Adrian Peter Tse
Sep 26, 2014

How music is an inescapable ingredient for brands: Sony

SPIKES ASIA – As you look at successful brand initiatives, it’s often hard to imagine what they would be like without music. For brands it’s a space that’s difficult to ignore, but also one where it's easy to make missteps.

Gavin Parry
Gavin Parry

Backpacking through Australia, Gavin Parry got a job in the tech department of Sony Music when he returned home. “When I told my wife the news she said ‘great, now keep looking for a real job,” said Parry, laughing.

Fifteen years later, he’s the EVP for digital and business development in Australia and Asia. Parry showed a presentation highlighting the changes in the music industry over the last 35 years, spanning the Walkman in 1979 through to Apple acquiring Beats in 2014.

Here are the key lessons:

  • All brands eventually play in the music space or return to it.
  • Start with the target market. Think about consumer segmentation, competitor analysis, and a SWOT analysis when considering music.
  • Try not to pick the song or the artist first. Bring brands back to segmentation and objective because a lot of brands simply look for what’s hot.
  • Align and integrate with the product or service. Examples: Taylor Swift’s KFC Ride to Fame campaign; Sony and Xperia: Daft Punk launch 2013, Australia.
  • Brands often have a two-year plan. The music industry has a two-month plan. Remember the music space changes quickly.
  • Social Media: Brands will tend to want to do too much on there. Where music is involved, you need to get it just right.
  • Consider non-artist projects such as contests, apps. Music services like Spotify, Vevo.
  • Do it with credibility. Brands jump in and out of music, which makes it more difficult to build long-term credibility.

Campaign’s observation:  While many brands and agencies are moving away from classic targeting and defining consumers into neat categories and archetypes, it was interesting to see segmentation as a big part of Sony Music’s strategy for advising brands and clients on how to enter the music space. It would have been great to address this question more deeply in the seminar.  


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