101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

Agency EDITION

ANDY PAYNE

Global Chief Creative Officer at Interbrand

 

"Music is possibly one of the most underused and
yet most powerful forces at our disposal."

 

Global Chief Creative Officer, Interbrand

 

Payne is Global Chief Creative Officer at Interbrand and a member of the Interbrand Group Global Board and Executive Steering Group. He oversees the worldwide management of Interbrand Group’s creative offering to its clients and mentors and supports creative leaders across 36 offices. Payne joined Interbrand in 1994 and quickly established a successful track record. He has worked on some of the firm‘s most prestigious projects and has experience in a diverse range of industries, with nearly 25 years of experience in brand building. Payne has served as President of the Cannes Lions Design Jury and is a frequent industry speaker on the subject of branding.


Reese: Andy, thank you for taking the time to sit down with this interview project. Let‘s dive right in. Tell me, in your opinion, how important is music in building a brand?

Payne: Music is one of the most powerful brand building tools, creating recognition, recall and emotion in places where other brand signature elements may struggle. Possibly one of the most underused and yet most powerful forces at our disposal.

Reese: That‘s a good way of putting it. How important is music for you personally and for your work?

Payne: On a personal level it sets the ambience for open minded thinking and exploration. But it is also the background for setting the right tone for workshops and brainstorms, looking at brands that use music with great effect.


Reese: Considering how deeply music can affect our emotions and trigger certain memories, do you think the right choice of music can also change consumer behaviour?


Payne: Yes. The right music can match expectation and give depth and colour to experiences. However, it can also do the opposite if not well chosen.

Reese: A lot of brands are what I call “mute brands,“because they disappear once you turn their backs on them. They are brands who are lacking a voice that is unique and distinct. Do you believe a brand should be recognizable by sound only?


Payne: As an ambition yes, as sound can work harder in places that other brand devices cannot reach – but we have to see it as an integral part of all the tools of brand design at our disposal.

Reese: But should there be certain guidelines in regards to audio for brands? From my years of working in the business, I have noticed that so many brands are arbitrary in their use of audio. We‘re in the trust-building business, so the success of a brand on the market depends on whether its consumers trust the brand, and in order to get there, the brand has to be intentional and consistent in the way it speaks to its consumers at every touch point. It‘s different with most brands‘ visual and verbal communication, where they are very often quite disciplined. Considering all of that, do you believe brands should follow an audio style guide – just as they follow a visual style guide?


Payne: Brand guides are becoming ever more experiential, so fewer rules and more about the context of touch points and the needs of the audience. But as part of these new brand experience frameworks, yes.

With smaller and smaller time frames around communication, sound perhaps is becoming even more important.

 

Reese: A lot of big international brands have audio branding strategies in place. Do you think there is a link between a brand’s level of discipline in their audio behaviour and its economic success?


Payne: Yes. Good editorship and attention to detail regarding use of music and brand, shows a brand is managing all assets for maximum effect. This should be rewarded with greaterdifferentiation in the market and closer connection to consumers, which, in turn, should result in positive economic returns.

Reese: Can you share your most memorable experience with music and how it influenced your work?


Payne: On a personal level, music holds memories and feelings – so recalling personal events and the power of music reinforces its power and need for consideration in brand development.

Reese: We often find that people don‘t know much about audio branding yet and aren‘t aware of what it can achieve for their brand. Is audio brand design part of your conversation when talking to a client about brand communication?


Payne: Yes, but it tends to come a little too late in the conversation as an add on. We need to bring it forward to be an integral part of creating the ideas behind brands.

Reese: Good point. Where do you see the greatest challenge in finding a brand’s voice?

Payne: The challenge is with music being so personal and holding and signaling diff erent individual emotions. One signature sound may bring out different emotions in different people. Original composition is the way forward.

Reese: What’s your current decision-making process involving music?


Payne: Choosing and sometimes commissioning music to align to brand manifesto propositions and storytelling.

Reese: We‘re in the communication business, but one of our biggest problems is that there‘s still often a lot of miscommunication between creatives, and especially between creatives and music providers. So how do you communicate music when briefing a composer/music company/music supervisor or publisher?


Payne: Using brand idea stories and personality mood boards that set tone and behavior. Also benchmarking the market and competitors to ensure difference.

Music is one of the most powerful brand building tools, creating recognition, recall and emotion in places where other brand signature elements may struggle. Possibly one of the most underused and yet most powerful forces at our disposal.

Reese: How do you determine how much you are willing to pay for music – licensed or scored?

Payne: It needs to be authentic and credible to a brand‘s belief, connecting to the needs and desires of the audience and standing apart from the competitors and the market.

Reese: How do you determine how much you are willing to pay for music – licensed or scored?


Payne: Combination of client budget, use and time.

Reese: There are a lot of great audio brands out there. Is there a particular brand that you admire in their use of audio in their brand communication?


Payne: British Airways is a good case of a signature piece that has been successfully evolved over time.

Reese: Do you see a shift in how important music is becoming in your brand communication?


Payne: With smaller and smaller time frames around communication, sound perhaps is becoming even more important.

Reese: Where do you see the challenges and opportunities when working with music in a branded social network environment?


Payne: The challenge is to make individual disparate ecosystems where we are controlling relationships in harmony with many brands.
Reese: What does the audio branding of the future look like?

Reese: What does the audio branding of the future look like?


Payne: Personal composition and control around our experiences and connections to others.

Reese: Final question: How does a big idea feel like? This isn‘t necessarily music-related. Do you recognize a great idea immediately when it arrives?


Payne: Big Ideas are built on smaller ideas and ladder up to form unusual and powerful connections, often resolving tensions or opposite forces. It often feels as all things have aligned.

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