In 2019, May 7 was Nyepi – Bali’s Day of Silence. A primarily Hindu island in a primarily Muslim country, Bali is unlike the rest of Indonesia; and this sacred day is unlike any other.
Nyepi begins at 6am and runs until 6am the following day. During this 24-hour period most basic functions of modern life are forbidden: electricity and lighting, internet, speaking, working or entertainment, going outside and leaving the house is unlawful. Accordingly, no-one walks the streets, the regular hum and honk of cars and scooters is absent, even the international airport (Asia’s 8thbusiest) goes dark. The island literally puts a closed sign on the door.
Nyepi is a spiritual time of self-reflection, but falling the day before Hindu new year, Bali uses this reset to ward off evil spirits. Not by scaring them away but rather by boring them to tears. The idea is that with darkness, little or no sounds, no visible human life and no activity on the streets, the island feels deserted. Bad spirits may come but they will believe no one is there that day and stay away for the next year.
Sometimes for radio brands, silence is golden too.
The desire for constant noise-making is insatiable, but not always prudent. There are times when going quiet is a more powerful tactic. And for a number of reasons.
If changes need to be made, it gives the product team time to pivot, alter strategies and then present the new sound, look or feel to the audience.
The notion that ‘silence is deafening’ will confuse your competitors.
And taking a moment of time out in a brand’s lifecycle, can actually make the next big thing (show launch, promotion, activation etc) stand out even more.
We are in the noise business and as counter-intuitive as it can feel, some quiet can be nice every so often. It won’t bore your competitors away, but the regroup / recharge / re-present benfits are huge.