European Society of Cardiology
BETTER SOUND 2019 | Categories: 3.1 Soundscapes and Ambient Sound, 4.2 Audio Branding
The Sound Agency
The European Society of Cardiology’s new audio identity is inspired by the sound of a human heartbeat and includes five event sounds. After its 2018 congress – which attracted over 30,000 attendees – ESC praised the sound’s ability to “bring the congress together” and for its “fantastic” ability to resonate with the cardiologists.
The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) is an innovative and important organisation that aims to improve the prevention and treatment of heart disease. Its congress is the largest annual medical meeting in the field of cardiology in the world, with over 30,000 attendees.
Conferences and exhibitions often sound stressful, chaotic, and fatiguing. That’s because they fail to ask two key questions: how does our brand sound? And how can we create an excellent customer experience in sound, as well as in sight? ESC wanted to answer these questions, and challenged The Sound Agency to create branded sound that would also improve its delegates’ congress experience.
ESC’s brand values are authority, integrity, influence and innovation. Its visual brand is well-defined, but until 2018 there was no sonic strategy and no congruent sonic assets. The Sound Agency visited ESC’s headquarters near Nice to lay the foundations for a new sonic logo. When complete, this sound became the central DNA of a new audio identity: its rhythm replicates a human heartbeat, and its melody and harmonies are clear, strong and uplifting – just like ESC’s visual brand.
The next task was to design a set of auditory experiences, all derived from this sonic logo. The 2018 Congress occupied a vast 100,000 square meters of space at Munich Messe. Our detailed Sound Audit mapped out all the creative and technical requirements and resulted in a Sound Action Plan that detailed five event sounds to play in 21 spaces at defined times.
Three of the sounds were generative soundscapes, playing at ambient levels to create pleasing background sound. An uplifting branded soundscape welcomed delegates; a subtle, slower soundscape played in auditoria between events to encourage human connection; and a nature-based soundscape supported relaxation in open areas.
The other two custom sounds were pieces of branded music, each prominently featuring the sonic logo: a three-minute call to action piece played just before sessions to signify that the start was imminent and build anticipation, and inspiring walk-on music accompanied speakers onto the stage.
Happy delegates commented on the excitement and fitting atmosphere that the congress sound created, while hosts described the installations as “calming” and “refreshing”. ESC’s senior team was delighted with the results. Its Chief Operating Officer praised the sound for its ability to “bring the congress together” and for its “fantastic” ability to resonate with the cardiologists.
Overall, the event set a benchmark in strategic, branded event sound. It stood out from the typical conference for its innovation and creativity, and for its consideration of delegates’ wellbeing. And the benefits last way beyond the end of the 2018 event: ESC now has a set of sonic assets that it can use across multiple touchpoints, and The Sound Agency continues to work with the brand on its 2019 congresses.