101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior
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.
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