Innovation Showcase: Sound Particle Labs

Sound Particle Labs has been shortlisted as a finalist in the Innovation Showcase with Venturefest NE. Christopher Winter, the team's technical director, explains to BQ just what the business does and how important innovation is in their line of work.

Describe your business in no more than 100 words.
Sound Particle Labs helps businesses – and others - generate more meaningful communication with their clients, through the power of sound.

We are creative partners for brands, product creators and heritage organisations.
We use our scientific and research based background alongside our artist creativity to deliver more considered sound that has a significant purpose.

Our consultation method allows us to develop sound that is more tailored and emotionally connected with the client’s customers and employees.

What prompted you to enter the innovation showcase?
We believe that sound is an underestimated and underused component of a brand and company identity. In a visually saturated market, it is hard for companies and brands to stand out from the crowd.

Our company offers a fresh and innovative way of thinking about, and creating, sound to benefit customers. When done correctly, the impact of sound and music can create an emotional connection to the audience. It is this differentiator that allows us to help communicate your product or brand in a meaningful way.

Describe the innovation that you’ve entered the showcase with   
At Sound Particle Labs we use custom software tools, including audio mood-boards and generative music software. We combine creativity, art and science to create memorable sound experiences, from audio trails to interactive sound installations.

These products enhance our offering to clients as they are guided through a journey of how considered sound can be used to create a more meaningful experience. Our technical ability means we can advise on how best to implement sound for the maximum impact.

Our main innovation comes from approaching sound from a scientific and creative background. One of the main sectors we provide audio for is sound branding, where we use research to create sound and music that amplifies your brand purpose and creates a sense of unity from all your stakeholders.

How would you describe that innovation to your grandma?
We help companies that understand that sound and music can be used more effectively to enhance the customer’s experience. We partner with the client, delivering consultation meetings and workshops to help us gain an understanding of their needs. We will then use the data gathered from the company along with research and our creative flair to create sound and music that delivers their goals.

What are the biggest challenges you face when trying to innovate in your business?
A lot of companies and organisations don’t understand that bad fitting audio does more damage than no sound at all. Off-the-shelf stock music can be good for some applications, such as getting draft ideas together, but it does not convey the company’s ideas, principles and emotions.

Worse still is that if a competitor can use the same music and sound, they automatically inherit the values that have been placed with it, devaluing the brand and reputation in return. We often need to educate people that using the same sound as another company is like using the same visual style... And you wouldn’t use the same graphic logo as another company.
 
And how is business going for you at the minute?  We are still a very young company, having only just formed in November 2014. Our company was developed through the Digital City Fellowship and we were offered the opportunity to progress into Teesside University’s incubation program at Victoria Building, where we are currently based. Our offices are amongst other start up businesses in the incubation program which allows us to bounce ideas off other innovative companies.

Where do you see your company in five years time?
Sound Particle Labs seeks to be globally recognised and achieve awards in the sound branding sector. To accomplish this, we are actively looking to work with forward thinking companies that understand that the power of sound can help differentiate them from the rest of the crowd and are willing to take the next bold step.  We are also looking to research the medical benefits of audio and how that can be applied to our sound and music.

What advice would you give to aspiring innovators?
Do something that makes you happy. It’s cliché but it couldn’t be any more true. Innovators don’t work the usual 9-5... You’ll be much more passionate in succeeding than being stuck to typical work hours and there will be days in which you don’t sleep at all. So make sure your spending all those hours doing something you truly love doing. 

As an additional tip, Test ways in which your innovation can help in other business sectors. There may be potential opportunities that arise which you’d never expect.