Poppy Szkiler and Anna Cox
Poppy Szkiler, pictured left, is the founder and managing director of Quiet Mark. Quiet is a family business for Poppy, granddaughter of John Connell OBE, founder of UK’s Noise Abatement Society in 1959. Her mother Gloria Elliott OBE is CEO of NAS charity today who co-founded Quiet Mark with Poppy in 2012 to create a solution for public complaints received by the Noise Abatement Society’s 24/7 national noise help-line concerning the excessive noise made by household tools, appliances and machines which invade everyday life. Quiet Mark is the uniquely positioned consumer champion award programme working with brands to create solutions to transform noise pollution
Anna Cox, right, is the senior brand development manager at Quiet Mark. Anna works with Quiet Mark brand partners to ensure growth within quiet technology categories across their B2B and B2C sales and marketing activity, and with John Lewis, Quiet Mark’s major UK retail partner, with over nine years of experience in trade and retail marketing at Electrolux. Anna collaborates with new industries and awarded brands to further grow the Quiet Mark message and service across industry
Why consumers are increasingly seeking the Quiet Mark
Quietness has become a big selling point. Particularly in kitchens and bathrooms where appliances and gadgets traditionally produce a lot of noise, consumers are increasingly looking for quieter solutions. Retail research shows proactive brands who have developed products with verified ‘quiet’ credentials benefit from stronger sales.
As the bar is raised across the board on directional design, performance and connectivity, ‘quiet’ is one area where brands can really stand out with consumers’ fundamental need for peaceful living environments. The Quiet Mark underlines acoustic engineering achievement to lower noise levels to gain a competitive edge in category.
We test products in over 50 product categories; the Quiet Mark is awarded to lowest noise high-performing products in each category. Being a licensed Quiet Marked brand, carrying the trusted purple ‘Q’ award on packaging and POS, delivers a powerful message re-enforced when used across multiple marketing touchpoints and social media campaigns.
The effect on sales is compelling. In July last year, John Lewis technology buying director Johnathan Marsh reported significant sales uplift in Quiet Mark-awarded products of 44% on average, with washing machines – up 47% – and fridge freezers – up 80% – among the strongest performing categories.
Quiet Mark has pioneered ahead of the curve, raising awareness of the impact of unwanted noise, playing an instrumental role in identifying a vital quality that consumers want: supportive sound delivered by thoughtful acoustic engineering. Since 2012, Quiet Mark has responded to the complaints of the general public received by the Noise Abatement Society’s helpline about the excessive noise made by home technology by developing the world’s first stamp of approval for the quietest products available from over 70 leading global brands. The Quiet Mark has become a sought-after symbol of quality assurance among brands who understand market change, the new era of sound design emerging, and the value in being a ‘quiet leader’.
The demand for quiet products is particularly strong in kitchens and bathrooms, where product noise has traditionally caused annoyance. Consumers fed up of the din of laundry and cooling appliances, cooker hoods, extractor fans and toilet flushing systems are motivated to ‘buy quiet’ and the Quiet Mark helps them to easily identify quieter models in their research. Quiet Mark has awarded many brands in this space, elevating their achievements in quiet design multiplying sales, including Bosch, Siemens, AEG, Fisher & Paykel, Whirlpool, Samsung, Falmec, Salamander, Vent Axia and Grohe.
Current interior design trends including the popularity of open-plan living are increasing the momentum of the ‘buy quiet’ movement. According to a study published by Houzz this year, more than half of renovating homeowners are opening their kitchen up to nearby rooms. With fewer dividing walls, noise becomes an even bigger issue, with the rattle of a dishwasher or whirr of an extractor fan reverberating throughout the home.
We know from research published by Quiet Mark’s major retail partner, John Lewis, that almost half – 49% – of people in the UK consider sound to be an important factor when buying appliances. Among those with an open-plan living space, a much larger number – 62% – say that sound plays a role in their appliance-purchasing decisions.
Multi-generational homes – with the traditional 2.4 children replaced by mum, dad, the boomerang generation and often a grandparent – also present an acoustic challenge. Who needs appliances adding to the racket when you’ve got band practise and the telly on full blast?
Noise annoyance isn’t the only issue either. Quiet Mark reminds us of the impact of noise pollution, considered by WHO to be the second biggest threat to public health after air pollution. Exposure to unwanted noise on a sustained basis can lead to many severe health problems, including stress, anxiety, insomnia, IBS, heart disease, stroke and premature hearing loss. We have a collective responsibility to keep our individual sound footprints to a minimum, and to be considerate to our neighbours.
Kitchen and bathroom brands that lead the way in supporting this goal, championed by forward-thinking retailers, have a real opportunity to drive brand attachment among a group of noise-aware consumers. There are now millions of consumers that prize ‘quiet’ as a must-have attribute in the appliances and technology they buy for their homes.