Enhancing Web Effectiveness With Audio Sound Design

The average person is exposed to an assault of stimuli each and every moment of our waking day. Some of this stimulus catches our attention, but much is filtered out as extraneous, useless, or unimportant. This filtering is our way of handling the constant barrage of information we endure. As marketers it is our job to cut through all the meaningless, random white noise of life and penetrate the consciousness of our targeted audience with our marketing messages.

Mere Subliminal Exposure

One of the weapons, tools if you prefer, professional  Soundsmiths media producers use to create an impression and influence behavior is something called mere subliminal exposure, the process of communication without explicit notice. It is a process and effect that everyone uses every day without ever thinking about it, and it is a necessity in order to deal with, and make sense of, our over-stimulated lives.

The look your spouse gives you at a dinner party, the tone of a simple comment, or the change in body language communicates a message that says, ‘stop what you’re doing before I get angry,’ or ‘let’s get the heck out of here before I die of boredom.’ But whatever the coded meaning, the communication is clear. We all have the ability to decode these kinds of minimal subliminal messages. In fact the inability of some to properly interpret these kinds of signals has lead to unfortunate consequences.

This process is not to be confused with the discredited work of James Vicary, who in 1957 faked the results of subliminal advertising in movie theaters. He claimed and later recanted that by flashing barely noticeable images of popcorn and soft drinks on the screen that it increased sales of the items by a significant amount. However, this abuse of the phenomenon does not negate the fact that people are sensitive to, learn from, and respond to a variety of subtle visual and auditory experiences that influence their behavior. The same can be said of other senses like smell and touch, but since our main concern is how to use this process on website presentations we will leave the more physical encounters to our offline marketing colleagues.