The Importance of an auditory UX in the Age of Instant Gratification
Sex! Drugs! Cheeseburger!
Now that I have your attention, let’s get talking about pleasure, not just food or love, but pleasure as a principle. In bookish terms, pleasure is defined as the simple human tendency to seek happiness and avoid pain. This principle has found its way into the modern UX or User Experience and their synthesis has created a cycle of instant gratification.
The Modern UX
The modern UX is like a powerful drug that constantly triggers our brain’s reward system. For example, you walk 10,000 steps, your Apple Watch congratulates you and you feel… yes, pleasure. Whether it’s mobile, wrist or desktop based and we’ve gotten really good at creating a world of constant dopamine stimulation.
Remember Myspace, that thing all the cool kids were using in the early 2000s?
It acted as an instant gratification drug at first, but then failed in the millennial landscape. Why? It did not succeed in giving us the high that we are so used to. Gen Z has grown accustomed to such a concentrated form of the high that pictures and simple text and pictures won’t do, it has to be a constant never ending stream of videos, thus begetting the TikTok revolution. As much as we try to wean ourselves off this, our brain draws us back towards it.
We swipe from one cringe worthy video to the next; we just can’t stop! As much as we try to exercise self-discipline, our dopamine receptors almost always manage to have their final say and divert our attention to the cartoon monkey inside, i.e. immediate gratification.
You post a video, you get 300 likes.You then post another picture, you get 350 likes.
It’s a rush!
You like me, I’ll like you. It’s as simple as that.
Now what’s happening?
As gratification increases, our tolerance towards the gratification drug increases too. As we unconsciously seek out more gratification, our attention span reduces drastically.
So what’s left?
What can we do to compete in an increasingly digitally attention deficit world?
We’re left with only one relatively unexplored dimension, the auditory. Whereas it is impossible to invent or think up a new colour, (really, it’s impossible!) new and interesting sounds continue to be created daily. However powerful companies or people grow, they will never be able to truly call a colour their own. Telekom for example could never stop other people using a slightly different shade of their colour, Magenta, they do hold a complete monopoly on their ever present and famous Sound Logo!
Advertising demands a person’s attention to get the message across. It has become increasingly more difficult to grab attention given the amount of visual noise surrounding us, not only because of the number of ads but also because we’ve gotten so used to paying attention only to items that instantly gratify us digitally.
What can you do?
As we try to find more and more ways to market products and services, the visual leaves us with fewer truly novel opportunities to capture. Especially in an increasing audio first world, the opportunities for using audio as a new marketing tool are only just starting to hit the mainstream. Integrating a sound world or sonic identity into digital touch-points with the general public is one of the last remaining novel possibilities in order to filter out the noise of the competition around us. In addition, there is a goldmine of potential for recognisability and differentiation through sound that has only been exploited by a select few companies.
A snippet of a sound logo, a clever whoosh or a crystal clear clink may be all that’s needed to create a dopamine spike and demand what is so sought after, attention. To learn more about adding our Sound Branding toolkit to your marketing arsenal, click here.