101 Great Minds

amp 101 Great Minds interview with Keith Weed, Former Global Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Unilever.

“We need to be able to create a consistent brand experience and music should play an increasing part in that.”
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amp 101 Great Minds interview with Keith Weed, Former Global Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Unilever.

“We need to be able to create a consistent brand experience and music should play an increasing part in that.”

101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

BRAND EDITION

Keith weed

Former Global Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Unilever

 

“We need to be able to create a consistent brand experience and music should play an increasing part in that.”


 
Keith Weed, Former Global Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Unilever

Keith Weed was the Global Chief Marketing and Communications Officer of Unilever and a member of the Unilever Executive. He was responsible for the marketing, communications and sustainable business functions of the company. His responsibilities supported Unilever’s vision: growing the business while reducing its environmental footprint and increasing positive social impact. He led the creation of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, pioneering new ways of integrating sustainability into the business. Keith has led a step change in marketing at Unilever, making significant advances in digitizing the business, and has championed the development of brands with purpose through Unilever’s Crafting Brands for Life strategy. Presently, he is President at Advertising Association, President of History of Advertising Trust and a Board Director of WPP Plc and Sainsburys Plc. He was voted Global Marketer of the Year 2017 by the World Federation of Advertisers and named the World’s Most Influential CMO in 2019, 2018 and 2017 by Forbes.

Reese: How important are voice, music and sound in the digital age?

Weed:
What we can see right now is that voice is becoming increasingly important. One of the things that I started doing at Unilever was voice strategies for brands. All of them have a book for their visual imageries, but nothing for voice and sound. In a world, where voice is becoming increasingly important, we need to find out and know what our brands sound like. Voice is the most natural form of communication between humans and is a much more natural way to engage with customers than any other way or technology. In that context, brands need to have a voice and sound identity and there needs to go just as much work into that as into the visual identity. This topic is going to rapidly pick up pace. Another topic is that sound is becoming a bigger part of the overall brand experience. Music has always been very important in creating engagement and atmosphere in films particularly.

Reese: Where do you think this sudden interest in the topic comes from?


Weed:
Everybody is looking at the same trends and the same things that are going to happen in digital. Voice, for example, is emerging at every single angle. It is about talking and interreacting in an environment where there are no visual cues. The only thing you can work with are audio cues. Back in the day, radio ads were a big part of advertising. The jingle at the end was a way to cue a brand. Every single brand had something like it at the end, as the sign-off or a signal. Radio then moved to TV and the power of the visuals became much greater. That`s why a lot of emphasis was put into the visual aspect. Today, brands need to have an audio strategy that has enough structure to make it recognizable, but also enough freedom and flexibility so it`s not becoming monotonous. Even brands that have established a piece of music that is very famous to the brand and you play it everywhere and every time, it can be too much of a good thing. I think it`s interesting that if brands don`t approach this topic in a smart way, their power in a marketing world of sound is going to be diluted very quickly.


“In a world, where voice is becoming increasingly important, we need to find out and know what our brands sound like.”


Reese: Brands are often using famous musicians for their advertisements and hope for a credibility transfer because they don`t know what they sound like themselves.

Weed: I wouldn`t say that the approach of using authority figures is a bad thing in general. The use of doctors or celebrities has been around in brands forever. Using pieces of music which are famous and evoke emotion is good as well. In a world where brands will have to engage purely in a screen-less way, it will be very difficult for those that don`t make use of an audio identity to build brand equity over time. If I go back around 10 years, when I became Chief Marketing Officer of Unilever, we had brand positioning statements and we also established a brand key. It included everything you could imagine, for example all benefits and differentiators and so on. While I was in the role, I was increasingly interested in the role of purpose for brands. In the beginning, marketing was a noble thing as it was about serving people. If you served people in the society better than the alternative, better than the competition, your market share grew. Later on, brands were just about selling more stuff, no matter how. Coming back to the thought, particularly in a challenged world, of what a brand is and how it serves people, society and the world, we started to implement brand purpose into each of our brands.

This changed the whole brand key. Until then, there were lots of things captured only around visuals. In recent time, we have started to add voice and sound into that as well.

Reese: There is a lot of power in music and sound for brands. Yet, only a small fraction of the budget is shifted to this side.

Weed: I certainly agree on the power of music and you are definitely right that only a very small part of the budget goes in this direction. I would also say that there needs to be some kind of architecture that makes the brand recognizable and relatable. We need to be able to create a consistent brand experience and music should play an increasing part in that.


“If you can innovate your brand, you can stay relevant over time. The reason why many brands are getting nervous is because they do have a visual identity, but they are missing a sound identity.”

Reese: Why did that happen so late?

Weed: We clearly weren`t clever enough. 20 years ago, you probably had the era of jingles. That means there was some kind of audio strategy, but it was just not holistic.

Reese: In those days, communication was one-directional. Our communication with customers is completely different nowadays.

Weed: The difference between then to now is, that we need to think about sound without any visuals. That goes back to the radio era, in which brands also needed to find a way to engage with their customers only through sound. Concerning audio branding, there are a lot of brands that are starting to think about it now, because the whole system is changing, and brands need to be able to keep up with this change.

Reese: The process around music needs innovation, don`t you think?

Weed: There is definitely a problem with the process we are currently following. If you want to get to the future, first you need to have a point of view of the future. You don`t necessarily have to be right, but you have to have enough views of potential trends. What you are trying to do as an innovator, is discover new things and follow them, to make them your own. If you can innovate your brand, you can stay relevant over time. The reason why many brands are getting nervous is because they do have a visual identity, but they are missing a sound identity. I also believe that in an increasingly challenging world, the notion of trust plays a much bigger part. A brand without trust is just a product. And an advertisement without trust is just noise. When a brand is thinking about how it represents itself going forward, they have to think about the things that create trust. One of them is definitely the right audio strategy.


“A brand without trust is just a product.”


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 Andreas Malm, Global Chief Marketing Officer and Global Chief Creative Officer at Volvo Cars.

“Mind the gap!”
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amp 101 Great Minds interview with Andreas Malm, Global Chief Marketing Officer and Global Chief Creative Officer at Volvo Cars.

“Mind the gap!”

101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

BRAND EDITION

Andreas Malm

Global Chief Marketing Officer and Global Chief Creative Officer at Volvo Cars

 

“Mind the gap!”

 

Andreas Malm, Global Chief Marketing Officer and Global Chief Creative Officer at Volvo Cars.

 

Andreas joined the renowned agency Forsman & Bodenfors in 1999 where he served as a creative, senior partner and member of the board. Under his watch, Forsman & Bodenfors was consistently in the top tier of international agency rankings and won over 100 lions and six Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. He contributed to the agency’s transformation from a local shop to one of the world’s best. In 2018 Andreas joined Volvo as Global Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Creative Officer at Volvo Cars, thus continuing outstanding creative excellence.

Uli Reese: You have said: ‘If we try to fill a gap in consumer’s minds instead of trying to fill a three second slot on Instagram, we will look at our jobs in a completely different form’. Can you expand on what that might mean for sonic?

Andreas Malm:
The digital era we’re living in is one of the most interesting human developments ever and we should focus on the opportunities that it gives us. If we get caught up in technology, we’ll lose the opportunity to connect to our consumers. Data offers ability and insight, but it’s important to look at what consumer interaction does. The industry has this ongoing fight between data and creativity and the problem occurs when creativity is lost to data, or vice versa. Through audio, good communication evokes feelings and establishes a stronger connection between sender and receiver. Communication is based on the ability to send out a message that touches the recipient, so we need to see the brand as multi-layered and audio elevates the message or idea to the next level. So yes, you may be able to show that I’ve clicked on a banner but if you’re taking away the ability to stir feelings and emotions then you take away many of the possibilities we have today.

Through audio, good communication evokes feelings and establishes a stronger connection between sender and receiver.

Reese: Without going down the pop culture route, have you looked at Volvo getting its own sonic identity?


Andreas:
We’ve had these discussions and when it comes to a sonic signature for Volvo we could do more, but I always start from the personality perspective. Yes, it would be interesting if Volvo were to use a hip-hop tune but it starts with us asking, what is the personality of Volvo? That’s the challenge. I don’t think you’ll ever find the perfect formula. It’s important to continue to explore not only yourselves, but also to connect to your consumers using the many layers that comes with a brand.

Reese: You need a sonic personality that is flexible otherwise you will kill creativity but so many brands are tied to sonic logos.

Andreas: The reason why a sonic logo is good is because when the commercial break comes on and you go to the kitchen, you’ll hear it and recognise it. That’s the upside. What we’re talking about is how do we evoke emotions? That’s something completely different. That’s all about how we get people not to leave when the commercial break comes and how we get people to listen when they’re sitting in their car when the radio spot appears. In this era of digitization, how do we make sure with music or sonic that we don’t lose the ability to evoke emotions? And, again, how do we make sure that we can strengthen the connection between sender and receiver? That’s completely different than a sonic logo.

Reese: So why do you think audio has become so important in the digital age?

Andreas:
When the phone turned into a smartphone it became the centerpiece of our lives. That brought sound closer to us with all that it entails. What I mean by that is that I have my iPhone here and I’m one click away from my favourite music but I’m also one click away from the most annoying music. The reason why Instagram’s and Facebook’s default mode are silent is because 80% of the music is not appreciated. If it’s good, the consumer will embrace it and if it’s bad, they will not. In the same way if it’s a good spot people will stay during the commercial break, and if it’s bad, they will go to the fridge to fetch a beer. Sound is becoming more important because it surrounds us all the time, but consumers are looking for quality, and there’s a lack of quality out there.

Reese: One of the hardest things to sell to a client is music. What is the solution?

Andreas: I have a clear point of view on this, which connects the dots to where we started this when you quoted me. If you think of artists like Beyoncé or Coldplay, I would guess that all of them have close to 100 million followers on their social media channels. That makes them media channels themselves. If you look at a song that has one billion streams on Spotify, that is media. You are lagging behind if you don’t classify it as media. If you classify it as music, then it’s a cost that’s added on top of an already expensive production, and three days before it’s supposed to be aired you end up having a discussion along the lines of; ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could use Coldplay’s latest hit?’ So, then the cost of that song becomes as expensive as the production itself. No CMO will support that approach. But if you turn it around and say here’s an even more interesting media channel, which isn’t called BBC, it’s called Chris Martin, it would be part of the discussion much earlier than it is now.

If you can engage with a new consumer who starts to relate to your brand, they’ll continue to interact and by the end they’ll become fans.

Reese: So, buying less media time puts you in better shape but how do you create higher value?

Andreas:
Our job is to create engagement. If anyone sees a Volvo ad and doesn’t care, we’ve lost money. But if you can engage with a new consumer who starts to relate to your brand, they’ll continue to interact and by the end they’ll become fans. When we’re having these music discussions at Volvo, we should find a way of making more out of each choice. So, for example, can we ask Chris Martin to do a version of it? Or ask another artist to do a version of it because then it will become more interesting? And if that’s the idea we should put it into the brief because that creates a higher value.

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 Nicole Baumstark, Managing Director, Digital & Marketing Services, Altria.

“Text and images can tell a story, but music can bring truth to the experience that a consumer needs and wants to feel.”
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amp 101 Great Minds interview with Nicole Baumstark, Managing Director, Digital & Marketing Services, Altria.

“Text and images can tell a story, but music can bring truth to the experience that a consumer needs and wants to feel.”

101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

BRAND EDITION

Nicole Baumstark
Managing Director, Digital & Marketing Services at Altria

 

“Text and images can tell a story, but music can bring truth to the experience that a consumer needs and wants to feel.”


 
Nicole Baumstark, Managing Director, Digital & Marketing Services, Altria.

Nicole is the Managing Director of Digital & Marketing Services at Altria, leading channel and go-to-market activations by combining creativity with technological innovation.  She is responsible for marketing, e-commerce, and consumer experience digital strategies for a 10+ brand portfolio. Prior to working at Altria, Nicole spent over a decade at the Leo Burnett Group advertising agency, rising from her starting position as an analyst to become Senior Vice President of Digital and Project Management. Her Fortune 500 client roster spanned CPG, insurance, pharmaceuticals, electronics, and the food service industry. Besides her zeal for consumer experience design, Nicole has a passion for leading inclusion, diversity, and equity efforts to empower her colleagues to succeed.  She believes sonic branding can enhance our collective experience and better connect the world.

Uli Reese: Tell me about your role at Altria.

Nicole Baumstark:
I’m a managing director at Altria, accountable for digital strategy and marketing services for a ten-brand CPG portfolio. Every day my team and I wake up and we try to think about how we can deliver superior experiences to our adult consumers.  Our main goals are: awareness, engagement, and loyalty grounded in responsibility practices.

“I feel like brands that have some type of sonic identity or focus woven into their consumer journey are going to win because there will be a point of differentiation.”

Reese: How important do you think audio is in building a brand?


Nicole:
It’s essential. There’s a reason why when something resonates, we say it ‘strikes a chord’ or it ‘rings true’. Our bodies are built to feel rhythm and music. I feel like text and images can tell a story, but music can bring truth to the experience that a consumer needs and wants to feel. Expression of a brand should include sound, but it’s underappreciated. For many brands, a transformation including sound into a brand strategy is going to be mission-critical to be successful. I feel like brands that have some type of sonic identity or focus woven into their consumer journey are going to win because there will be a point of differentiation.

Reese: Why is music then so arbitrary for many brands?

Nicole: During my agency days at Leo Burnett, we would get client briefs, there would be mandatories: here’s what you need to deliver. Often, sound and music would be a consideration, but not something that was designated an imperative and there were multiple reasons why. It’s not always easy to quantify the ROI. A lot of work is focused on demonstrating how a specific strategy or activation can lead to immediate growth or efficiency. There is often conflict between immediate brand goals and long-term experience testing and investment. Brands need to think of audio to be more than just music. Voice and commerce are starting to become part of everyday life and it’s going to boom exponentially in the next few years. Brands that are forward thinking will capitalise on that and others are going to be left behind.

Reese: What advice would you give to other brands regarding the future of sonic?

Nicole: Take a step back and look at your overall consumer journey. Think of the worst thing that could happen and best thing that could happen. Then think about where you can insert music and sound to help within those two scenarios. Think about the future. What are the new technologies? What are the emerging channels and how do you think sound and music can complement your strategies and touchpoints. It’s also about getting back to and creating a real emotional connection. In the 1970s, Carl Sagan, the great astronomer, included not only images, but sounds and music from many different cultures on the Voyager Golden Record that was sent to space. We sent sounds to represent portraits of humanity; sounds of laughter, music, greetings in different languages. When you think about it, those are the sounds that define human life.

If it were so important for us to send those sounds to space to represent who we are, why wouldn’t we want to utilize sound to be part of our everyday strategies? 

Reese: So for brands it’s about moving forward, lead don’t follow…

Nicole: What brand leader or marketer doesn’t want to be in a position of literally setting the standard? Just in general, I think Domino’s is a super innovative brand. When I think about it from an ordering perspective, they have mapped different channels and touchpoints for the purchase journey and I’ve adopted voice through Amazon Echo. I order my pizza through the Echo. They’ve captured my desire for convenience and ease of ordering. Voice tech won me over and it fits into my daily life. I’ve told all my friends and because I had such a great experience, they’re starting to do it. I’ve become a brand advocate for Domino’s because of the experience they have created for me.

Reese: Many brands still think a sonic identity is a sonic logo. How do brands break away from that?

Nicole: Education and seeking to understand are key. Talk about identity as part of the journey. Invest in research. A lot of people think it’s just a jingle for the big TV commercial. That’s a legacy way of thinking. When you think about sound and music and having an audio identity, you have to be able to think more broadly. It is important to try to understand the true science of sound and how it can be applied to the audible touchpoints of a consumer journey.

“Sonic identity is going to help drive long-term sustainability, recognition recall, and trust. When you hear it, you will trust it, and it will evoke a feeling. That’s where I feel like purchase influence lies in the future.”

Reese: Many times CMOs arbitrarily pick the music, but how can we make sonic more central to decision making?

Nicole: Interesting question. Honestly, not an easy one to answer. Just like brands have content playbooks, there needs to be a sonic playbook. Or better yet, how do leaders meld both together to create one playbook? It comes down to having an advocate in the room to push the expanded conversation, someone who believes and understands in the potential of creating a sonic identity.

Reese: What would your personal statement be about sonic identity?

Nicole:
Personally, I think that brands that don’t adopt and champion sonic identity have a chance of being obsolete or lose relevancy in the next three to five years. The world, technology, and the consumer are evolving. Connection and trust is evolving. Sonic identity is going to help drive long-term sustainability, recognition recall, and trust. When you hear it, you will trust it, and it will evoke a feeling. That’s where I feel like purchase influence lies in the future.

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 Sanjay Gupta, Marketing Director APAC at Uber.

“Sonic identity can enable our consumers to simplify choice making, especially in the world where there is excess cognitive load.”
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amp 101 Great Minds interview with Sanjay Gupta, Marketing Director APAC at Uber.

“Sonic identity can enable our consumers to simplify choice making, especially in the world where there is excess cognitive load.”

101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

BRAND EDITION

Sanjay Gupta

Marketing Director APAC at Uber

 

“Sonic identity can enable our consumers to simplify choice making, especially in the world where there is excess cognitive load.”

 

 
Sanjay Gupta, Marketing Director APAC, Uber
 

Sanjay has twenty years of experience in building consumer and tech brands. He is a purpose driven marketer, who believes that doing good for humanity is doing good for business. He loves working at the intersection of analytics, strategy and creativity and has had the fortune of working on strong meaningful brands like Uber and Saffola. In 2015 he was recognised at the Hottest 40 under 40 Business Leaders in India, by the Economic Times. Outside of work is an avid Chelsea fan and a proud #GirlDad.

Uli Reese: Tell me a little bit about your role at the brand.

Sanjay Gupta
: I’ve been at Uber for three and a half years. I joined them as Head of Marketing for India, which was a fantastic experience because it’s when we set up marketing at Uber. After that I moved to the US and became the Global Brand Director responsible for the rides business. Recently, I moved to APAC where I’m the Marketing Director across countries including India, Australia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. In terms of key deliverables, the first is to continue to build our brand reputation and the second is to drive adoption for our products. Uber is a growing business and we only constitute about one to five percent of transportation on the road. Finally, I’m here to build a strong team. Marketing is not evangelised in the tech world in the way that it should be, so one of the key roles we play as marketing leaders is to drive home the importance of marketing and what it should stand for, especially in tech.

“The magic comes when we’re able to go beyond engagement and create memory structures, use music to create memories so that when I think about certain music we can associate it to a specific brand.”

Reese: How important is music in branding?


Sanjay:
Music is special. And it has two unfair advantages; one is the fact that it appeals to the heart. It’s emotional, it makes you feel something. The second is that music is timeless. No matter where you are in the world, how old you are, music can be relatable and stands the test of time. Most brands use music as an engagement tool, to enable better cut-through, to make the communication more emotional and engaging. The magic comes when we’re able to go beyond engagement and create memory structures, use music to create memories so that when I think about certain music we can associate it to a specific brand. Also I believe that as brand custodians we should think of the embedding “music” across the customer journey and the entire consumer experience, and create consistency across multiple touch points. Most people understand visual identity but if you ask them about sonic DNA they are often lost. I believe we need audio evangelists. Music is underleveraged and the number of people who understand it well is limited.

Reese: Looking at Uber’s customer experiences, what are your challenges?

Sanjay: We’re only ten years old. And we are a phygital business that’s built from the ground up at the intersection of the physical and the digital world. Uber’s magic is on our streets; it’s built upon a local driver and rider interacting and connecting. In 2017 we embarked on a journey to create a new visual identity and from there to now we’ve been able to deliver a consistent visual and verbal identity across the world. But when it comes to sonic and sound most of our efforts have focussed on the UX. When the driver engages with the app and they get a trip they hear a  notification, and that’s a strong element of our sonic branding. But we haven’t had the opportunity to look at the experience holistically and I believe that’s an opportunity for us.

Reese: What is your advice to CMO’s who are grappling with the recent explosion of sonic identity?

Sanjay:
That’s the billion dollar question which I can divide into two parts; as brand custodians we are one part “truth seekers”, and one part “magic makers”. Can we really be truthful in seeking what’s in the best interest of the consumer? And then, present it in a way to create delight when our consumers engage with the brand? I’ve said before that a brand exists to reduce the cognitive load of consumption and to increase the joy of consumption. Sonic identity can enable our consumers to simplify choice making, especially in the world where there is excess cognitive load. If you look at some of the most successful brands today, such as Apple and Nike, they are very good at simplifying the problem. I feel when it comes to sonic branding, we should move from a model of sellers to a model of educators, and this model will have a lot of takers. CMO’s face pressure when it comes to sonic branding, of what is the ROI? What we need is empowerment where we can educate practitioners, like me, on the ROI. I believe this will go a long way in terms of building adoption for sonic branding.

Reese: Can you expand on what you said about reducing the cognitive load?

Sanjay: The amazing thing is that music trumps the visual because it’s emotional. If someone plays a track that you like in that second you’re instantly transported to a beautiful place. I was thinking about brands that leveraged sound before the interview and heard of the jingles I heard as a kid, and instantly I had happy memories and associations for those brands. Music gets you to a happy place, and personally for me visuals don’t have the same power. Brands like Uber, and others that will flourish in the next era, are going to be voice based and so it’s vitally important to build strong sonic assets. My daughter is five and a half and she’s much more comfortable with sound and is already commanding devices in the house.

Reese: I agree. Gen Alpha is so comfortable with sonic but we need to build it for the ear as well as for our emotions…

Sanjay
: You’ll never hear someone talk about visual identity and have Instagram as a filter. It will always start with the fundamentals of why we need this identity and what it will stand for. I feel when we talk about sonic we should do the same, today it is always around engagement; and that we’re simply looking at what’s the channel that will deliver maximum engagement. I believe we need educators to help us build sonic branding in the right way and who will help create a tribe that will become the flag bearers for the future.

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 Cindy Gallop, Advertising Icon & Business Innovator.

“When you decide to identify the sound of your brand from the ground up and design for it, do that with women.”
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amp 101 Great Minds interview with Cindy Gallop, Advertising Icon & Business Innovator.

“When you decide to identify the sound of your brand from the ground up and design for it, do that with women.”

101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

BRAND EDITION

Cindy Gallop

Advertising Icon & Business Innovator


 

“When you decide to identify the sound of your brand from the ground up and design for it, do that with women.”


 Cindy Gallop, Advertising Icon & Business Innovator


Cindy Gallop began her early career in the UK as a theater publicist, until an audience member declared that she could “sell ice to an Eskimo,” and advised her to make the jump to advertising. Four years later, she joined one of the fastest growing agencies in Europe, Bartle Bogle Hegarty. In 1998, she moved to New York and began building their US branch. In 2005, Gallop resigned as chairman of BBH to work as a consultant in branding and advertising. Along the way, she launched MakeLoveNotPorn at TED 2009, in an attempt to squash the myths of hardcore pornography and to begin a dialogue around how real people have sex. Also, in January 2010, Gallop launched IfWeRanTheWorld, a web platform designed to bring together human good intentions and corporate good intentions to turn them into collective action.

Reese: Most brands and agencies look at music merely as a tactical tool for storytelling. Very few use music as a strategic means for brand-building. Why is that?

Gallop:
Because they’re not thinking about it in the right way. If you ask people “What is the sound of your brand?” nobody can answer that question. The process of thinking about the actual sound of your brand could be such a great creative exercise, an opportunity for a really fantastic auditory brainstorming, but nobody ever does it. I would like to see a scenario where in the same way that you identify, very importantly, what your brand’s core values are, you also consider every scenario in which somebody encounters your brand: What does it look like, feel like, and what does it sound like? Ideally, the audio component should be a part of that first stage – but it rarely is.

I have very good example for that. I am the chair of a CRC, a “campaign review committee,” at the Advertising Council, a U.S. non-profit that brokers public service announcement (PSA) campaigns between non-profits, client brands who sponsor the PSAs, and agencies volunteering to do that work pro bono. As chairs, we are charged with reviewing every PSA campaign at the strategy stage, the creative stage, and the execution stage. The Ad Council does an amazing job negotiating to get media for free to run these campaigns: They ask TV stations for their air time, they ask magazines to donate pages, and, very importantly, they ask radio stations to donate free radio advertising airtime. Only our industry despises radio – very mistakenly so, because radio is a colossally effective medium. It’s enormously powerful particularly in the U.S., but it’s powerful in every country in the world. Radio is an integral part of any commuter’s drive time. It’s an integral part of many workplaces, where workers are not allowed any other distraction but the factory floor will have the radio on in the background. And yet, radio advertising is an afterthought for every campaign. Everybody focuses on the TV first, then print, and then the exciting web ideas… radio is the afterthought. It reflects in the presentations of creative work that ad agencies make to the Ad Council. And it frustrates me, because I have always been a major champion of radio.

During my time at BBH in London, we created an amazingly successful campaign for a new chocolate bar at the time, Cadbury Boost. We built a huge brand for it, using just radio. It was slightly accidental in the sense that Cadbury’s had allocated a very small budget to Boost. But due to our phenomenal radio campaign featuring a couple of UK comedy stars, Cadbury’s sold vast amounts of the bar, and the campaign received a lot of awards. It’s an absolute testament for the power of radio in being able to build a brand.

Audio, the Creative Booster.

Reese: It moves audio into a more strategic realm…


Gallop:
But it also makes you think completely differently, creatively. In my role as the CRC chair, I tell agencies: “When you develop the campaign for this great cause, do me a favor. Start with radio. Come up with a big idea for radio. And then take it out to every other medium. I want to see what happens when you start with the sound of your idea.” Radio – audio – is a medium that requires you to think completely differently about how you bring an idea to life. All too often, I see TV script shoved into an audio context. Which doesn’t work, by the way. Start with audio, start with the requirement to bring the brand to life, to execute a big idea only through your ears. It backs into the overall point I’m making, which is: What is the sound of your brand? Start there, and sound will become a fundamental component of everything you build for the brand from the ground up.

Reese: If the CMO or the CEO of a big company approached you and asked you to help them develop their brand’s own audio identity, in a strategic way. How should they go about it? What would you advise them to do?

Gallop: First of all, ask yourself, “Where can I hear our brand?” Depending on the nature of your company, and your product, and the services you offer, your consumer hears your brand everywhere that brand exists. Let’s say you’re a bank: Your consumer hears your brand the moment they walk into that branch office. Your consumer hears your brand the moment they pick up the phone and call your customer service. Your consumer hears your brand the moment they access you online. And if the answer you give me is, “They don’t hear anything,” then that’s what’s wrong. Because what your consumers hear will make them feel instantly different about who you are.

Reese: I’ve often heard people say they think there’s too much noise out there already.

Gallop:
Historically, there has been a presumption that notifications are aggravating. That being notified every time something happens, when you do something, is annoying. But it’s not! Because in today’s digital world of social media, the way notifications operate, you could call them “little pellets of love.” I read that expression in a blog somewhere, and I find it very fitting. When we are notified that somebody likes our post on Facebook, it’s a little “pellet of love.” When we are notified that somebody has accepted our friend request, it’s a little “pellet of love.” The digital world, the social media world, has made notifications welcome. And when those notifications arrive on your smartphone, you hear them. You hear this one little noise telling you that you have received a little “pellet of love.” The overall action point I’m trying to make to brands is: Imagine that you can notify your consumers of things that have happened in a way that is welcome and wanted. Imagine the sound of the “little pellets of love” arriving. Imagine delivering what you deliver, with an accompanying sound that makes it even better.

Reese: What do you think of audio logos? Like Intel, Coca-Cola, T-Mobile, and so on…

Gallop: Oh, when they are successful, they are fantastic. Sound as mnemonic is enormously powerful. Everybody should get to that point. You are very lucky to have a sound signature, an audio mnemonic, where the moment somebody hears it, they know it’s your brand. That’s fantastic.

Reese: There are strong audio brands out there that don’t use any audio logo at all – like Apple. They follow a strict audio style guide for their notification sounds, product sounds, and so on. Yet they don’t use a mnemonic as such.

Gallop:
Apple doesn’t need an audio signature, because it’s enormously powerful in every other way. The time may come where they rethink that. But the really important thing is that you know the sound of your brand.

Reese: When I ask you whether you think audio can change consumer behavior, I’m guessing I know your answer – the answer is yes.

Gallop:
Absolutely.

“When you develop the campaign for this great cause, do me a favor. Start with radio. Come up with a big idea for radio. And then take it out to every other medium. I want to see what happens when you start with the sound of your idea.”

Reese: So my next question would be: How does it change behavior?

Gallop:
Music is one of the most emotional experiences known to man. Anyone can testify to that. All you have to do is to hear the opening chords of a song that meant everything to you back in your teenage years, and you’re right back at that moment. Music strategy for brands, however, is in its infancy. The marketing and advertising industry has not even begun to leverage the tools the digital world can already offer us.

Think of Pandora, which came out of the music genome project: A project designed to literally examine the DNA of music, using algorithms that identify what makes up particular tracks that people respond to. Our industry is spectacularly failing at taking advantage of that. What it should be doing is to take the core values of a brand, identify how to interpret those in sound, set a core sound DNA for the brand, which then guides the musical approach to every possible soundtrack, the audio approach to notifications online for this brand, the approach to telephony, the type of voice, the tone of voice, and so forth. The brand music sound DNA, the tonal DNA, can inform every single audio interaction with that brand.

Reese: You’ve just perfectly summed up what audio branding is all about. Let’s talk about the future – it’s one of my favorite topics, and it’s something that brands ask me about all the time: What do we have to do to succeed in the future? Where do you think all of this is going?

Gallop:
I have a particular take on the future. My favorite quote of all time is Alan Kay, who said: “In order to predict the future, you have to invent it.” I’m all about inventing the future. The mistake that too many people make – and the mistake that brands make when they ask you that question – is to think about the future in a passive tense. Too many people think that the future is something that happens without us. Decide what you want the future to be, and make it happen.

Reese: Is there anything we haven’t chatted about that is particularly important to you in relation to the topic?

Gallop:
Oh yes. To anybody in our industry: When you decide to identify the sound of your brand from the ground up and design for it, do that with women. Involve women, and primarily women, from the very start, in deciding what the sound of your brand is. Involve women in then designing how that factors into your strategic manifestation and your creative execution of that manifestation. I say this because women are the primary purchasers of every single brand and every single product sector.

Reese: The decision-makers.

Gallop:
Exactly. Including sectors that have been thought to be traditionally male. In the US, more women hold driver’s licenses than men. In the US, more women drive than men. In the all-important millennial, new car-buying market in the US, 53% of car purchases are made by women. Yet who is the automotive industry targeting its product design, dealerships, communications and CRM at? Men.

The Power Of Music.

Reese: That’s why you want women to design audio brand communication?

Gallop:
That’s why I want them to do everything in the advertising and marketing industry. Not only do women buy, women share. Social media is a whole new methodology for us to do what we’ve been doing since the dawn of time as women, which is sharing the shit out of everything in a way that men don’t. Because we are the gossipers. we are the chatters, we are the talkers, the recommenders, the advocates, the ambassadors. We are the sharers. So much so that I say to brands that think they’re targeting men: “Talk to women.” Women will influence men more than men influence other men. It’s utterly ridiculous that the advertising and marketing industry is dominated by men, although its primary target is female. The creative departments and the executive creative directors are virtually all men. If you want your brand to own the future, have women design, create, strategize and execute every single thing about it.

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 Olaf Geuer, Group Head of Brand Strategy & Experience, Swisscom

“Sound is one of the most emotional elements you can use in branding and communications. So, we are trying to use it to our best advantage.”
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amp 101 Great Minds interview with Olaf Geuer, Group Head of Brand Strategy & Experience, Swisscom

“Sound is one of the most emotional elements you can use in branding and communications. So, we are trying to use it to our best advantage.”

101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

BRAND EDITION

Olaf Geuer
Group Head of Brand Strategy & Experience at Swisscom

 

“Sound is one of the most emotional elements you can use in branding and communications. So, we are trying to use it to our best advantage.”


 
Olaf Geuer, Group Head of Brand Strategy & Experience, Swisscom

Olaf Geuer is the Group Head of Brand Strategy & Experience at Swisscom, Switzerland’s leading telecoms company. Prior to that he held different management positions at Swisscom, BBC and Channel 4 in the United Kingdom. He is a branding, communications and costumer experience expert who has developed award winning brands and services on a global scale.

Reese: What`s your role at Swisscom?

Geuer:
I`m the Head of Brand Strategy & Experience, which means that my team and I are responsible for the development and management of the Swisscom brand and the brand portfolio. We are developing and executing the brand strategy, are responsible for the communication and social media strategy, the entire brand experience management and measurement. That means we create, develop, test and manage the brand to make it more successful. We work very closely with other departments to get the brand experience implemented across various customer touchpoints.

Reese: Should brands be translated into sound?


Geuer:
No – because the word brand already includes sound. If you say brand, it`s 360 degrees, a holistic experience. It`s what you see, what you feel, what you taste and what you hear.

Reese: So, it should be translated into sound?

Geuer: It`s an integral part of it. So obviously it`s a little provocative to say «no», because a brand should be defined with all visual, physical and sonic elements at once to be able to create holistic experiences from that. What I mean is, that we shouldn’t create a brand and then try to translate it into sound. Sound should be a part of an integrated creation process rather than a translation.

Reese: Most brands don’t think like that or are not translated into sound yet.

Geuer: I would argue that those brands made the mistake that they didn`t think of sound when they developed the brand in the first place. If you want to successfully manage a brand these days, you need to think of it as a holistic and relevant customer experience. Looking at shops, for example, it`s not about the logo on top of the door. It’s about the interaction of the customers and the staff, the shop layout, the materials, the products, and also obviously the sonic experience. You need to think about overall acoustics, sounds from materials such as the floor, and from products on display. These elements have a huge impact on the overall experience.

Reese: Audio-consumer touchpoints will rise exponentially and that is something even older brands have to keep in mind.

Geuer: Yes, not only traditional brands have to ask themselves how they can use new technologies to their advantage. Voice interfaces for example are opening new possibilities to interact with customers. They are giving brands literally a «new voice». At Swisscom we are always challenging ourselves to develop and integrate new technologies where we see potential. It is very important to learn and improve while going forward. End of last year we have launched our Swisscom Box including a voice interface.

Reese: How is music impacting our consumer behavior?

Geuer: Sound and music are making an impact on many levels and are one of the most emotional elements you can use in communications. Our Swisscom sonic logo is very well known in Switzerland. It is based on a voice, that gives the brand a more human and approachable touch. When it comes to music, we try to follow that path of positive emotions and to connect with the people, the customers. Music is a key element to get attention and into a dialog with audiences.

Reese: 50% of the value of audio-visual communication is found in music and sound.

Geuer: I think that`s an interesting statement. Digital touchpoints are changing brand experiences and communications. It is not only about what you see or hear, but how you engage and interact. It needs to come together, and sound plays an important role, but I can’t put a specific number to it.

Reese: If something adds that much value, why are we not spending more on it?

Geuer:
This goes back to my point of the importance of holistic experiences. Customers are human beings that use all their available senses, so it is only logical that you should create experiences that engage all these senses. If you think of sound as an add-on and don’t plan time and budget properly, you will compromise your experience and impact.

“Digital touchpoints are changing brand experiences and communications. It is not only about what you see or hear, but how you engage and interact.”

Reese: Yet are the decision-making processes around music very subjective.

Geuer: Yes, I agree. It is even more subjective than visual taste. Some people prefer classical music, some techno or country music. Different taste drives different opinions. As music is such an emotional element, it is sometimes hard to abstract and make the right choices. In the context of branding, it is about a business trying to connect with people. It is about, what the brand stands for and how we can create an outstanding and relevant experience. When you work with music or sound, a key element for a decision-making process is evidence. It makes discussions much easier if you measure and prove that your sound concept supports branding or business goals.

Reese: Who decides what music ends up on the screen? Who makes the decisions about music?

Geuer:
In an ideal case, we are deciding with the respective department. We always try to connect the elements of audience, goal, message and brand. Based on this we try to define the best execution across all layers, including music.

Reese: Music does most of the time appear all the way at the end of a project timeline.

Geuer:
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. We just finished a project for an entertainment product family where we created a truly audiovisual experience. But I must admit, that also we created things, where the sound sits at the end of the timeline. Brands have to be very responsible and mature when it comes to sounds and music, as it can be very powerful.

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 Vasu Jakkal, fmr. EVP and Chief Marketing Officer at FireEye.

”Just like branding is a science and visual identity is a science, audio is a science. It comes down to building trust. It comes down to building alignment. It comes down to building energy.”
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amp 101 Great Minds interview with Vasu Jakkal, fmr. EVP and Chief Marketing Officer at FireEye.

”Just like branding is a science and visual identity is a science, audio is a science. It comes down to building trust. It comes down to building alignment. It comes down to building energy.”

101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

BRAND EDITION

vasu JAKKAL

FMR EVP and Chief Marketing Officer at FireEye

 

“Just like branding is a science and visual identity is a science, audio is a science. It comes down to building trust. It comes down to building alignment. It comes down to building energy.”


 
Vasu Jakkal, fmr. EVP and Chief Marketing Officer, FireEye

Vasu Jakkal, former CMO at FireEye has spent 18 years in tech across marketing (brand, comms, products, demand, operations), strategy and general management in Cloud, CyberSecurity, IoT & Mobility. Vasu was recognized by Forbes as “CMO Next” one of 50 Marketing Chiefs redefining the role and shaping the future of marketing. In addition, she was recognized as Top 25 women in Cyber Security by the Software Review, and as 10 Best CMOs of 2019 by Silicon Review. In 2018 Vasu was the finalist of Women of the Year by Women in IT Awards.
Since this interview in May 2020, Vasu transitioned to Microsoft as the new Corporate Vice President of Security, Compliance & Identity Marketing.

Uli Reese: Can you talk about your work in cyber security?

Vasu Jakkal:
I have a passion for cybersecurity and technology and believe we have a responsibility to protect people and the planet from cyberattacks. I have worked at security industry leaders like FireEye, Intel and now Microsoft and I’m so thrilled to be in this newly created role to help Microsoft’s customers’ meet their security, compliance and identity needs.

Reese: Is there a role for audio in cyber crime?


Vasu:
That’s such a great question. When it comes to cyber crime, think about deep fakes, where someone can now mimic you digitally. Your visual and audio senses can be manipulated. As an engineer I would break it down into bits and bytes and energy and vibrations – that’s what audio is, and people can manipulate that. Which is important to recognize because now audio is not just about your personal identity, but also your brand identity. Post Covid-19, most of our trust building is going to be done digitally – it’s going to be online. So if someone can mess with your identity, that’s going to be challenging. In cyber crime we have to work out how we can use technology to descramble that fake information.

Reese: When you talked about the trust-building process being done digitally, it seems to me that the business you’re in is all about that – it has “trust” written all over it.

Vasu: That’s so right – there are times when people talk with a certain energy that has a deep impact because we become more and more digitally connected. If I can’t physically be with you and “feel” that trust, I have to rely on visual and aural aids to build empathy. It has to be authentic, it has to be truly who you are, or it can drive discord.

Reese: I wanted to talk to you about noise pollution. We as a company have to be very careful that we’re not contributing to noise pollution. Audio has a lot of influence on stress levels and how we all get along.

Vasu: I do think that how you use sound is going to make a big difference in your ability to live – whether it’s to learn, to do your work, to be harmonious. Sound has such a deep significance, and how we use it is going to create discord, anxiety and nervousness – or it’s going to create harmony and positive energy and positive value. So, we, in this community of minds you’re bringing together, need to figure out from an audio perspective how we can have a lasting impact, not just on marketing and brands but on society as a whole.

Reese: Thanks to Intel, people always ask for sound logos now. But a sound logo is nowhere near enough to reach all the different touch points you need. It’s like a business card. It’s a great expression of your sonic identity, a three-second expression, but it’s not a Sonic DNA.

Vasu: An identity has certain attributes: it has to be own-able, unique, and authentic. It has to reflect the personality of your company. If you don’t have your own music, your own sound, if someone hears a track, they’re not going to associate your company with that. What was powerful about Intel was not the sound itself – it was the consistency. I agree that it’s an art and a science and that you need to have consistent practices and a strategy. What do my videos sound like? What do my podcasts sound like? It’s not always the same music – but just as in visual communications you have a palette of colors, you should have the same for audio.

Reese: When we talk about a sonic identity, we talk about building a sonic vocabulary.

Vasu: I love the idea of a sonic vocabulary. As you said, cyber security is about trust – so what if we could figure out: “What is the music of trust? What is the sound of trust?” If we can establish that – wow, isn’t that magical? I think there’s a big future in this idea. What is the sound of empathy? Of love? Of truth?

Our brand campaign is all about truth, by the way. Given the power of sound and its impact on emotions, on memory, I think there are going to be breakthroughs in this field that we’ve never had, which go far beyond you and me and our collective – and which are going to be world-changing.

“It comes down to building trust. It comes down to building alignment. It comes down to building energy. So as marketers we have a long way to go before integrating that.”

Reese: I also wanted to share with you some of the findings of volume one. This was one of the largest tables of top creatives ever assembled. And what they all agreed on was that over 50 per cent of the value of audio communication is found in music. From a marketer’s point of view, how do you look at this?

Vasu: I absolutely agree with that. A brand can manifest itself in many ways. There’s the story; there’s the visual identity; there’s a tone and there’s a personality. So where is audio? It’s completely missing from our brand identity book. I grew up at Intel – and Intel had a sound!

At FireEye, we also had a sound for our logo. Just like branding is a science and visual identity is a science, audio is a science. And audio is going to be increasingly important for all the reasons you talked about. It comes down to building trust. It comes down to building alignment. It comes down to building energy. So as marketers we have a long way to go before integrating 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.

amp 101 Great Minds interview with Rahul Malhotra, Head of Brand Strategy & Stewardship at Shell.

“Consumers are not waiting actively for your brand to communicate with them. In reality, the brand dialogue is more subtle, whether it’s the music in the elevator, the background music in the reception lobby or the retail forecourt.”
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amp 101 Great Minds interview with Rahul Malhotra, Head of Brand Strategy & Stewardship at Shell.

“Consumers are not waiting actively for your brand to communicate with them. In reality, the brand dialogue is more subtle, whether it’s the music in the elevator, the background music in the reception lobby or the retail forecourt.”

101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

BRAND EDITION

Rahul Malhotra

Head of Brand Strategy & Stewardship at Shell

 

“Consumers are not waiting actively for your brand to communicate with them. In reality, the brand dialogue is more subtle, whether it’s the music in the elevator, the background music in the reception lobby or the retail forecourt.”

 
Rahul Malhotra, Head of Brand Strategy & Stewardship, Shell


In his 25-year career with Procter & Gamble and Shell, Rahul has led several global businesses as P&L head and helped shape the destiny of several global brands (e.g. Shell, Pampers, Vicks, Metamucil, Whisper/Always, Tide, Ariel, Olay). He has lived and worked in Singapore, India, Japan, Switzerland, the US and now lives in London.
Rahul is a passionate historian and economist. He was a professional rock musician before choosing marketing as a career but continues with a new love for the piano. Married with two children, he enjoys reading non-fiction, hiking, and cooking.

Uli Reese: Let’s start by talking a little bit about your role at Shell.

Rahul Malhotra:
My role is to define and develop the Shell brand. We also act as a consulting team for the rest of Shell in terms of how they think about branding and marketing. There’s both an external and internal element. External is around licensing and earning trademark license revenue, while internal is where I spend most of my time helping individual business leaders change business strategies to develop and represent the brand through their choices. Internal also covers the mandatory approval service for all the 40,000 to 50,000 pieces of communication our offshore team approves each year. Finally, some of my time goes towards brand protection as well.

Reese: You invested in a sonic identity some time ago. Is this paying off for you?


Rahul:
All the evidence we have, shows that our sonic identity work is paying off in many different ways. Firstly, the time to market for our asset development has improved because of our central database of assets. We have about 500 to 700 versions of the Sound of Shell in different genres classified no differently from any other of the online stores that you see in terms of music. Our partner agencies and staff can listen, download and use it for free. This speeds up the entire process of creating assets. Secondly, it saves us a significant amount of money by the absence of royalties or production costs that we otherwise would have to pay.

Reese: Can you see the merit of having a sound asset database?

Rahul: Besides cost savings, it’s really about brand building. Consumers are not waiting actively for your brand to communicate with them. In reality, the brand dialogue is more subtle, whether it’s the music in the elevator, the background music in the reception lobby or the retail forecourt. We are the world’s largest mobility retailer, with more stores than many of the famous global coffee and fast food chains. So how do we reach the 30 million customers a day in a way that engages all of their senses? Sonic identity is a very powerful opportunity to engage with our customers and drive brand attribution.

Reese: In this Golden Age of audio 80% of premium brands still have no sonic identity. What would you say to them?

Rahul: I think the starting point is brand strategy and many brands don’t have one unfortunately. Have you stepped back and looked at the role of your brand in anyone’s life? What value is your brand adding to the lives of your stakeholders? What is your purpose, your promises? Once you’ve nailed that and have your data then you can look at the key touchpoints your stakeholders will engage with the brand in over the next five to ten years.

Reese: What initially moved Shell to find a sonic identity?

Rahul: About five years ago (in 2015), our new VP of brand had just come in from Unilever and we had a fresh look at the brand. The sonic experience was something we were talking about more and more thanks to Alexa and Google. We had a vision of where sound was going and thus decided to start with having our own sonic DNA. We recorded at the Abbey Road Studios with a full orchestra. After the sonic DNA of the brand was formulated, we allowed local markets to take it and adapt it with strong guidance from our music experts who help us. That’s how we ended up with the hundreds of versions for all sorts of local festivals and markets, and in many different genres such as rock and EDM.

Reese: How did you find the company to help you?

Rahul: The process started about six months before I joined but essentially my team worked with associated agencies on visual identity and they were able to recommend the music partner we currently have. Given how musically inclined our whole team is they also played a strong role in guiding the process.

Reese: Is the use of your many hundreds of versions of the Shell sound assets mandatory for all markets?

Rahul: It’s mandatory. One of the unique things about Shell is that we mandatorily request that every piece of external and internal communication is approved by my offshore team. We have a very strong brand governance at executive level for support. It’s all available in an easy to access brand central website, which has a very nice user experience.

Reese: So if your music is not free but mandatory, what would your advice be to brands who create their sonic identity then say 12 months down the line and get bored of it?

Rahul:
My advice would be to start with your business needs. We didn’t want to make it mandatory without offering an alternative. When we had five versions and not 500 versions of dance music, then we’d work with composers to retrofit our music DNA into EDM and we’d do it super quick. You need a little bit of agility. We add to the music bank about every three days and each year we add around a hundred pieces of music. 

Reese: Can you talk more about the economic side of your model?

Rahul: We’ve kept it very simple. We looked at the number of Shell’s sonic assets and we’ve multiplied that with a simple average, which is either buying off-the-shelf music or doing our own compositions. I get a thousand requests a year and out of those thousand if we know 200 a year are supposed to be new compositions and 800 are supposed to be buying or licensing stock music, then we know the cost of doing a weighted average versus the global markets. We take that single number and we multiply it by the sound of Shell pieces. We have saved a lot of money. In number terms the investment we made that one afternoon at Abbey Road has been paid back many times over.

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 Manos Spanos, Chief Marketing Officer/Senior Vice President of Marketing for Danone.

”Most of us are good at visual consistency, through our film style, tone, logos and the sequences we see in the end frames of our content, but critically, many brands suffer from inconsistency with audio design.”
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amp 101 Great Minds interview with Manos Spanos, Chief Marketing Officer/Senior Vice President of Marketing for Danone.

”Most of us are good at visual consistency, through our film style, tone, logos and the sequences we see in the end frames of our content, but critically, many brands suffer from inconsistency with audio design.”

101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

BRAND EDITION

manos Spanos

Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President of Marketing for Danone

 

“Most of us are good at visual consistency, through our film style, tone, logos and the sequences we see in the end frames of our content, but critically, many brands suffer from inconsistency with audio design.”

 
Manos Spanos, Chief Marketing Officer/Senior Vice President of Marketing for Danone

Manos Spanos is the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Danone North America. In charge of brand marketing for the yoghurt business unit at Danone North America, Mr. Spanos currently leads marketing efforts of some of America’s favourite renowned brands including Activia, Oikos, Light + Fit, Dannon, Danimals, Silk, So Delicious and Two Good. Having won an International Marketer of the Year Award in 2015, his strategic expertise contributed in making Mountain Dew a 10 Billion Dollar Retail Sales Global Powerhouse.

Uli Reese: Tell me a little bit about your role at Danone.

Manos Spanos:
I’m the Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President of Marketing for Danone for the yogurt business in North America. We are the biggest dairy business in north America and hold a 32% share of the yogurt market, so our brands (Activia, Oikos, Too Good) are very much loved. It’s the largest division of Danone globally, and I’m happy to lead a team of 40 marketers.

Reese: If you look at your brands and end-to-end customer experience, what are main challenges in regard to sonic?


Manos:
It’s important to recognise the touch points where audio plays an important role. In fast-moving consumer goods like Danone, the primary role of audio is through media communication. One of the biggest challenges is that we live in a semi-soundless world, so a lot of social media and online video is frequently done without sound. Then, when there is sound, it’s important to get the experience right because consumers are used to tuning out. The two most difficult things to achieve in a world where we have billions of impressions is impact and memorability. Visually, we’re doing a lot of work to optimise our content, however we’re not doing the same to maximise the audio component. Sometimes we get lucky and make great choices, especially with soundtracks, but currently we’re not paying as much attention as we should. We’re missing something and we’re working to correct that.

Reese: How important is consistency in terms of being recognised among the clutter of everything?

Manos: It’s super important but that’s where we’re failing. Most of us are good at visual consistency, through our film style, tone, logos and the sequences we see in the end frames of our content, but critically, many brands suffer from inconsistency with audio design. I can’t recall a brand that built a solid sonic signature quickly. It requires a lot of time and this is our biggest challenge. The average life expectancy of a marketing department as a whole is about two years, so within two years you usually have a 70% to 80% rotation of the marketing department. Where’s the consistency? Unless you have a structure where it’s embedded in the culture, and also consistency with the agencies you’re utilising, that’s where it starts to fall apart.

Reese: Many of your colleagues are in the same boat, so how do you build future proof models that live longer than the next quarter?

Manos: Results sell. Look at what’s happening with MasterCard, Apple, Intel, Netflix. How are they faring? Marketers can always be convinced through wins. You also need one or two people in your organisation that will sponsor the effort and ensure its consistency and continuation. Now, the bigger the company, the more complex this becomes because you have multiple stakeholders. Take a company like Danone; I run the yogurt business but we also have beverages, dairy, coffee and so on. One person is never enough and frequently it will take more than the tenure of one person. Marketers must show results within a specific tenure so for them it’s counterintuitive to say I’m going to spend a lot of time and money building something that 99% is not going to deliver results while I’m on the job. That’s just human nature.

So you need ambassadors to keep consistency and ensure their efforts don’t go to waste. Many of the successful brands have long-tenured marketers. It can’t just be Manos’s pet project because then it’s vulnerable, but if it’s Danone’s, it’s more sustainable.

Reese: That is a great point and thank you for your honesty…

Manos: What I will say is that I’ve had huge success getting solutions around soundtracks right but what we’ve never done is have a sonic signature and a consistent set of assets used across all campaigns. We’ve been good at borrowing equity as I think that’s easier. Not easy but easier than building equity. We had tremendous success at the 2020 Superbowl with Oikos YoGlutes, that featured Major Lazer’s Bubble Butt music track. We were top five without even advertising during the actual Superbowl, only on live stream. In 2021 we’re repeating the recipe for Super Bowl LV and a new Oikos ad called PROFACE, using rapper Mizta CEO’s Ugly Face track. So, huge success but we’d love to be able to do something which has more longevity.

“One of the best examples in terms of sonic branding is the Champions League. If you’re into sports, you hear the anthem and you get immediate chills as you know you’re going to see a good game.”

Reese: Jane Wakely, the lead CMO at Mars, says: ‘We need to think about sound and music very differently if sonic branding is to play an integral role in driving the distinctiveness of the brand’. Would you agree with that and if so, why?

Manos: Absolutely. Marketing budgets are not increasing so it comes down to how you maximise impact and memorability. Borrowed equity helps with impact but not memorability because it’s been used many times. Creating your own equity is honourable and could become memorable but the question is, can it become very impactful? Neural training is required and that’s why consistency is important because that can take years. As marketers we’re happy when 60% of the population listens or sees our creative four times but for your brain to fully associate a sound with a specific brand takes more than four times. You need multiple campaigns and patience.

Reese: What has moved you in terms of sonic branding?

Manos:
One of the best examples in terms of sonic branding is the Champions League. If you’re into sports, you hear the anthem and you get immediate chills as you know you’re going to see a good game. It’s hard to associate that with fast-moving consumer goods brands. Coca-Cola does a good job but it had decades of building equity. It’s challenging because marketers love to change campaigns but fast-moving consumer goods is not an easy one to crack.

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 Nanne Bos, Global Lead Brand Management at ING.

“Over the past decade our brand has become a digital, mostly mobile experience. Sound in that context is crucial for use to establish an emotional bond with our customers.”
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amp 101 Great Minds interview with Nanne Bos, Global Lead Brand Management at ING.

“Over the past decade our brand has become a digital, mostly mobile experience. Sound in that context is crucial for use to establish an emotional bond with our customers.”

101 Great Minds on
Music, Brands and Behavior

BRAND EDITION

NANNE BOS

Global Lead Brand Management at ING

 

“Over the past decade our brand has become a digital, mostly mobile experience. Sound in that context is crucial for use to establish an emotional bond with our customers.”

 Nanne Bos, Global Lead Brand Management, ING

Nanne Bos leads the Global Brand Management team at ING Group in Amsterdam. In that position, he is responsible for defining and executing the global branding strategy and the growth of the ING brand which stretches across 40 countries.
Prior to his current role at ING, Nanne was a member of the board of ING Insurance Benelux with responsibility for the brand and the reputation of the insurance activities in the Benelux. He has over 15 years of experience in media and technology with various companies including positions with Siemens, CMG and Atos Worldline.

Uli Reese: Tell me about your role at the brand.

Nanne Bos:
My role is global brand lead at ING. In close co-operation with the Executive Board I drive the coherence between all the aspects of the organisation. I always like to say I am responsible for everything and for nothing!

Reese: You gave a speech where you said you had 80 different values and you try to condense them down to three. Is that what you mean by coherence?


Nanne: I think maybe cohesion is a better word. The brand can not be separated from the organisation, the culture. It’s a leadership thing and the amplification of vision and of strategy. It should connect the dots, and drive the coherence between finance, HR, marketing, customer experience, digital, IT etc. The brand is the glue to bring all these pieces together.

Reese: In a nutshell, what is ING?

Nanne: At the core it’s empowering people to progress in life. That’s our purpose. From a brand perspective the main value is about freedom so it’s creating more time and more freedom for people to do the things they want to do. We acknowledge that life is not about banking. Nobody wakes up in the morning looking forward to doing their banking so the mission of ING is to create freedom for our customers.

Reese: What’s the role of audio now in your consumer experience?

Nanne: I have Ted Schappert retiring in August and he has been with the bank for 42 years. He came out of graphic design school and was hired to design banking forms. Brand management didn’t exist in those days so it was really about functional elements. We started to see the value that if you design a form in the right way it can save you a lot of money and create a positive experience. The easier the form, the more time people save for more important things. Over the years, brand management t ING matured. In the Seventies and Eighties the focus shifted to branch design and the experience we offered. But that is now of the past. Last year we had about 4.7billion digital interactions with our retail customers – 80% were mobile – and in 2020 through COVID we project an extra 20%. Banking has become an activity. And ING an enabler brand. It’s gone from physical to digital. Little things make a difference. No bank in the world has a sound as part of the user experience. In a functional context it can instantly create an emotional connection and that’s something I want to explore.

Reese: So how is the world going to experience the brand in terms of audio?

Nanne: I have a house full of Google systems and switch on my life with my voice. This is the starting point. But if you think about a voice going to be your brand, as a personality talking to you, it raises a lot of questions about female or male and languages. Across markets you can’t get away with real voices any more you need to go synthetic.

Reese: Or hybrid?

Nanne: Yes, or by using artificial intelligence. You can develop your own voice it just takes a lot of computing power. You can quickly translate the voice into different languages and tweak that into what the natural culture accepts, or what is best for the bank. I think we are five years or so from there.

In a functional context, sound can instantly create an emotional connection, and that’s something I want to explore.

Reese: We’re in the Golden Age of audio now and it started about two or three years ago but why do you think it’s been so rapid?

Nanne:
Screenwriter Robert McKee, who is known for his book Story, talks about how you go to the cinema, give up two hours of your time, and open yourself up to the experience. But people are ruthless he says, if they don’t get into the story immediately. With TV there was an artist in the Sixties who put out a TV show that was offensive but people kept watching. Now, if you do the same they will give it a second and switch off. There is a lot of content but we have a personal filter. If you want to tap into the emotion of sound and sonic then maybe you can place it at different parts of the journey?

Reese: Do you agree that trust can be built digitally and that sonic identity is part of that?

Nanne:
For banks it’s very important. I don’t like the phrase trust building as such because I think it’s something you give not something you get. The question is why would someone give that to you? For banks it’s about consistency of the experience. The experience is linked with the brand and you can reinforce it by adding a sonic experience to your toolbox. It’s an element but it needs a lot of time

Reese: CMO’s talk a lot about how we fix broken experiences. Do you have advice for them?

Nanne:
For a bank the foundation is about financial stability, reliability and integrity. If a customer has any doubts about your foundation, you are out of business. If your foundation is solid, its is more about doing, than saying. Showing that you are relevant, by innovating and introducing features that are relevant. Ultimately – it is about value congruence.

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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