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Eliminating ambiguity in audio

Jun 11, 2018

"What colour is the dress?" Anyone who was online back in 2015 will remember being asked this question –and the resulting heated debates. Was it blue and black, or was it white and gold? The world was divided, and it's divided again – only this time through audio. The Yanny and Laurel illusion that swept the web is proof our ears can tell our minds different things, and we're taking a closer look at why.

Listen to this. What do you hear? Whether it's 'Yanny' or 'Laurel', you probably know someone who disagrees with you.

Described as 'perceptually ambiguous stimulus', the clip – featuring just a few seconds of computer-generated speech repeating what appears to be the same word over and over – sounds like it's saying something different to different people. Some can even switch between the two. But how?

It's been suggested that the name you hear can depend on your age, as younger people are more likely to be tuned in to higher frequencies. As well as this, audio experts such as Professor Hugh McDermott have proposed that the listener's accents, expectations, and even ear-mechanics can have a significant impact. Members of the public have also suggested that playback volume, bass levels, and the type of speakers they've used has also affected what name they can hear.

This phenomenon isn't the only example of how our personal perceptions can change what we hear, or how the same sound can have a completely different meaning, depending on who's listening to it. We all know songs that remind us of the happy times – and the not so happy times – in our lives. Music is a powerful trigger for emotions and memories, and the same stimulus can form different connections in different people's minds.  

This is what makes it difficult for companies to align their brand with an existing song – particularly one that's already popular or in the public domain. The thoughts and feelings triggered by the song you choose – no matter how well you think it reflects your business – will never be exactly the same for every listener. So the best way to achieve the same result with every consumer is to have your own, exclusive piece of music instead.

By having a soundtrack created for you, you'll achieve a consistent reaction with your listeners, instantly triggering positive associations with your brand. Plus, it enables you to tailor certain aspects of the music to reflect different company values and your company personality. As the sum of its parts, your exclusive piece will act as a perfect representation of your business, and steel all your customers in the same direction – meaning no pre-conceived ideas, and no triggers relating to anything other than your brand, and your message.

Your ears can deceive you and make your mind think differently. But with a Brand-Sound-Track™, crafted by world-class composers, you'll ensure this uncertainty is eliminated – and every listener will get the right impression of your business, first time.