101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior
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.
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