How’s Your Audio Quality?

Tom Asacker shares an interesting piece on the state of quiet.

I just returned from a speech at the Wynn in Las Vegas, and while there I was struck by something. Actually, I was surprised by an absence of something: noise. I really didn’t hear any clanging coins, dissonant bells, or spinning WHEELS . . . OF . . . FORTUNE! And it wasn’t just in the casino. The same was true of other areas (hallways, meeting areas, restaurants, etc.); I experienced a distinct sense of calm. As casino resorts go, the Wynn is one of the quietest by far. And it’s also one of the most exclusive and expensive.
This got me thinking about leadership brands and their inherent sense of calm. Organizations that truly take an outside-in approach to their brands, ones that strategically focus on their audience and deliver value with each and every activity (or lack thereof), seem to be quieter and more subtle than others. They appear to genuinely respect their audience and are thus less intrusive and less noisy.
Their customer-facing people appear more composed and self-assured. They talk less and listen more. Their internal organization appears more composed and focused. There’s less redundant questioning and far less gossiping. Their marketing is also quieter, with less hype, less intrusion, and even less copy than others (see Apple advertising and packaging). It appears that the more valuable the brand, the less noisy it is (Harley’s engine roar notwithstanding).

This leads me to think about agency work spaces.
John Winsor mentioned how vital Crispin’s energy is. “CP+B is an incredibly entrepreneurial place. While it creates some manic energy it also has intensity around the creative process that is so necessary for anything great to happen.” I longed for that type of atmosphere yesterday when reading his description. Now, I’m considering the polar reality as expressed by Tom Asacker.
Maybe “making noise,” as agency people are wont to do, is the wrong goal. The higher order of things is simply being heard.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.