss some exciting upcoming opportunities for graduates. Join us in Weston Hall, University of West London, St Mary’s Road, Ealing site from 11:30am to 2.30pm – we’d love to meet you!

For more information and to see a list of exhibitors, click here.

1.618 Digital Team

1.618 To Join The Panel at The BVE 2018 Excel London

1.618 Digital will be taking part in a panel at The Storyteller Theatre at the BVE 2018 Expo Excel London. Oliver Kadel will be discussing the use of immersive audio in modern storytelling, covering everything from future technologies to next generation audio. We’d love to see you there!

The panel discussion takes place on the 1st of Match at 12.30. You can get your free ticket here: Ticket Registration

Check out what else is taking place at BVE 2018.

 

See you soon!

1.618 Team

Valentine’s Gift Guide For Sound Nerds

It’s that time of year again – when demonstrating your love for your significant other takes the shape of garage forecourt flowers, overpriced dinner dates and lining the pockets of our nation’s finest retailers. Cynics? Us?

If you really want to treat the audiophile in your life this year, how about giving the restaurant a rest and putting the money to good use with something they’ll ‘geek out’ over?

We’ve picked a few suggestions that would increase our heart rate come Valentine’s, so if you’re struggling with some last minute gift inspiration read on for kit with the 1.618 stamp of approval…

OSSIC HEADPHONES

A great pair of headphones to experience immersive audio www.ossic.com

SUBPACK

Deepen your connection with VR with the Subpack wearable haptic device www.subpack.com

PL²

Probably the smallest synth in the world www.ploytec.com

TONIC

The pocket-sized sequencer www.teenageengineering.com

PT01

A super-portable record player www.numark.com

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

With Love, 1.618 Digital Team

Double Nomination at Raindance Film Festival

Awards season is upon us and here at 1.618 Digital we’re very excited to announce that two projects we’ve worked on have been nominated at the Raindance Film Festival.

First up, In My Shoes: Intimacy, by Jane Gauntlett and Visualise, has been nominated in the Best Sensual Experience category.

In My Shoes: Intimacy is a 360 experience which explores the power of human connection. Put aside your inhibitions, let these strangers guide you through their impromptu, unconventional & intense moments of intimacy. Intimacy is a first-person documentary designed for two people to experience three encounters from six very different perspectives. To read more about this project please check this case study or see the nomination here.

Next, Laphroaig by Darren Emerson and VR City has been nominated in the Best Branded Content category.

This film takes you on a journey into the heart of the historic Laphroaig whiskey distillery on the beautiful island of Islay. See the nomination here.

Huge congrats to everyone involved and fingers crossed for the awards announcement later today!

Good luck to all industry friends who also have been nominated.

1.618 Digital

Exclusivity & Identity

SONIC BRANDING – PART 2

In this installment of our sonic branding series we will continue to discuss the concept of exclusivity, perceptual self-identity of a consumer in relation to a brand and purchase decision-making based on sonic branding strategy.

It’s hard not to agree with Jacob Lusensky’s statement from his book Sounds Like Branding – “Music makes brands and people feel special”. People express their identity through music, and so too should brands. Not by shouting over their competitors, but rather by targeting the relevant market segment efficiently with a minimum amount of ‘noise’ through a consistent, carefully chosen sonic branding strategy.

In fact, a lot of brands already have some form of sonic identity, though as it often turns out, this takes the form of a largely unintentional, semi-random legacy of music assets – be it a telephone sound chosen by an IT department, who certainly do not understand or care about the brand, or ‘cheesy’ generic library music chosen by a video editor who made an introduction video for the company several years ago, which does not have any substance or meaning in the context of this particular brand or its recent marketing campaigns. And the list goes on…

Driving memorability and brand awareness

Brands pay a great deal of attention and allocate funding to wording, reputation, legalities and visual aspects such as design, logos and trademarks, but rarely is the same degree of attention and care attributed to establishing a sonic identity. Hearing is a critical component of how we perceive the world around us, which sits deeply in our physiology and psychology and simply cannot be ignored. A study by Dr North and Dr Hargreaves  revealed that companies who have defined their sonic identity along with a music branding strategy are likely to be 96% more memorable when compared to businesses that do not have any music or sound associated with them, or those who are in possession of an incongruent legacy of sonic assets randomly accumulated over time.

With this in mind it’s little surprise that music and sound can be an effective way to create brand awareness. An appropriate strategy helps to create attention by engaging audiences in a conversation about music or an artist the brand is associated with. Big brands have huge budgets to make shortcuts by having endorsement deals with global superstars or featuring their well known hits, though the same principle can also apply with much smaller scale activations.

Some brands, for example Red Bull, approach their audio branding strategy differently. By nurturing and representing much smaller unknown talent through their music label and various endorsements across the brand promotion, their audience very much enjoys and appreciates the unified sense of community and identity.

The factor of exclusivity plays an important role here. Customers are unlikely to be thrilled by or feel emotionally connected to musical content that has been recycled. No doubt, existing library back catalogues could often be an efficient and affordable resource to tap into every now and then, but would audiences react in the same way to the John Lewis Christmas ads if they weren’t accompanied by a beautiful melody? When it comes to large scale campaigns music and sound should be as authentic and original as the message or story the brand is telling. The audience will notice and appreciate that this content is available only as part of this activation and for a limited time period – creating a sense of exclusivity and belonging in the eyes of your customers.

Any positive or negative connotations with a brand affect its public profile, and association through sound is no different. Selecting the right sounds, music and artists can help to establish the desired perception in the eyes of the public and reach out for the targeted demographic. This is why McDonald’s are unlikely to feature a Radiohead track in their next campaign, considering Thom York’s public condemnation of animal cruelty. Or on the contrary, Ray Winstone’s gangster persona with a cockney accent is the perfect voice fit for Bet365 betting agency. As G.J Gorn once said in his publication about the effect of music in advertising on choice behaviour:

“What a customer hears may make the difference when they’re choosing and not choosing your brand”

Context is everything

A customer’s overall perception of brand experience concerns aspects such as performance and customer service, both in person and via other channels. Deploying the right sound will advantageously tailor customers’ perception of a brand. For example, it would be highly inappropriate to play heavy metal songs in an expensive wine or jewellery shop, whereas classical music would be just right. The congruent use of music can not only increase perceptional quality of a brand but also influence customers’ perception of themselves. For example, by making them feel more affluent and able to purchase a more expensive product or service. In contrast, how many times have you found yourself in a situation where all you need is a quiet moment with a delicious cup of flat white and peaceful contemplation, but excessively loud and distorted pop music is  pumped through cheap speakers installed in the corner by the bathroom. This turns the moment into a highly unpleasant and stressful experience – quickly forcing us out.

At 1.618 Digital we employ a unique combination of sonic branding strategy and years of experience in sound design to develop a powerful sonic identity for your brand. Contact us today via contact@1618digital.com to find out more.

In the next installment of our sonic branding series we will continue by discussing the importance of a sonic logo and how it compliments its visual representation.

1.618 Digital Team

1.618 Digital to join the Innovation In Music Conference 2017

Innovation In Music (InMusic) is a European music industry conference building on the success of previous conferences in 2013 and 2015. InMusic brings together researchers and professionals interested in the future of the music industry, from the artist through to the consumer.

The 2017 Innovation In Music Conference will be held at the University of Westminster’s Regent Street campus in the heart of Central London on 6-8 September 2017.

Conference Schedule

To purchase your tickets click here

See you there!
1.618 Digital Team

Music – The Language of Emotions

Sonic Branding Part 1

In this series of articles we’ll dive into the essential concepts of sonic branding in today’s rapidly evolving experiential and multisensory media landscape, examining everything from immersive audio, music and sound design within campaign strategies, to the importance of sonic identity assets and enhancing brand look and feel via a multisensory approach.

“As mathematics is the universal language of the mind, music is the language of the heart”

Robert Schumann, Composer (1810 – 1856)

Music is one of the most important aspects of audio branding. We’re hardwired to rhythms and patterns, with science suggesting that hearing is the first of five senses that develops in the mother’s womb, an embryo perceiving its mother’s heartbeat around 18 weeks. Music is so important to us that we constantly and consistently make it part of life – whether through daily routine or during milestone events. From simply driving a car to work to graduation ceremonies, weddings and funerals, music plays a crucial and significant part in how we experience events and the emotions we perceive around them. As perhaps one of the most ubiquitous forms of social interaction after spoken language and gesturing, music is another way of expressing emotion through communication, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that it forms the backbone of many successful audio branding strategies.

As we’re rapidly transitioning from the informational era to the experiential, the classic model of product, price, placement and promotion is no longer a cutting edge approach when placed in the context of today’s tech-savvy and advertising-weary consumers.

Aspects such as authentic emotions, a novel experience, direct engagement and sense of exclusivity play an increasingly pivotal role when it comes to “turning customers into fans”.

“When modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the state always change with them”

Aristotle, Greek Philosopher and Scientist (384–322 BC)

In fact, for decades a number of research programmes have shown that when purchasing expensive goods, for example fashion items, a new gadget or a motorbike, we rarely use a pragmatic approach. Dr Gottfried (2014), in her publication The Hormone Cure, states that it is a purely emotion-driven experience that makes our hypothalamus release the hormone oxytocin, giving us a sense of social connection, bonding, trust, generosity and overall happiness. Only after we’ve calmed down do we tend to try to rationalise the decision from a more practical standpoint.

Unlike spoken language which is processed primarily by the left part of the brain, music tends to engage the more creative and emotional right side of the brain, suggesting that music is a language which communicates directly to our feelings rather than our logic.

In this way, communication through music enables us to communicate emotions, thus creating more memorable experiences and encouraging more thoughtful conversation by tapping into our increasing need for authenticity and direct engagement. In doing so, music is capable of assisting brands in building a special position in their customers’ minds.

Music also plays a significant part in sonic branding when it comes to getting customers to buy into the values a brand stands for. When engaging people through authentic emotions, you need to tap into their passions, and music does that for the majority of the global population.

Brands like Pepsi have understood the power of audio branding for many years and have spent extortionate amounts of money featuring stars such as Michael Jackson, whilst producing tailored music and lyrics as part of their marketing campaigns dating back to the 1980s. The result of those campaigns enabled Pepsi to win a large market segment consisting of young Americans from the much established Coca-Cola.

The great news for thousands of brands around the world is that working with superstars is no longer the only option – any young and aspiring brand can accelerate the process of connecting with their audiences by taking advantage of intelligent branding and marketing strategies that fully utilise both sound and vision.

With a rapidly growing global ubiquity of mobile devices and VR headsets, along with an increasing choice of affordable or even free options of music streaming, apps and immersive content platforms, the power of music within branding is only set to increase.

‘Music is the shorthand of emotion”

Leo Tolstoy, Writer (1828-1910)

In the next installment of our sonic branding series we will continue to discuss the concept of exclusivity, the perceptual self-identity of a consumer in relation to a brand, and purchase decision-making based on a sonic branding strategy.

1.618 Digital

What YouTube’s Heatmap Is Really Saying About 360 Video

YouTube recently announced a new analytics tool for 360-degree and virtual reality content creators: heatmaps that illustrate where viewers are actually looking. The new tool allows creators to see exactly what parts of their video are holding a viewer’s attention, and for how long.

YouTube has also released some enlightening early statistics on how – and this is important – viewers currently engage with immersive content.

“Surprisingly” (says YouTube), viewers spend 75% of their time focused on the front 90 degrees of an immersive video. Understandably, this figure has a lot of people questioning the point of VR content if the audience is only willing to engage with a quarter of it.

It’s an easy argument to make, but perhaps what these numbers are really saying is that VR content creators need to learn new ways to grab viewers attention in a 360º world?

Ever since moving pictures became something we watched for entertainment purposes, our eyes have been guided by camera angles to tell us where to look. For over a century that’s what the viewing audience has come to expect.

Virtual reality reminds us very much of the 2D world of film and television, but it’s an entirely different medium with its own set of rules that are still being written. Nothing is set in stone.

And camera angles? Well, those are up to the viewer to choose.

Content creators in the virtual reality space have the difficult task of catching the attention of an audience with over 100 years of collective viewing experience of looking straight ahead.

Does this make virtual reality a fad? A gimmick? No, of course not. It simply means that VR can’t rely on the same tools that have been used for film and television to engage an audience in a fully-immersive format.

That’s a lot of unlearning to do for content creators, and a lot of new learning to do as the format develops. It’s an exciting new frontier.

Back to YouTube’s statistics: the most popular VR videos had the audience looking behind them almost 20% of the time. Markers and animation are what the company suggests will help draw attention to other parts of the surrounding space. In our day to day lives our attention is constantly guided by signs, so it’s a helpful suggestion. But think about this: what’s the one sure thing that will make you stop whatever you’re looking at and focus your attention elsewhere?

Sound…

We are programmed to react to sound. In a split second we must figure out where that sound is coming from and what it means. It is as true in the virtual world as it is in the real world, which is why 1.618 Digital is passionate about high-quality spatialised sound.

Spatial audio can be an effective tool to lead or surprise your audience.  By being in the habit of looking in one direction at any given time, the viewer can easily miss out on what is happening behind or beside them. Through the creative implementation of sonic cues within an immersive environment content creators can control or suggest a narrative. Ultimately, this encourages the audience to engage with specific elements – or viewing angles – within the experience.

Virtual reality is an effective form of visual storytelling. What YouTube’s early heatmap data points to isn’t VR’s failure to engage its viewers. It’s the bigger picture of where audience attention currently is, and the gaps content creators need to fill to direct it elsewhere.

1.618 Digital Team

1.618 Digital to join the panel at the Immerse UK event

Welcome to the Real World – Immersive Audio for Augmented and Virtual Reality

1.618 will be taking part in a panel discussion with the UK’s leading Immersive Audio experts. Join us as we talk about the latest cutting-edge work in immersive audio research, development and content design.

The event will cover everything from audio AR/VR creative process, application workflows and the potential for product development. This guarantees to be a truly interactive event, with teams demonstrating some of the most exciting immersive audio technology and experiences in the field.

Other speakers include:

  • Jelle van Mourik (Sony) – Immersive Audio in Games
  • Gavin Kearney (University of York) – Immersive Audio Research
  • Gareth Llewellyn (Mixed Immersion) – Immersive Audio Production for VR
  • Chris Pike (BBC) – Immersive Audio in Broadcast

The panel discussion will take place at 5.45pm-6.45pm on Wednesday 24th May 2017. Click here to register and get your free ticket: Ticket Registration

For more upcoming events hosted by Innovate UK click here

See you there!
1.618 Digital Team