Little Grey Cells #8… The sound of silence is finally coming our way

Successful actress Poppy Elliott, has starred in Hollywood movies and popular UK TV drama… as well as Quiet Mark (which quietly rewards world’s industry leaders for making life quieter), she has the world’s companies wanting to win Quiet Marks, from Hollywood companies to fork lift truck manufacturers.

What is Quiet Mark?
It’s new and it’s important. It’s the not-for-profit kite-mark award programme for the world’s quietest-designs of machines, products and places, the next generation arm of the Noise Abatement Society.

We have a Quiet Mark online directory too. It’s the first global brand showcase of quiet-product design, a one-stop-shop for consumers to buy everyday quiet products. To validate the quietness of products we have a team of sound experts at ANC – UK’s leading acousticians. But we’re not dogmatists. Quiet Mark is absolutely not about telling every-one to tip-toe around being mute, or ticking off any type of big expression of sound, rather it promotes the benefits of creating a sound-scape of Quiet-Time to re-charge. Quiet mark is a simple label to help you know you are buying one of most low-noise products available.

How long has it been going and how well is it doing?

Six months after launch we signed up as partners 35 leading global brands including: Lexus, Mitsubishi, Philips, Sennheiser, Panasonic and Yamaha. Lexus are patron sponsor following their iconic ‘Shhh..Join the Quiet Revolution’ campaign.

Twentieth Century Fox have taken it up for the promotion of Mallick’s Tree of Life. Win a Quiet Life in 2012 is our monthly national competition to win up to £8,000 every month of latest quiet technology and experiences. As a launch we couldn’t have created more noise or more excitement. It has epic potential because of generic appeal and has never been done before.

You’re an actress as well as being a marketer – how has this been relevant in shaping Quiet Mark?

On stage or wherever you’re performing there are three things that matter: Obviously knowing the part; understanding the role and being true to the meaning of the role; engaging with and winning the belief of the audience in what you’re doing. In that respect it has points of similarity with marketing, all the world’s a stage..

How important is sound in our lives?

Sound deeply affects us, it plays on our emotions, from the tone of our voice, to orchestrated music, to silence, to the sound of machines which surround us and which symbolise the civilisation in which we live. As we become more sophisticated and inventive we find more ways to emancipate humanity, through travel, through getting machines to do more work (such as washing up), through aids to cleanliness and through communication devices and media platforms.

It’s brilliant but it comes at a cost. The cost is pollution and the most insidious form of pollution is noise. Tests show the noise levels in some restaurants exceeds that of a jumbo jet taking off. Noise is a bigger problem than we think: we all have ears, they are very precious and often not looked after.

How hard is to achieve change?

We seem to have hit a wellspring, people clearly want more peace. Any significant change takes time, effort and persistence. But understanding something has to be done about the noise problem is gaining traction rapidly. Industry’s big and little brands working together, both with consumers and with catylising forces like Quiet Mark, have power to revolutionise the world’s aural soundscape.

Let me tell you about the building of the Shard in London, Europe’s tallest building, 1,200 people working on site 24/7/365 over three years. It’s next to Guys Hospital – so building quietly was important. We are awarding Mace the Building Contractors a “Quiet Mark” because they did a fantastic job doing a brilliant job without raising the voices or the sound levels.

You suggest that sound is one of the most important factors in modern life – why?

Ten years ago you did not see nearly every other person with a pair of head-phones on walking down the street. there is a battle on to escape from the natural sounds around us and to control the sound going into our ears, minds, hearts.

Never has there been a more passionate mass movement to escape the aural connection of the world around us with sales of noise-cancellation headsets booming, we can now choose to block off stressful urban noise, to protect our focus and concentration or even run away from the reality of the world we have created, to find comfort and pleasure in sounds reflecting our heart’s desire. The mega-trend for noise-reduction is here and everyone has a part to play.

What’s next for Quiet Mark?

Quiet Bark, we’re finding the quietest solutions to gently and naturally keep excessive wooffing at bay. Baby Quiet, creating the aural balance the little people really need. Quiet Time – finding at least an hour to say nothing each day to tune in to still small voice of calm. Quiet Aeroplanes, Sound-scaping Cities, Loving our Ears and finding more great ambassadors from every industry to join the Quiet Revolution…

Tim Healey (15 Posts)

Tim is a DJ, music producer and digital advertiser.