101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

BRAND EDITION

Gemma Albí Verdú

Global Brand Communications Director at Gap

 

“Most of the times I end up being in briefings where we discuss the story, the photographers and the location for months, but music comes into the process at the very end of the timeline with only very little attention and budget.”


 
Gemma Albí Verdú, Global Brand Communications Director, Gap

Gemma Albí Verdú is the Global Brand Communications Director for Gap. She has fundamental experience in brand communications, and is always striving to create new and unseen content in the world of fashion. Before her work at Gap, she has held different positions at various fashion brands like adidas or Reebok. Gemma is also experienced in the work on agency-side. She is a creative communications professional, who always looks for exceptional results in everything that she does.

Reese: Do you think that brands treat sound like it should be treated?

Albí Verdú:
No, I think we aren`t treating sound like we should. The process concerning sound is flawed and we have the same problem as many other brands have as well. In meetings, we are only talking to ourselves. The concept we are talking about only makes sense in the room we are in during that point in time. Outside, in a real environment, it`s a completely different experience. I think that’s something that we need to learn and become better at. The perception that people get and the message that comes across can be so different to what we actually intended to say. That`s why it`s so important to have strategies and different points of view. You are not going to make a brand successful with one experience or one commercial. It`s the sum of all those parts that will build your brand personality, which makes your brand recognizable. That`s how you stay in the customers` mind. Music is a crucial part of the whole process, but it has been treated very poorly.

"Brands need to have the same consistency with music and sound as they have with everything else."

Reese: A great example for a successful implementation of music are the James Bond soundtracks. Each artist took different sound elements and created a distinctive piece of music. All songs were popular in their respective point in time, and even today, we are able to clearly match them to the James Bond brand, as the sound elements have been used over and over again.


Albí Verdú:
What I really like about that is, that you could also apply this concept to brands as well. It`s about creating something that you actually own, and which will develop into a distinctive brand sound over time.

Reese: And it`s a great way for brands to become credible.

Albí Verdú: Exactly. That`s because everybody is doing the same and you can be the brand that sticks out. It`s a great opportunity to differentiate yourself from others. I think we should be a lot bolder in our actions and that needs to be reflected in every part of our DNA. Brands need to build this DNA over time because it`s not going to work from one day to another. Especially for us, because we are working in the fashion industry, music needs to play an even bigger role than it does right now. We sell lifestyle and values and we need to embrace music and sound in order to become pop culture again. That`s the power of music and sound. It moves you because you are connecting with it through emotion and it can make you lose any sense of rationality. It has the ability to establish a totally different connection to the brand. The product becomes secondary and it is all about the experience.

Reese: Brands don`t have to compromise. They have the ability to stay flexible and creative. But at the same time, they are also paying into their brand equity because customers are going to recognize the brand across all touchpoints.

Albí Verdú: Something that we always talk about, is that we need to be a part of the conversation about pop culture again. But that is actually not completely true. We need to kick off the conversation. Only then, the brand will be able to show its real strength. You need to be ahead of the game. I think the creation part of that is very important. Brands have to create a piece of pop culture and twist and turn it, not just jump onto an existing piece just because it`s on trend, especially from a music point of view. That`s where a lot of brands could do better, as this doesn`t build any equity. Most of the times, I end up being in briefings where we discuss the story, the photographers and the location for months, but music comes into the process at the end of the timeline with only very little attention and budget. That`s something that I really want to change in the future. We need to allocate the same amount of love, attention, and care for visuals as well as for sound. I think not really a lot of companies are doing that.

Reese: That`s true. But brands are still spending so much less on music than on other things, even though it comes with so many advantages.

Albí Verdú: There are many people involved in the process, but you don`t have somebody solely responsible for music. I think most marketers on the brand side and some creative agencies don’t have the required knowledge to build strong music and sound brand strategy or they don’t put enough attention to it anymore. Brands need to have the same consistency with music and sound as they have with everything else. We need to have the right help in order to approach this problem in a professional way and create music guidelines as we do for our logo executions. If music and image are approached in a holistic way, it will be very powerful and memorable for the consumer.

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