101 Great Minds

amp 101 Great Minds interview with Hubertus Devroye, Director of global Marketing at Dow.

“Challenging times force us reflect on things we took for granted in the good times. Auditory stimulus – sound and tone – are great examples. And what a great opportunity.”
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amp 101 Great Minds interview with Hubertus Devroye, Director of global Marketing at Dow.

“Challenging times force us reflect on things we took for granted in the good times. Auditory stimulus – sound and tone – are great examples. And what a great opportunity.”

101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

BRAND EDITION

HUBERTUS (HUUB) DEVROYE

Director of Global Marketing at Dow

 

“Challenging times force us reflect on things we took for granted in the good times. Auditory stimulus – sound and tone - are great examples. And what a great opportunity.”


 
Hubertus Devroye, Director of Global Marketing at Dow

Devroye joined Dow in Horgen, Switzerland, in July 2010, as the Marketing Leader for EMEAI, and assumed his current role in December 2018. Devroye established one of Dow’s critical global marketing growth programs around “Integrated Demand Generation” and “Marketing Automation”. He has extensive global B2B and B2C marketing, branding and commercial experience based on prior roles with DuPont de Nemours and Sara Lee Branded Apparel over the past 15 years. In his seven years at DuPont, Devroye held both corporate functional leadership and business unit marketing leadership roles. He also led the implementation of a market-driven and industry marketing approach in Construction, Energy, Food and Transportation for DuPont in both developed and emerging markets.

Uli Reese: Tell me about your role at Dow.

Hubertus Devroye:
We created “new” Dow, a world leading material science company, in 2019 out of the DowDuPont merger which happened a few years before. Our CEO, Jim Fitterling, set out on a very interesting course for Dow to become the world’s most innovative, inclusive, customer-centric and sustainable material science company. My role in Dow is to build a strong Marketing function, including one of its critical pillars around branding.  Branding historically, especially in B2B, is treated from a corporate perspective, and not necessarily in the context of Marketing in the businesses – taking a market-back view. So, to the delight of many of our marketers, we moved branding into Marketing as a priority and it’s great to have it back there. Building on the great work already done, we are taking a clean sheet of paper and start looking at how we are going to move forward with great storytelling, visuals, images, sound and tone of voice.

Reese: What is the perception of Dow as a brand?


Hubertus:
When people think about our industry, very often they think we only make the ingredients that go into products that go into solutions that ultimately end up with end consumers.  Emotions are not necessarily associated with the science of the ingredient itself.  However, if you look at what our CEO set out to do, and you put engineering and science in that context, it is very exciting and emotional. In terms of corporate branding we have a strong brand with lots of history and Dow has made a deep impact in many areas.  If you look around you there is probably something of Dow in everything.  I am at Dow and in Dow Marketing because it is fascinating. I’m not an engineer, chemist or a scientist but I love to work with them. I ask simple questions in a highly sophisticated environment.  Very often science is complicated, but the beauty is that the story has a simplicity to it and that’s the opportunity this industry offers. You have all these ingredients, products and solutions touching a human life.  This has become even more apparent during the pandemic.

Building on the great work already done, we are taking a clean sheet of paper and start looking at how we are going to move forward with great storytelling, visuals, images, sound and tone of voice.

Reese: Do you think the oversaturation for visuals is about to change because of smart speaker systems. Alexa is here to stay and now with COVID people don’t want to touch things anymore. Will there be a shift?

Hubertus: For sure there will be a different mindset coming out of this, emphasizing, amongst others, the importance of human voice and sound overall. Sometimes challenging times make us reflect on what we took for granted in the good times.  Sound and music are great examples.  With Spotify and Amazon, we have more access to music than ever before. Sometimes you have to pinch yourself.  In the past you had to go into the record store with a specific choice in mind.  Now you have everything at your fingertips in real-time, and in digital format.  The flip side is we forget that sound or music is an art, and it takes an artist to create sound or to interpret it.  I’m now listening more to the tone of voice in addition to the content. So maybe now’s the time to look at the sonic DNA of a brand.

Reese: So how do you distil the brand into sonic?

Hubertus: You can make great and impactful science speak in all kinds of different ways and I don’t think people have experimented enough with sound in our industry. We have done some, but there’s enormous potential for more and it resonates with me. Our CEO recently said that it’s a super exciting time to be in marketing at Dow, and this is certainly part of it.  A unique opportunity for our industry. I’ve been waiting a long time for this, and happy to be part of this!

Reese: Would you agree that voice is the number one trust builder in digital?

Hubertus: Very true. I work for a global company and during the pandemic we have all been on conference calls or using digital capabilities to stay in touch.  What happened is that everybody in some way has become equal. My team told me they have become a better and more inclusive team in the pandemic because they had to take into account the way they were talking to one another. Trust building had to happen in a different way.  In this case through voice and sound. 

Reese: Audio is the big equaliser but are brands prepared for this?

Hubertus: If you’re asking if “sound” is essential in branding, I would say yes. Have brands done enough with it? Probably not.  Even more than in B2C, you could argue that focus on product in B2B(2C) is even stronger, and therefore it’s true we have not done enough with sound. I’m hoping when we come out of these challenging times and people start to rethink to up our brand impact and awareness efforts, marketers will ask themselves: ‘Are there different ways of storytelling?’ The worst thing we can do is that we go back to that fast pace of living and forget what we observed and learned.

Reese: Today with technology anyone can produce content suitable for broadcast. Does that make a difference?

Hubertus: We have everything at our disposal which is great but it requires marketers to be even better. It’s going to be interesting to see who the truly great marketeers are, who understand the world they are living and operating in, and who can make a true difference. We all have three options when disruptions happen; one, you can hide and wait until the storm blows over, two you can be super grumpy and negative, or three, you truly embrace the change or disruption and go for it.  There are only going to be a handful in the latter category, but that makes it super exciting.  I often feel like a kid in a toy store.

Copyright © 2020, amp GmbH

Copyright regulations apply when using material from this document and when using the supplied video or audio files. This document is intended to be exclusively viewed by the recipient and its subsidiaries. Under no circumstances may the content or part of the content made available or forwarded in any form orally or in writing to third parties, in particular to competitors or affiliates. The publication, reproduction, distribution, reproduction or other utilization of the presented ideas, texts, layouts, concepts, films or audio files without express written permission by amp GmbH.

amp 101 Great Minds interview with Dr. Bernd Schmaul, CEO at Coup

“Soundbranding crowns the brand positioning and injects emotions you cannot visualize.”
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amp 101 Great Minds interview with Dr. Bernd Schmaul, CEO at Coup

“Soundbranding crowns the brand positioning and injects emotions you cannot visualize.”

101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

BRAND EDITION

DR. BERND SCHMAUL

CEO at Coup Mobility

 

“Soundbranding crowns the brand positioning and injects emotions you cannot visualize.”


 
Dr. Bernd Schmaul, CEO, Coup Mobility

Bernd’s professional focus concentrates on startup growth, branding and digital transformation. With more than 20 years of senior management experience in the mobility and technology space, he worked for top brands, such as Lufthansa, TUI, Europcar, Daimler, and now Bosch. Company positions as CCO of TUI-fly, CCO of Europcar, CMO of moovel and most recently as CEO of the e-Scooter Sharing Service Coup are examples for applying all channels of a holistic branding approach.

Reese: Can you talk about your CEO role at Coup?

Schmaul:
As Coup eScooter-Sharing we pioneered the way in Berlin, Paris and Madrid within this new urban mobility space.

Reese: Can you talk about the role of sound in mobility solutions?

Schmaul: A holistic way of branding is essential for the positioning of a company, product or service. The work of Martin Lindstrom’s ‘Brand Sense’ is key: A brand, obviously, is recognized by all our senses, not only visually, but increasingly with our ears. Sound branding is an important differentiator and ingredient of how a brand is positioned and perceived.

Reese: What role will sound have in the experience economy?

Schmaul: Sound clearly has a significant impact. Today, all aspects of e.g. music are being discovered. Whether a sound logo, a jingle, or even a song. For instance, I love Coca-Cola’s approach: Over the years, they have been adapting their Coca Cola song carefully. You immediately recognize the song and know that Coke is coming to town again. Also, microsounds, UX sounds, become more and more important, especially in apps and hardware. The biggest advantage of sound is that there is no need to focus your eyes in a certain direction but still you will be able to recognize whether e.g. a phone (and which brand) is ringing, even which feature is used.

Reese: Sound is the only medium that can stay with you throughout the entire customer experience. Where is voice today, and where is that going to go?

Schmaul: At Coup, we created a customer-centric UX-focused application, where the electric scooters have been accessed only with three clicks - easy, seemless and one of the best. However, apps are the standard today. Looking into the future, we might not need them anymore. With voice recognition we are going to have everything literally in our pocket. So, no need to hold a smartphone in our hand and open the applications. Everything will be controlled over voice. Within this context microsounds open opportunities for sound branding.

Reese: Your parent company Bosch is using sound branding strategically and globally today. Why are brands sometimes late to the table in terms of treating sound strategically?

Schmaul: In my opinion, sounds are recently becoming more and more important due to the fact that new technologies and devices are developed. Today, e.g. with the help of Siri or Alexa, which did not exist 20 years ago. Technology is driving new channels in which we can use sounds to position brands. Due to growing market size, new target audiences and higher utilization of those new channels, the importance of such is rising. The smartphone revolution is driving this as well.

Copyright © 2020, amp GmbH

Copyright regulations apply when using material from this document and when using the supplied video or audio files. This document is intended to be exclusively viewed by the recipient and its subsidiaries. Under no circumstances may the content or part of the content made available or forwarded in any form orally or in writing to third parties, in particular to competitors or affiliates. The publication, reproduction, distribution, reproduction or other utilization of the presented ideas, texts, layouts, concepts, films or audio files without express written permission by amp GmbH.

amp 101 Great Minds interview with Mike Aaron, Director of Production at Mother.

”Music can play the role of a multiplier, relative to an image.”
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amp 101 Great Minds interview with Mike Aaron, Director of Production at Mother.

”Music can play the role of a multiplier, relative to an image.”

101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

Agency EDITION

MIKE AARON
Director of Production at Mother



"Music can play the role of a multiplier, relative to an image."

 

Miike Aaron, Director of Production, Mother

 

Aaron arrived at Mother in 2007 after spending eight years producing for the celebrated creative ad agency Fallon in Minneapolis. Concurrent with his responsibilities at Fallon, Aaron assumed the role of Executive Producer of Uncle Forehead Filmworks, producing both commercials and new media projects for blue-chip clients, including Lee Jeans’ interactive three-episode miniseries, “Buddy Lee, Guidance Counselor,” airing on MTV. At Mother, Aaron oversees the production department.

Reese: Thanks for joining us. It’s amazing how many people have agreed to be part of this conversation.

Aaron: I’m interested to know if you’ve spoken to anybody from within the religious community? Because I think music plays a significant role in terms of how you consume religion; especially in how you experience it as a child. Certain institutions have realized tactics that are very effective ways of capturing peoples’ attention. Think of choirs and what a powerful branding tool they can be.

Reese: The Catholic church is one of the most successful brands in the world. And of course singing is a far more effective way of communicating than speaking. A song imprints on people.

Aaron: What’s interesting to me is that music can play the role of a multiplier, relative to an image. A picture can be powerful: let’s say picture of starving children in Africa. But when you add music, it becomes so much more powerful, so much more engaging. You could see the same image in a newspaper or online, as part of a montage set to music, and it’s the music that really drives the message home… In fact, the diminishing returns of print might be related to how incredibly dynamic and powerful images can be when they’re set to music in the online environment.

Reese: Music is a way of lowering a person’s defenses. How does that relate to advertising, for you? After all, we’ve just established that however cynical you are, or whatever I’m selling, if I come at you with music, I hit you harder.


Aaron: But you can’t solely rely on music to make communication effective. It has to work alongside the visuals and the message that’s inherent in the communication. The music track isn’t the tipping point – you need to create something that’s incredibly effective visually for the audio to play its role. If you have a bad piece of visual communication, paired with a music track, you could make it even worse. But if you have an incredible piece of visual communication and then you combine it with the most appropriate track, it can be exponentially more powerful.

Reese: So how do you know when you’ve found the perfect track? What’s your process for getting it “right”?

Aaron: I’m very keen on finding something that’s not going to detract from or interfere with the visuals. In advertising these days I think less is more at times – things don’t need to be the loudest spot on TV, the one with the most bass. When people are being bombarded with messages all the time, it’s OK to have quiet moments… I remember our agency was working on a Super Bowl spot for BMW many years ago, and it just had minimalist but very well done sound design: a kind of gentle breeze blowing. And amidst the sheer chaos the Super Bowl, that caught peoples’ attention even more. Because it stood out.

Reese: Communicating music seems to be very frustrating for a lot of creatives – they feel they can’t describe what’s in their minds. Are there ways of communicating music that work for you?


Aaron: Talking about music is one of the most difficult parts of creating advertising, because it’s so abstract. It’s like trying to describe a Rorschach test. What do you see in this ink blot? Even if you have a clear idea in your mind, you don’t want to be overly prescriptive with the composer, who’s an inherently creative person. You want to give them latitude. So you end up describing emotion. It’s hard, but it gives them creative freedom. Because that’s when the happy accidents happen.

Reese: To the extent you have to let go of the tune in your head.

Aaron: Another approach is to give them music references. Which I don’t like to do, because it’s like drawing them a map to an exact destination. What you want to do is give them a general compass heading. The path they choose should be up to them.

Reese: When can you say ‘this is the music that will go on air’? Is it completely subjective?

Aaron: Since it’s such an emotional subject, it’s inevitably a gut reaction.

Reese: Who’s involved in the final decision?

Aaron: Well…everyone. Obviously, the clients have the final say. Our job is to give them several effective options. But at the end of the day, it’s so subjective that there’s no clear right or wrong choice. There’s no equation: we can’t say, “These notes work with these people; this level of bass resonates with this culture.” The science isn’t at that level yet. At this point it’s still a leap of faith.

Reese: Is there a way to isolate the return on investment on music? I believe that‘s something that both brands and ad agencies struggle with. Can you justify the price tag?

Aaron: Fortunately it’s not any one person’s decision how much things cost. The market decides the most appropriate price for a piece of music in a given context. There’s already a structure for that – although there’s some latitude within those general confines. But you don’t just pick a number off a wall.

Reese: Talking of effectiveness, we all have a list of our greatest hits – they’re the key to our musical preferences. With all the data-gathering we’re doing now, one day there might be an algorithm that can identify our music tastes and make brand messages more powerful by personalizing their soundtracks for us. What do you think of that idea?

Aaron: I think it’s true that if there’s a type of music I like, and if you associate it with a certain brand, then I’m likely to have a more favorable impression of that brand. But what you’re describing is a somewhat sad state of affairs. If consumers are constantly being spoonfed exactly what they like, they’re not going to appreciate the full emotional spectrum of everything that’s out there. Things are only good and bad by comparison. If you take away that continuum of comparison, you water everything down.

Reese: Would you hire a testing company specialized in music? To take away some of that subjectivity?

Aaron: I think we’d be remiss if we didn’t take all opportunities into consideration for making communication more successful. At the end of the day that’s what this is all about – we’re selling products. As to whether we would solely rely on a given piece of research, that’s open to debate. Commercials are already focus-group tested, it’s a norm in the industry. But do you always go with the one that tests the highest? No – because there are errors in focus groups. One person dominates the conversation. The human factor comes into play. It isn’t an exact science. So there’s always going to be a debate, and there’s always going to be a judgment call at the end of the day.

Reese: You’ve worked with some pretty famous musicians. Can you talk about that experience? What was that like? And how do you decide that a particular artist is right for a brand?

Aaron: In essence you’re trying to align demographics – this artist has the same following as this brand. Sometimes a brand has a very logical partnership with a musician, something synergistic. It’s a fascinating process to be around.

Reese: Last question. To use a music term, how do you know when you have a hit? Is there a piece of work you’ve done that you knew was the equivalent of a number one?

Aaron: I think when you first come up with a specific idea, it tends to be a very quiet moment. Because at that point you have no idea what impact it’s going to have. You might have that “aha” feeling where you think: “This is cool, this is different.” But in our business, everything should be different. So if it does go on to have a big impact, that’s a very proud moment, because you realize you’ve created something people have chosen to consume.


"A picture can be powerful: let’s say picture of starving children in Africa. But when you add music, it becomes so much more powerful, so much more engaging."
 

Reese: But was there an example when you just “knew”, right there and then, that something would work?

Aaron: I don’t think so, not really. Years ago I was involved in the creation of the BMW online film series (“The Hire”), which had a significant impact because it was one of the first campaigns where long-form film content was broadcast on the internet, as its sole means of distribution. With celebrity filmmakers and actors. But at the time I don’t think we knew exactly how influential it was going to be. We only saw that in retrospect. I think it’s always good to be optimistic. But cautiously optimistic – not overly optimistic.

Copyright © 2020, amp GmbH

Copyright regulations apply when using material from this document and when using the supplied video or audio files. This document is intended to be exclusively viewed by the recipient and its subsidiaries. Under no circumstances may the content or part of the content made available or forwarded in any form orally or in writing to third parties, in particular to competitors or affiliates. The publication, reproduction, distribution, reproduction or other utilization of the presented ideas, texts, layouts, concepts, films or audio files without express written permission by amp GmbH.

amp 101 Great Minds interview with Maria Gräfin von Scheel-Plessen, Global Head of Media & Advertising at Montblanc.

“A sonic experience can be a big influencing mechanism and that has often been forgotten.”
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amp 101 Great Minds interview with Maria Gräfin von Scheel-Plessen, Global Head of Media & Advertising at Montblanc.

“A sonic experience can be a big influencing mechanism and that has often been forgotten.”

101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

BRAND EDITION

Maria Gräfin von Scheel-Plessen

Global Head of Media & Advertising at Montblanc

 

"A sonic experience can be a big influencing mechanism and that has often been forgotten."


 
Maria Gräfin von Scheel-Plessen, Global Head of Media & Advertising at Montblanc

 

As the Global Head of Media & Advertising at Montblanc, Maria oversees the global advertisement strategy for 22 markets across all online and offline channels, dedicated to digitally transforming the luxury maison while enabling a seamless user journey and full Marketing funnel with a strong retail network. Previously Maria held leading Marketing positions with Rocket Internet in Singapore and Amazon in Munich and has a strong track record in the tech and premium fashion industries. Maria is a regular speaker at international events such as the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona or the Transformation Summit in Dubai and is sharing her expertise on digital transformation and Marketing strategy and communications on a global scale.

Reese: Can you tell me about your role at Montblanc?

vSP:
I’m the head of Global Media & Advertising for Montblanc for 22 markets. I’m in charge of online and offline marketing and advertising budgets, and my area also includes everything for the media buying side. I also have the social channels, display channels, SEO, SEA and marketing under my umbrella. And I handle everything in terms of campaign management, so a broad spectrum.

Reese: We know what Montblanc is doing but for those who don’t know can you explain more about the brand?


vSP:
Montblanc has existed for 100 years. It’s a prestige brand from a very strong heritage background. What we do is to establish, communicate and support what we call the ‘art of writing’. Everything has become more and more digitally focussed but we still believe that the art of writing is a good and honest way to express your emotions. Writing the letter and connecting to your loved ones is something that has become extremely important during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time we are also tapping more into lifestyle products such as leather goods, headphones and smart products.

Reese: How important is audio identity in brand building and branding for Montblanc?

vSP: It’s important because it’s a gateway to the consumer, especially since there’s been such a strong shift in terms of digital media investment. You need to ensure that the consumer has a chance to understand the character and heritage of the brand. In the luxury world we talk about high value and highly emotional products, so we need to connect with the consumer on that level.

Reese: If you look at the consumer experience of using audio is it something you are satisfied with, or need to improve upon?

vSP: I would say it’s something we are working on. We have just changed creative agencies and we have a new team on our creative brand side. I think the focus on sonic experience has been a bit neglected but now they are seeing how important it is in terms of differentiating yourself as a brand.

Reese: Why do you think there is such a huge proactive shift from brands coming into audio?

vSP: For me it’s because there’s been a shift in terms of the audience that we’re targeting, which is Generation Y and Z. These audiences are naturally emotionally very stimulated - and they are spoiled! For previous generations digital was a bit of a miracle so there’s a big difference. We need to speed up our game in terms of advertising and targeting. It’s important to present a repeating reminder of who you are as a brand, and this can only be established if you have a sonic experience that’s easy to recognise.

Reese: Do you believe a brand should have a long-term strategy in terms of sound?

vSP: Yes, definitely. Otherwise it won’t be authentic, right? It would be just a one-time shot or just the one campaign activation.

Reese: Why are so many brands – I’m sorry to say – not authentic?

vSP: Two points. One is that when you start working with creative agencies, music and sound often comes last in the campaign creation process. We have the budget, the time frame, the product, and then we don’t care who is going to be the brand ambassador, so often you are looking at not what matches the brand but what matches the personality of the brand ambassador. So you’re already losing some authenticity because you’re giving up some of your brand DNA. And secondly, especially in the luxury or the premium high-end industry, you have to take into account a strong retail network. Boutiques, for example, have a special sound integration when the consumer walks in. The omni channel experience is a place where often we’re not as strong or authentic because the consumer has a different experience offline as opposed to online.

Reese: So many brands I talk to don’t understand what it means to own their music. Do you own any of the music on your videos online?

vSP: No. For me it seems like the creation of music is more niche. This is often not the core expertise of the agency we work with and if it is they don’t sell it like that. We have such a diverse range of products and we operate on a campaign by campaign basis, so they often see a big challenge in using the same visual experience and sound experience for different types of products. A debatable point is can all Montblanc products – watches, writing instruments, headphones - sound the same way or do they need a different identity? That’s often the point at which we struggle.

Reese: Before we wrap up, is there anything else that is important for you to say?

vSP: We talk so much about influencers and micro influencers these days but I think it makes sense for us to understand that even music and sound can be a big influencer and a tool for influencing others. It’s important to go back to your core, focus on your roots and find the right transition from the past to the future, a new target and new customer base. But on the way you can’t forget the character of the brand; the offline extension, the visual extension and sound extension. A sonic experience can be a big influencing mechanism and that has often been forgotten.

Copyright © 2020, amp GmbH

Copyright regulations apply when using material from this document and when using the supplied video or audio files. This document is intended to be exclusively viewed by the recipient and its subsidiaries. Under no circumstances may the content or part of the content made available or forwarded in any form orally or in writing to third parties, in particular to competitors or affiliates. The publication, reproduction, distribution, reproduction or other utilization of the presented ideas, texts, layouts, concepts, films or audio files without express written permission by amp GmbH.

amp 101 Great Minds interview with Felix Glauner, fmr. Chief Creative Officer, Havas Worldwide Germany.

“You need to understand the brand essence first, and then translate it into sound.”
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amp 101 Great Minds interview with Felix Glauner, fmr. Chief Creative Officer, Havas Worldwide Germany.

“You need to understand the brand essence first, and then translate it into sound.”

101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

Agency EDITION

FELIX GLAUNER


FMR. Chief Creative Officer at Havas Worldwide Germany

 

“You need to understand the brand essence first, and then translate it into sound."

 
Chief Creative Officer, Havas Worldwide Germany

 

A trained communication designer at agencies in Darmstadt and San Francisco, Glauner started his career at Leo Burnett in Frankfurt, followed by a range of positions at Springer & Jacoby, Ogilvy, Publicis and McCann. Glauner has been managing Havas Worldwide’s creative departments in Germany since 2005. He is also the head of Havas’ European Creative Board. Glauner’s campaigns have been awarded numerous times, ranging from the Cannes Lions over Gold and Silver Effi es to an Epica Grand Prix and several ADC awards. In 2005, he was part of the film jury in Cannes and at the D&AD.

Reese: How important is music in branding?

Glauner:
Branding should stimulate all senses… so music certainly plays a huge role in building a brand. Most of the time the emotional aspect is in focus, but if you approach it in a professional manner and implement it effectively, music can increase the awareness of your brand immensely. Nonetheless, it’s the element that’s most often missing in client briefing sessions. Communication strategies rarely include music.

"Branding should stimulate all senses… so music certainly plays a huge role in building a brand."

Reese: That‘s true. Most brands neglect music and treat it like an afterthought. But why is that so often the case?


Glauner:
Music, or rather sound in general, is the least rational element in communications. On the one hand
it’s seen as an energetic means to intensify a message or to dramatize your story – a powerful tool that allows
you to touch your audience’s hearts. But on the other hand, it’s nothing that can easily be put into words. Strategic approaches to a product or a brand message are mostly very analytical and rational. Music is often seen as a matter of the Creative Director’s or the client’s taste, which I consider a big mistake.

Reese: Most brands are very disciplined when it comes to their visual and verbal communication. That’s rarely the case with their audio.

Glauner: Talking about discipline is very German, we tend to create rulebooks for everything. Of course, you
need to know the rules to break them, but as a French agency network, we try to approach branding in a more playful and less systematical way. I know that can be good and bad at the same time, but sometimes you have to give yourself a license to create novelty and an emotional impact. Keep in mind that 90% of the stuff that our industry creates is either irrelevant or boring, none of which connects to real people. Testing is a big issue and leads to a lot of repetitive and cliché work, also when it comes to the choice of music. You need to stay dynamic, contemporary, and surprising. Music and sound can add a lot to that. Corporate identities need to evolve and stay fresh and so does a brand’s sound identity.

Reese: That’s true, but I think there should still be a clear intention behind it. Coca-Cola is a good example for that: It‘s a very dynamic brand, but it‘s still also consistent and recognizable, because it follows a very strict audio style guide. It‘s a very potent combination of consistency and flexibility.

Glauner: It does help when a brand has a basic framework, certain stylistic rules to follow. Especially if a
brand collaborates with a range of different agencies or artists, it needs to be able to relate back to its core idea. In my experience, musicians are often happy to have a predefined starting point. In jazz, improvisation is regarded as a key element. But if the artists aren‘t brilliant in suggesting the core theme, the audience will perceive just chaos. Yes, Coca-Cola has a very consistent musical identity, but they don‘t seem to be as strict as they used to be. Today it often works on a more subliminal branding level and is not as distinct as it used to be. I‘m sure they do it on purpose to make their communication less ad-like and more contemporary. Of course, you can still feel the optimism of the brand in its sound design. It just shows how professional they approach the topic.

Reese: If you directly compare Fortune 100 brands – Coca-Cola is the number 1, Pepsi is the number 2.
Coca-Cola has a sound identity, Pepsi doesn’t. The same counts for McDonald’s versus Burger King. I
have found there’s a correlation between a brand’s market value and its audio behavior.

Glauner: Well, if a brand is successful, it is usually because of a whole range of aspects. It really depends
on how good the people are who manage it. I doubt you can trace a brand’s success back to its audio identity
alone – it is one of the many elements that can define a brand strategy. What Coca-Cola and McDonald’s are definitely doing right is that they’re not caught up in short-term, hasty communication measures, but they actually seem to follow a well-thought-through, long-term branding strategy on all levels of communication, catering to all senses. Naturally, audio is a part of that.

Reese: You mention hasty communication measures. In my research, I’m particularly interested in how decision-
making processes with regards to music unfold in agencies’ everyday business. And I have often found they’re quite subjective and can be very frustrating to everyone involved. Do you agree?

Glauner: It really starts with how you communicate music. Talking about music can be exhausting, because you’re trying to rationalize something that most directly speaks to your heart. I think the worst thing you can do is to try and speak a musician’s language when you’re not a musician yourself. Instead, you should try to express the emotions or the mood that you want to get across. Of course, your success also depends on whether your music partner can translate that accordingly. Reference tracks can help, but you have to be careful not to get stuck with a reference song that your client has fallen in love with but that’s out of reach. We at Havas have the big advantage now that we have formed a partnership with Universal Music, so that chapter is hopefully closed for us for good.

Reese: What if you have a variety of options on the table – which is usually the case, I daresay. How do
you and your team determine which one to pick? Do you follow a certain protocol?

Glauner: I have to admit it used to be quite often a chaotic process. We are now bringing in music a lot
earlier into the process, though, and we try to make it part of the idea, the story, more often. We just did so
with a series of Citroen Cactus ads: We bought The Comedian Harmonist’s “Mein kleiner grüner Kaktus”
(eng. my little green cactus), modernized the piece and used variations of the central theme in several 15
sec. commercials of the campaign. It gave it a spirit of playfulness and ease – the “jester” spirit, if you’re talking Jungian archetypes. In other instances, the topic music only comes into play towards the very end of a project. That’s where you want to have a variety of options, then you throw ideas back and forth, you’re looking for something that matches the brand character and the spirit of the ad. And then sometimes music isn’t the answer at all, and you just work with sound effects instead to keep it as authentic as possible.

Reese: Just by listening to the frequency of somebody’s voice, we intuitively decide within split seconds whether we can trust them or not. If you consider what that means for voiceovers in brand communication, for example, we as an audio agency firmly believe that brands should test their audio communication. What is your opinion on that? How do you evaluate audio brand communication?

Glauner: There’s a lot of testing happening these days on all levels of communication. To be honest, I am not
happy at all about this development for various reasons. But I agree that decision-making processes based on gut feeling alone are not constructive, and that they should be handled in a more professional manner. It’s a matter of understanding the brand essence in the first place, and then translating that into sound. The question should be: What does my brand stand for? And with regards to sound: What does my brand sound like?

Reese: When a brand doesn’t have a consistent voice, a consistent way of communicating its audio identity, it will alienate its customers.

Glauner: If a brand can alienate its customers, at least it manages to get noticed! Most brands fail to get noticed in the first place. The truth is that consumers simply don’t care about most brands. We need to do a better job at making brands stick out and get people’s attention – even if it’s by being disruptive and irritating. You see, the thing about most brand strategies is: They try to construct a brand universe around facts, not feelings. That’s why music is so important. In the end, the message itself isn’t key alone- it’s how we’re conveying it. If you want to change someone’s opinion, it will get much easier if you also manage to reach his heart. And as we all know, sorry for the cliché, music is the key to the heart.

Copyright © 2020, amp GmbH

Copyright regulations apply when using material from this document and when using the supplied video or audio files. This document is intended to be exclusively viewed by the recipient and its subsidiaries. Under no circumstances may the content or part of the content made available or forwarded in any form orally or in writing to third parties, in particular to competitors or affiliates. The publication, reproduction, distribution, reproduction or other utilization of the presented ideas, texts, layouts, concepts, films or audio files without express written permission by amp GmbH.

amp 101 Great Minds interview with Tiana Conley, VP Global Cereal at Kellogg’s

“If I think about the role of sound in branding, I believe it’s largely under-utilized. Sound is important because it appeals both to the heart and the mind. And in marketing, you’re trying to appeal to the hearts and minds of consumers.”
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amp 101 Great Minds interview with Tiana Conley, VP Global Cereal at Kellogg’s

“If I think about the role of sound in branding, I believe it’s largely under-utilized. Sound is important because it appeals both to the heart and the mind. And in marketing, you’re trying to appeal to the hearts and minds of consumers.”

101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

BRAND EDITION

Tiana Conley

VP Global Cereal at Kellogg’s

 

"If I think about the role of sound in branding, I believe it’s largely under-utilized. Sound is important because it appeals both to the heart and the mind. And in marketing, you’re trying to appeal to the hearts and minds of consumers."


 
Tiana Conley, VP Global Cereal, Kellogg’s

Tiana serves as the Vice President of Global Cereal for the Kellogg Company, where she is responsible for the $6 billion flagship portfolio with treasured brands such as Special K, Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops and Corn Flakes. Prior to joining Kellogg, she was Marketing Director of global tequila at Beam Suntory, where she led a portfolio of 5 brands and oversaw operations at the Casa Sauza Heritage Center in Tequila, Mexico. Before joining Beam Suntory, Ms. Conley held a variety of marketing roles at Kimberly-Clark and Procter & Gamble, including leading the $4 billion Global Bath Tissue Portfolio as well as leading the P&L for the North American Olay brand.

Reese: Can you tell me a little bit about your role at Kellogg’s?

Tiana Conley:
I currently oversee the global cereal portfolio, which is our flagship portfolio: our bread and butter, to use a food analogy! So it’s an important business to us, and one that’s rooted in an occasion that is really special to us – breakfast, which has interesting implications when it comes to sound. Our brands include Special K, Frosted Flakes, Coco Pops, Raisin Bran…In addition, I started off with Pringles in my portfolio, before I became focused on cereals, so I can talk about sound from that perspective as well.

Reese: So what’s the role of audio at Kellogg’s for these brands – especially looking at the consumer experience and the consumer journey?


Tiana:
I wouldn’t say we have a sharpened corporate point of view on the role of audio in particular. But it’s one of the assets that bring our brands to life. Of all the companies I’ve worked at, probably Kellogg has the most assets with some sort of sound equity. For me, if I think about the role of sound in branding, I believe it’s largely under-utilized. Sound is important because it appeals both to the heart and the mind. And in marketing, you’re trying to appeal to the hearts and minds of consumers, right? So sound can be a bridge that’s transcending both functionally and emotionally, which is really powerful.
If you think about Pringles, which has a really strong acoustic signature in the “pop” of Pringles, the role that plays functionally is to convey the crispness of the product, while the role it plays emotively is to reinforce this playful ritual of eating.

Reese: As you just said, music and sound is so under-utilized by brands. Why is that?

Tiana: I think sound has always been important, but although it has always played a role and has always been influential, people are only just now coming to that realization. So sound is important in terms of thinking about how your brand will come to life across all the different touch points. We tend to forget as marketers that there is real science about the way people internalize things. For example, we know an olfactory response takes you back to memories. When I smell Frosted Flakes, it reminds me of my childhood! So I think people are just now making that connection between scientific understanding and how to motivate and drive consumer behavior – how these scientific and psychological components translate into consumer outcomes, as behavioral science becomes more important.

Reese: The benchmark is that a consumer should be able to recognize your brand with their eyes closed, purely through sound, wherever they find you. Can you empathize with that?

Tiana: Certainly. Some of the businesses we’re in were present in the era of the jingle, and it’s good fortune that some of that identity in terms of audio is left over…If I think about an asset where we have something that we could build on, I can again take one my own favorite brands, Frosted Flakes. In terms of our mix we have Tony the Tiger, our character, and then we have “They’re grrreat!” as one of our key sound equities. So I think it’s about leveraging those distinctive assets across relevant media in a way that’s optimal. In places where we don’t have some kind of sonic branding component, how do we make that own-able? And how could we extend that across Kellogg more broadly? Thinking about sound in that context felt really interesting to me – and potentially powerful. How could Kellogg be the soundtrack to the morning?

Reese: I think what’s going to be important for all brands is to stop consuming pop culture and start becoming pop culture. “They’re grrreat!” is a good example of that. But what I think brands really need is a sharable sonic DNA, which allows them to co-create.

Tiana: The translation and trans-creation concept is not wildly foreign to us. You mentioned that Kellogg is part of pop culture. A lot of times what we’ll see is an articulation visually of our assets that reflects something more current – something a little more like pop art. This is already a digital world – and we can see the implications of that as the entire world experiences a lockdown simultaneously for the first time in history. What it has underscored is not only how critical it is to come to life in a multi-sensorial fashion online, but how there will be a premium on experiences when it’s safe to engage offline. Whether you’re in the online or offline world, it’s not enough to say, “I’m a brand and here’s my brand experience – it’s fixed.” What’s going to be critical in the future is to offer consumers an interactive experience that taps into the co-creation idea you were talking about before – that they feel a part of.

Reese: In marketing these days, with Gen Alpha and Gen Z, nobody knows how to reach anybody anymore. Consumers own the brand at the end of the day. So what they want to see is: do you really care?

Tiana: Music has the power to be both positive and negative. And going back to what you were saying before, is it leveraged in a way that’s authentic? Because music is the language of life, it’s the language of emotion. We’ve experienced the sea of sameness that’s the sound of coronavirus advertising – and I am so sick of the same piano track, the same sappy music, and people telling me how I should feel about this. In fact throughout my career, every time I’ve had to work on some sort of “anthemic” advertising, it’s always had the same sappy track. And I’m, like, “Guys, there are other ways to convey things that are meaningful, important and serious!” If you’re not authentic, people can see right through that. So if you ask me about brands I admire, I’m going to go old school on you and say McDonald’s. But the “why” behind that is because I always saw them as a pioneer in the category of sound – and I’m going to take it back to the fact that they really mastered radio. They have always understood the role and the value of sonic branding. They’ve always been able to master their riffs to flex multi-culturally, to resonate with their different consumer audiences…I say this as a person who’s multi-cultural myself: I’m half Asian and half Black. And I always felt growing up that McDonald’s spoke to me differently than they spoke to everyone else. And they spoke to me through radio, which was the channel I was consuming.

Copyright © 2020, amp GmbH

Copyright regulations apply when using material from this document and when using the supplied video or audio files. This document is intended to be exclusively viewed by the recipient and its subsidiaries. Under no circumstances may the content or part of the content made available or forwarded in any form orally or in writing to third parties, in particular to competitors or affiliates. The publication, reproduction, distribution, reproduction or other utilization of the presented ideas, texts, layouts, concepts, films or audio files without express written permission by amp GmbH.

amp 101 Great Minds interview with Filippo Bonsanti, VP Global Marketing at Indeed.

“In recent years audio has become the soundtrack of our lives: a barometer of our moods and the mirror of our personalities.”
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amp 101 Great Minds interview with Filippo Bonsanti, VP Global Marketing at Indeed.

“In recent years audio has become the soundtrack of our lives: a barometer of our moods and the mirror of our personalities.”

101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

BRAND EDITION

Filippo Bonsanti

VP Global Marketing at Indeed



“In recent years audio has become the soundtrack of our lives: a barometer of our moods and the mirror of our personalities."

 

 Filippo Bonsanti, VP Global Marketing, Indeed

 

Filippo is the Vice President of Global Marketing at Indeed. In the last 2 decades he has worked in various industries such as consulting, FMCG, e-commerce and travel where he has matured B2B and B2C experience in digital and traditional Marketing in over 20 countries. Filippo holds a BSc and an MSc with top marks in Engineering from Turin Polytechnic and TUE Eindhoven and an MBA from INSEAD. In his spare time Filippo offers pro-bono mentoring to start ups from different sectors around Strategy, Marketing and Business Development.

Reese: Can you talk about your role at Indeed?

Bonsanti:
at Indeed I have the pleasure and honor to lead each of our Country Marketing teams around the world plus some central functions such as Marketing Strategy, Planning & Operations, Advanced Modelling and Client Evangelism. On top of that I also run the Indeed’s Enterprise Marketing practice globally.

Reese: What does Indeed do?


Bonsanti:
Indeed is the #1 job site in the world with over 250 million unique visitors every month. Indeed strives to put job seekers first, giving them free access to search for jobs, post resumes, and research companies. Every day, we connect millions of people to new opportunities. At Indeed, our mission is to help people get jobs!

"I expect that every industry, even the least advanced in terms of Marketing, will progressively develop some sort of sonic identities and will become proficient at embedding them along their customers’ journeys."

Reese: Why is there a growing importance of audio in the digital age?

Bonsanti: Audio’s importance has been increasing significantly in the last years for a number of reasons. First of all, portability: thanks to smartphones and digital players, sound is always at the tip of your fingers. Second reason is convenience: think about the old times when you had to move around with a pile of CDs or cassettes, in contrast now everything is invisibly stored online. Third factor is the quality of the experience: 5g and optic fibers pumped up bitrates and new reproduction technologies make high fidelity listening now accessible to everyone.

Fourth reason is choice: user generated content paired with independent publishing and new formats like podcasts have multiplied the offer and expanded niches that were underdeveloped until a few years ago. Finally, new diffusion channels such as digital radio and streaming services have made discovery easy while suggestion algorithms have increased stickiness.

In short, audio has become the soundtrack of our lives: a barometer of our moods and the mirror of our personalities.

Reese: What role does audio play in your customer experience?

Bonsanti: Studies show that images and experiences coupled with the right sound can trigger specific emotions thus augmenting long term memorability. And this is a golden discovery for us Marketers! By successfully leveraging it, we can drive better ad recall, brand association and word of mouth therefore raising the consideration and propensity to buy of our audiences.

This is why at Indeed audio holds a very important role in our campaigns and has been an integral driver of their performance. In the course of the years, we have experimented with sound in different ways.

For example, in Japan, our most successful campaign was tied up to an incredibly recognizable jingle, up to the point that a song was made out of it. On the other hand, in Germany we have created a series of ironic TV spots that play with the similarity of some words to our brand name “Indeed”.

Reese: If you look at the future, how do you think sound as an experience is going to evolve this decade?

Bonsanti: I expect that every industry, even the least advanced in terms of Marketing, will progressively develop some sort of sonic identities and will become proficient at embedding them along their customers’ journeys.

This is because we live in an era when, as average consumers, we get bombarded by up to 10.000 selling messages a day. Our brains have progressively developed the ability to filter out a vast majority of that noise! As a consequence, brands are desperate to find new ways trigger affiliation in their audiences and research has proven that since the beginning of our civilization, sound has been a key element in the formation of trust. Think of a mother calming her child with her voice, the chants shared by the same members of a tribe to cement their union or a password shout during the night at a friendly guarded outpost to be let in.

Then the problem that brands face is: how can we make a sound familiar?

It turns out that there are 4 main drivers that help us answer this question: how often a sound is heard, how close it is to own preferences and how consistent and distinctive it is. Frequency is a function of Marketing investments, while the last 3 points can be addressed by developing an amazing sonic identity.

Reese: What do you think about consistency? You mentioned podcasts, which are becoming more important. They are so intimate because they leave room for visual fantasy and space for imagination.

Bonsanti: Agree. As I mentioned in my previous answer, I think that consistency is one of the principal levers to develop a sonic identity. And podcasts are assets where brands can deliver consistently in 2 ways.

On one side there is objective consistency: this can be reached with technicalities (such as volume, rhythm, tone of voice, riffles etc) and helps marketeers to establish brand familiarity and boost memorability. 

On the other side there is the subjective consistency, which is the perceived feeling that something is close to our own value system. It is what makes brands loved and it gets triggered by the way our brains work.

Neuroscience has in fact explained that our heads fill in any informational gap with familiar (and therefore preferred) assumptions. This means that whenever we get described something, the least details are provided, the more information will be supplied by our brain and the closer the image we form will be to our own internal universe. This is why for example books are in general rated better than their equivalent movie transpositions. Visual fantasy and imagination play exactly the same role in podcasts, that prove to be an effective channel to support the affirmation of a brand identity.

Reese: A lot of brands try to shift perception from for example from respect to love, and music is a great tool for that. Once you have a sharable sonic DNA, you can create pop-culture as a brand. Do you think that this is a trend that will be persistent for a long time?

Bonsanti: It has been proven in many tests that music has the ability to regulate a broad range of both positive and negative emotions: research has in fact measured that advertising campaigns containing music, are 27% more likely to report statistically significant business outcomes compared to those with no music. So, it is undoubtful that music has a fundamental part in brand creation.

Since you ask me if I see this trend ever to fade away, I would like to answer with an analogy: I believe that music relates to branding as smell relates to food. Very few people know that 75% to 90% of the flavor we perceive while eating is contributed by smell and not by taste! Do you expect that aroma will play a less important role in any Michelin star restaurant in any near future? (laughing).

Reese: Is there a brand You admire in the way they use sound?

Bonsanti: It is Alfa Romeo, the Italian car manufacturer. Their whole brand positioning is about passion.

In the course of the years they have produced several cross-channel campaigns that embedded very well music to convey such a message in a powerful and emotional way.

And they did not just stick to sound but also enriched their messages with very strong copy, for example adding Shakespeare quotes to make their sonic branding even more appealing.

Copyright © 2020, amp GmbH

Copyright regulations apply when using material from this document and when using the supplied video or audio files. This document is intended to be exclusively viewed by the recipient and its subsidiaries. Under no circumstances may the content or part of the content made available or forwarded in any form orally or in writing to third parties, in particular to competitors or affiliates. The publication, reproduction, distribution, reproduction or other utilization of the presented ideas, texts, layouts, concepts, films or audio files without express written permission by amp GmbH.

amp 101 Great Minds interview with Susan Credle, Global Chief Creative Officer, FCB

“The future of audio branding is like a sawtooth wave. Quite bright.”
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amp 101 Great Minds interview with Susan Credle, Global Chief Creative Officer, FCB

“The future of audio branding is like a sawtooth wave. Quite bright.”

101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

Agency EDITION

SUSAN CREDLE

Global Chief Creative Officer at FCB

 

“The future of audio branding is like a sawtooth wave.
Quite bright.”


 

Susan Credle, Global Chief Creative Officer, FCB

Credle started her career as a fill-in receptionist at BBDO in New York and worked her way up to becoming a creative director at BBDO. She is now one of the most influential women in advertising, particularly known for developing the wildly popular M&M‘s characters. Along the way, she also helped turn Cingular Wireless into a household name and created award-winning work for clients such as FedEx, Pizza Hut and Pepsi. At Leo Burnett, she raised the bar for the creative department, fomenting a collaborative environment and producing some of the venerable agency`s most memorable campaigns. In June 2015, it was announced that she would succeed Jonathan Harries as FCB‘s Global CCO.



Reese: Susan, thank you very much for taking the time for this interview. Let`s dive right in: In your opinion, how important is music in building a brand?


Credle:
How important is a putter to golf? Brands are built with many proverbial clubs, tag lines, imagery, manifestos, points of view, missions, voice overs, spokes people, content, events, acts, sponsorships, the product. Music and sound design should definitely be in that bag. Enough with that metaphor. No doubt, people think about music when they are executing an idea in film. But I am not sure many of us think about the power of music and sound design when it comes to building a brand. Especially when it comes to a brand signature sound. One of my favorite examples of a signature sound is Old Spice. I recall that whistle from the 70’s. And while the creative expression is very different, the whistle still has that approachable sexual confidence embedded in it. The product name, design, point of view in the world, and the music are the enduring qualities of this brand.

Reese: I was surprised how many of the creatives I have talked to have a very close connection to music, not just in regards to their work, but also at home. So how important is music for you personally and for your work?


Credle:
Working to music is hard for me, so my office is usually silent. But at home, the music is always on. Music is like lighting. It sets the mood. Sunday mornings are always classical. Saturday afternoons are country. Start of the day, anything aggressive. End of the day, classic rock or alternative. If I light candles, I like jazz.

Reese: Seeing how strong we`re personally affected by music, do you think the right choice of music can change consumer behavior?

Credle:
Music is personal. When music gets someone’s attention, that message becomes more personal. If you believe likability contributes to a consumer change in behavior (and I do), the right music can lift the likability quotient.

 

Reese: Most brands disappear once you close your eyes. Do you believe a brand should be recognizable by sound only?

Credle:
It is an advantage for a brand to be recognized by sound. I wouldn’t say only. Audio is a powerful medium. So if you can hear a brand, when you can’t see it, that is definitely an asset.

Reese: Should audio be treated with the same discipline as visual and verbal branding? Should brands have an audio style guide – just like they have a visual style guide?

Credle: The times I have worked with brands on audio signatures, I have never regretted it. However, you must give yourself the freedom to use or not use when appropriate. Many times, I have seen people shy away from audio branding because they fear it will become a cumbersome asset. If you are writing the audio style guide, give yourself the freedom to apply where it makes sense. I can’t wait until we have this same discussion about smell.

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

Credle:
“WHY THE FUCK can`t I find this cover anywhere???? This is bullshit! This is such a beautiful version of a beautiful song. God Damn It!” “Has the FULL VERSION of this ever been released yet? I guess it’s possible she didn`t actually records the whole song, which sucks.” This was the reaction to the music on a spot we did for Cingular Wireless. She was Cat Power and she didn’t record the full song. It made me realize commercials would become an incredible vehicle for artists to promote their music. It changed the conversation for me. Instead of taking advantage of famous music; we could make music famous together. This seems obvious today but not so much in the early 2000s.

 

Reese: Audio branding is a relatively young discipline, which is also one of the reasons I have created this series. I would like to spark the conversation about audio in branding. How about yourself – when you ‘re meeting with a new client, is audio brand design part of the conversation?

Credle:
Audio brand design has come up often in my career. However, I must admit we could do a better job of thinking this through for brands.

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

Credle:
I struggle with committing to a tone. Big brands with big points of view should be able handle different tones and different conversations. I worry about becoming too committed to one executional style or approach. If I look at a brand like Nike (which we all do), I admire how the executions are wildly different but the point of view, the soul of the brand, never wavers.

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

Credle: It seems weird to put music and process in the same sentence. Music is magical. Music gets discovered. Music is about playing. I hope we never have a musical process.

Reese: That’s true. Music is difficult to put into words, which is also why a lot of creatives struggle with it. So how do you communicate music when briefing a composer/music company/music supervisor or publisher?

Credle: When I brief someone about music, I talk about emotion. I want to cry, feel uncomfortable. Euphoria make my heart beat faster. Anticipation followed by peaceful calm. I almost never talk instruments, notes or beats.

Reese: What’s your evaluation process? Do you test audio assets used in your brand communication?

Credle: I evaluate music by how it makes me feel first. Also, it is very interesting to watch how music can speed up a cut or slow it down. Does the lyric advance the filmic story? Is it provocative or expected?

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

Credle: Music benefits from commercial exposure. The idea of selling out feels so precious to me. I don’t like paying ridiculous amounts for licensed music. If the music is the right fi t for the brand and the idea, it should be a win/win for the artist and the brand. The minute the price is too high, it makes me rethink the partnership. Perhaps, we aren’t right for each other. And if you are doing it simply for the money, well, that does make it rather crude.

I am not sure many of us think about the power of music and sound design when it comes to building a brand. Especially when it comes to a brand signature sound.

Reese: Is there a certain brand that you admire in their use of audio in their brand communication?

Credle: Definitely Intel.

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

Credle: Actually, if I go back to the early days of what we call traditional advertising, music and sound were far more important to the brands than they are today. Perhaps because radio was the dominant medium. A sound strategy really was a sound strategy. We should
probably purposefully put more branding importance on this sense than we do.

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

Credle: Selfishly, I am excited by the possibilities for music in a branded social network environment because there will be many. But only for brands and marketers who stand for something. Artists will be more apt to partner with brands that reflect their own values. Marketers who know what their brands stand for will benefit from these associations. Hopefully, this will help marketers realize the value of long-term brand building as well as short-term sales.

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

Credle: The future of audio branding is like a sawtooth wave, quite bright. Film makes us listen with our eyes; audio will continue to make us see with our ears.

Reese: What does a big idea feel like? Do you recognize it immediately when it arrives?

Credle: A big idea feels amazing. Your imagination starts running so fast you can hardly keep up. The conversation is peppered with “we could, we could, we could.” And when you try to move to the next idea, you don’t want to, you keep going back to that other idea, that big idea. Big ideas are I-want-to-run-down the-hall-and-tell-someone ideas. I’m getting better at recognizing them. But ideas, even the big ones, are also very fragile. So you can ‘t just recognize them, you must execute them brilliantly.

Copyright © 2020, amp GmbH

Copyright regulations apply when using material from this document and when using the supplied video or audio files. This document is intended to be exclusively viewed by the recipient and its subsidiaries. Under no circumstances may the content or part of the content made available or forwarded in any form orally or in writing to third parties, in particular to competitors or affiliates. The publication, reproduction, distribution, reproduction or other utilization of the presented ideas, texts, layouts, concepts, films or audio files without express written permission by amp GmbH.

amp 101 Great Minds interview with Mike Fuhrmann, Chief Marketing, Customer & Communications Officer at Generali.

“If a company’s sound strategy ends at a sound logo, a huge potential is being neglected. Brands must send the right signals – and the same signals – everywhere and always. This means paying close attention to a number of parameters such as continuity, consistency, fit and monitoring.”
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amp 101 Great Minds interview with Mike Fuhrmann, Chief Marketing, Customer & Communications Officer at Generali.

“If a company’s sound strategy ends at a sound logo, a huge potential is being neglected. Brands must send the right signals – and the same signals – everywhere and always. This means paying close attention to a number of parameters such as continuity, consistency, fit and monitoring.”

101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

BRAND EDITION

Mike Fuhrmann

Chief Marketing, Customer & Communications Officer at Generali



"If a company’s sound strategy ends at a sound logo, a huge potential is being neglected. Brands must send the right signals - and the same signals - everywhere and always. This means paying close attention to a number of parameters such as continuity, consistency, fit and monitoring."


Mike Fuhrmann, Chief Marketing, Customer & Communications Officer, Generali

Mike Fuhrmann is Chief Marketing, Customer & Communications Officer at Generali Switzerland.  He is an international marketing expert who has worked on both sides – at creative agencies as well as within the marketing teams of global corporations. Mike led various global workshops about brand building in a digital age as well as digital transformation projects of companies. He is a strong ambassador for brand activation through powerful and authentic storytelling that emotionalizes the brand with its customers and its employees. Besides this, Mike is an award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter who lives with his family in Zurich, Switzerland.

Reese: How important is music and sound in branding?

Fuhrmann: Very important. Unfortunately, most companies are spending a fortune on creating identifiable and ownable visual brand assets, but when it comes to music and sound, they mostly rely on stock material or license expensive hit-music. Especially for transactional brands like Financial Service Companies, sound branding is a huge chance to connect with their customers on an emotional level.

All brands are using music everywhere – for TV-ads, youtube, point of sale, call center, events, etc. The problem is that the used assets don’t belong to them, neither are they thought-trough or controlled in any way. Essential marketing budget is spent for the sole purpose of not being silent. It does not pay into the individual brands value nor does it help to become identifiable via the sense of hearing.

This counts not only for music, but also for sounds. A lot of brands still rely on the taste of software-programmers instead of understanding these sounds as a powerful communication element. When I worked in Neuro-Rehabilitation with state-of-the-art therapy robots that combined high-frequent robotic-assisted movement repetitions with gamification, I was wondering why these therapeutic games had cheap game sounds instead of using neurological sound cues that stimulate the brain’s learning capabilities.

"Music and sound connect people, and for a company that is in a low-interest category like insurance, you need to touch not only the minds but also the hearts of your customers. And music is an effective key."

Reese: Why is there a growing importance of sound in the digital age?

Fuhrmann: The world is becoming digital and the Corona situation has had a further enormous push on the digital transformation of companies. We take part in video-meetings, run webinars, use podcasts and order groceries online. There is also an increase in using voice assistants. Look at how Siri, Alexa, Google Home opened a new market, but most brands are invisible or just don’t exist there.

Brands should leave their auditive footprint in the heads of potential buyers. A study found out that radio-commercials without any memorable sound-elements are much less likely to be remembered by the audience. In addition, digital products lose out on their natural mechanical sounds. The turning-signal once was the sound of a relay turning the light on and off. Nowadays, it’s just a computer-generated sound that imitates the original, to inform the driver that the function is active.

Reese: Does effective Sonic Branding have an impact on business performance?

Fuhrmann: The core ideas of branding, like differentiation, recognition and charging the brand with values does definitely also work with sound and music. You know it’s Intel when you hear it.

With the Intel sound, they found out, that, in view of recognition, the sound works exactly as good as the visual, but when combined, they perform even better. The quality-perception of products and services can be increased by fitting sounds. A study from Oxford University showed that people were willing to pay more money for the same product just by being exposed to another background-music.

A thought-through sound identity can even save marketing budgets, as you manage licenses centrally, use music pieces cross-media and create your own brand music database without any additional cost or license issues.

Reese: Should Brands have a long-term strategy in place when it comes to use of music/sound in branded communication?

Fuhrmann: Absolutely! Unfortunately, it is seldom a priority and, therefore, often neglected. For me, these days are over. It’s crucial that a good brand sound comes out of the brand itself and does not depend on the music preference of the marketing manager. Sound needs to reflect brands key attributes or project the desired image. Like Bacardi beach lifestyle or the prairie of Marlboro. Furthermore, these sounds should also differentiate the brands from their competitors.

If a company’s sound strategy ends at a sound logo, a huge potential is being neglected. Brands must send the right signals - and the same signals - everywhere and always. This means paying close attention to a number of parameters such as continuity, consistency, fit and monitoring. It also means that music choices shouldn’t be made based purely on personal taste.

Reese: Do you believe that music can have an impact on consumer buying behavior?

Fuhrmann: Why is the question about belief and not knowledge? There are a number of studies that measure the impact of sound on consumers buying behavior and the results are very positive across all touchpoints.

Reese: Looking into the future, do you think sound will play a more important role in branding?

Fuhrmann: There is strong indication that sound is going to become even more important in the future. Radio was not the media of choice in recent years, but trends show that sound biased media is getting more attractive. This is where your sound should be. Couple this with the possibility of targeted advertising over voice control systems. The question is not how you look and feel anymore. It’s how you look, feel and sound. Compared with the cost of TV advertising, these new low-cost possibilities give an excellent opportunity for creating brand recognition and connect more powerful to the consumer’s emotions.

Reese: Is there a brand you admire for the way they approach music in their brand communication?

Fuhrmann: Frankly, there are not many good examples of sound being used constantly in all brand communication channels, but there are many examples of good use of sound logos.

In my early years of marketing, I had the opportunity to work on sound branding for telecommunication companies. I was deeply impressed by the results of how music influences people – in a troubled company it gave employees a feeling of belonging and reduced fluctuation rates.

One of my goals at Generali is to emotionalize the brand. In the mid of last year, we started our partnership with the Swiss rapper, Bligg. We increased not only brand preference but also company pride. After Bligg performed on our employee event, the team was full of pride. It was called “the best Generali party ever”. Music and sound connect people and for a company that is in a low-interest category like insurance, you need to touch not only the minds but also the hearts of your customers. And music is an effective key.

Copyright © 2020, amp GmbH

Copyright regulations apply when using material from this document and when using the supplied video or audio files. This document is intended to be exclusively viewed by the recipient and its subsidiaries. Under no circumstances may the content or part of the content made available or forwarded in any form orally or in writing to third parties, in particular to competitors or affiliates. The publication, reproduction, distribution, reproduction or other utilization of the presented ideas, texts, layouts, concepts, films or audio files without express written permission by amp GmbH.

amp 101 Great Minds interview with Michael Lüttgen, Managing Director International at Kaufland.

” The quality and the correct implementation of music is as important as all the other parts in branding.”
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amp 101 Great Minds interview with Michael Lüttgen, Managing Director International at Kaufland.

” The quality and the correct implementation of music is as important as all the other parts in branding.”

101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

BRAND EDITION

Michael Lüttgen


Managing Director International at Kaufland

 

"The quality and the correct implementation of music is as important as all the other parts in branding."


 
Michael Lüttgen, Managing Director International, Kaufland

Michael Lüttgen has been working at Kaufland as the International Managing Director for almost three years. He has over 15 years of international experience in marketing, and his expertise combines an in-depth understanding of e-commerce, sales, product management, and online marketing.

Reese: How did you first start to think about the implementation of sound into your brand?

Lüttgen:
First of all, we started to look at different options in order to give sound the credit it deserves. One of them was a traditional sound logo. We were thinking if Kaufland could make use of this particular asset to grow recognizability and build brand equity. We looked at a pile of agencies due to enormous production processes. For us, we decided that only a sound logo wouldn`t be the solution for our problem. The results of all these processes just weren`t making the right difference in order to achieve our goal.

Reese: How did this process look like?


Lüttgen:
We sat together with our lead agency, just like we usually do. We thought about what we needed and also looked at our competitors and what they are doing. We took a closer look at our brand values, our brand DNA and our target customers. We asked ourselves how we want to be perceived by the target customers, what do we want to be for them. In particular also, what a purchase at Kaufland, beyond all national borders, evokes in terms of feelings and emotions.

The advertising agency then contacted various sound agencies, which all proposed traditional sound logos to us. I think we listened to several hundred different sound logos. We sometimes took one and implemented it in a touchpoint. For example, in a radio spot, a TV ad or also digital media. After many tries, we were just not happy with what we had seen so far and started to think that we are just too demanding about how strong the topic needs to be handled from the beginning. Also, if this was really so different from what all others are doing, then we actually have the ability to stand out. For the proposed sound logos the investment of media time in those 1,5 seconds was just too high and we didn`t believe that there was enough value added.

The topic of flexibility was also something we were considering during this process as we have many different campaigns with different focuses. We were not quite sure if the one-fits-all approach would convince us. According to that, we noticed that we really have to approach sound in a more holistic way. The music concepts used in TV or radio advertisements didn’t fit to the sound logo we put at the end at all. We started to look at more holistic sound concepts and thought about the way that songs in Kaufland spots should sound like. A kind of sound DNA was created according to different moods. Sadly, I had the feeling that this was still too generic.

Reese: Only to be sure, there were no assets created specifically out of your DNA. All that you could do is make use of existing tracks, which were tagged with the attribute you were looking for, for one specific asset.

Lüttgen: Exactly. For example, in our POS radio we predominantly play music. Through the process, we would basically only find out which songs would make sense to play at this touchpoint with the goal to create a better overall mood. I listened to the result with my colleagues later, and I couldn`t hear any difference. That`s what we have basically done so far.

Right now, we are also shifting our media budget to digital. In regard to single creations, we increasingly notice that what we did earlier for the traditional TV spots won`t work in digital channels. We don`t have the time to tell emotional stories which start slow and end with a firework. If we don`t reach the attention of our customers in the first 1,2 seconds, there will be a problem. The way that we implement music in our creations needs to be changed completely. Most of the time, music comes into the process too late. At Kaufland, the adaptation of digital touchpoints came into our agenda too late. We thought about moving images and then broke them down to the different channels. In terms of music, that just doesn`t work any longer.

I am quite sure that the topic of music and sound needs to be approached in a different way. It has the ability to go directly to the heart, which is very valuable for us as we are in a strongly competitive market. We want to build sympathy and create a positive customer experience.

Reese: What especially was the DNA made out of?

Lüttgen: To be fair, we didn`t finish the whole process. We made some exercises to see how it would look like in the end. The agency listened to a whole bunch of our previous productions and always asked us test questions, for example, how we want to be perceived by our customers or if the brand is more introverted or extroverted,activating or relaxing. On this basis, they suggested music genres. Basically, we could take any song from a traditional music databank which is tagged with the special attribute we are looking for and implement it.

Reese: Music goes directly into the subconscious. I can close my eyes, but I can`t close my ears. What does that mean for brands in general?

Lüttgen: I`m convinced that music doesn`t only go directly into the heart of the customer but can also influence a buying decision. The quality and the correct implementation of music is as important as all the other parts in branding.

Reese: Shouldn`t it also be treated equally then?

Lüttgen: In general, we always have a conflict that we need a direction and be recognizable. It doesn`t make sense to use the same models and the same kind of music in every spot. We need to be flexible with our work, but also become recognizable through consistency over time. Only if this is a given, we can be sure that we give our customers the best possible experience. Those experiences aren`t just bound to a three second sound logo at the end of a spot, they are way more than that.

Copyright © 2020, amp GmbH

Copyright regulations apply when using material from this document and when using the supplied video or audio files. This document is intended to be exclusively viewed by the recipient and its subsidiaries. Under no circumstances may the content or part of the content made available or forwarded in any form orally or in writing to third parties, in particular to competitors or affiliates. The publication, reproduction, distribution, reproduction or other utilization of the presented ideas, texts, layouts, concepts, films or audio files without express written permission by amp GmbH.

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