101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior


David “Shingy” Shing

Digital Prophet


“Sound allows you to connect with something in an even richer way than visual does.”


David “Shingy” Shing, Digital Prophet


David Shing, also known as “Shingy”, is an Australian futurist, speaker, strategic digital consultant, creative director, and entrepreneur. He is a multidimensional creative who specializes in advising clients about inventive and effective approaches to optimizing brand value within the digital landscape. He is known for his performative persona and his bold and polarizing moniker and is passionate about educating big brands about the unique opportunities afforded by emerging digital, social and mobile technologies.

Reese: Where do you think the topic of music and sound is going in the future?

Shing: Basically, I`m sure when I say that the time of music and sound is here now. Not only because of the new screen-less devices and the feedback you receive from them. The visual dimension has been explored so thoroughly, that the next layer really has to be sonic. There`s a statistic that the average American spends about five hours a day listening to music. That includes podcasts, YouTube without video, and more. So, not just music, but also other kinds of sounds. If you think about it, it`s a long time to spend without being visual every day. That`s only one part. The other part is the way that our brain works. We have the opportunity to understand and remember (brand) identities when looking at them with our eyes. With music, you are able to create totally different emotions and sensations. The use of music and sound is equally, if not more important than the visual. The ability to close your eyes and be immersed in sound is incredible. Every year, I think, sound is going to be a new dynamic. I`m expecting that sound will become number one priority in the future. But I don`t think it will be the headphone-sound kind of sound, I`m expecting different brands coming out with something absolutely incredible. I think it`s ironic that we are sitting here in 2020 and talking about sound as a new dimension. We already have sound at large! Radio was the dimension before TV came. Who would have thought sound wins? Which ultimately, I think it actually really does. Sound allows you to connect with something in an even richer way than visual does. Visually, you can get oversaturated, it can become visual noise. Sound isn`t just noise, it is way more than that. It has the ability to capture a mood. The power of music in a space is that it can convey a message and a feeling. But sometimes, music can be also misunderstood, as people can get the music wrong. There are not a lot of brands which are able to create a perfect experience for everybody.

Reese: If we look at brands like Intel or McDonalds, we will notice that their sound logos are all about 20-25 years old. This was a time, when all was one-directional information. We are talking about a 30 second TV commercial with a branding at the end. The branding was three seconds and it worked. Today, that`s not sufficient anymore.

Shing: That`s not the way we are talking to the consumer nowadays anymore. We have many different touchpoints with different requirements. There`s a term that I`ve been using for quite some time now, which is designalog. To me, it`s a new type of vocabulary. In terms of sound, I think that our brains are geared for short- or long-term sonic resonance. I would argue today that most of the brands think in terms of advertising, meaning less in interactions, and they are very visual. So, sonic is not there yet. Designalog is the next layer of what sound dynamics could be and the technology for that already exists. There are some brands that get it right already, for example, some retail experiences where the experience you get matches the sound dynamic.


“The ability to close your eyes and be immersed in sound is incredible. “


Reese: A lot of brands behave like teenagers. They sound different every time you are in contact with them. There is no consistency. That way, no trust can will be built over time.

Shing: That`s really interesting and it has something to do with DNA. Brands have lost their brand DNA on purpose, I believe. They act like teenagers on platforms, on which they think teenagers want them to act that way. If you ever visit them outside their domain, they act like a 75-year-old man, but in it, they pretend to be a fifteen-year-old boy. And we are also talking about old, historical brands here. You can see that from a mile away and that`s what makes many brands just the total opposite of authentic. Many car brands for example, have the same intro and outro or whatever it is and that somebody is doing something really remarkable. Everybody is trying to find new roads or whatever they are trying to do. For me, the difference needs to be in the really small elements and details, which need to be consistent and also based on identity. You need to have consistent behavior but stay relevant at the same time. Many brands might be consistent with their visuals, but they are definitely not with their music and sound. There is a possibility to really become authentic, but that works only if you sound the same way at every single touchpoint over a long period of time.

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