Pandora rolls out its ‘Sound On’ brand narrative in time for holiday travel

By Kyle O'Brien | Creative Works Editor

November 8, 2018 | 5 min read

Streaming audio provider Pandora has unveiled its new brand narrative platform and nationwide campaign inspired by the power music and sound have to make each life moment better, called ‘Sound On.’

The new narrative celebrates the role Pandora has in connecting listeners with the music and audio content they love, and it comes out just in time for the busy holiday travel season.

“Pandora has always focused on and stood for effortless personalized discovery and reaching tens of millions of our listeners through these customized audio experiences,” Lauren Nagel, vice president, executive creative director at Pandora told The Drum. “Really, the inspiration for the narrative came from our new company vision that was articulated earlier this year built around creating audio experiences for the moment you’re in.”

‘Sound On’ rolls out this month with a multi-channel campaign focused on highlighting the universally shared experiences and sentiments of holiday travel – whether flying across the country or hopping on a short train ride across town. The campaign will be featured in high-traffic travel hubs across airports, buses and railroad stations in Atlanta, Miami, Nashville, New York City, Oakland, San Francisco, and more. Pandora will also run a custom 250-ft LED billboard at the World Trade Center station’s Oculus transportation hub in New York City.

“This particular campaign was inspired by our strategy – to seize cultural moments throughout the year and really demonstrate how Pandora can make that experience better by turning the sound on,” said Brad Minor, Pandora’s new vice president, head of brand marketing and communications.

He continued that as the in-house creative and marketing teams thought about the best way to launch the brand narrative, they thought the holidays would be perfect timing because of everyone’s shared experiences in that space.

“We thought, let’s zoom in on a very specific yet universal holiday experience we all have which is travel. And we know that experience can be stressful, but we know that experience can be made better with ‘Sound On’, so we felt like it was really authentic and credible place for us to play and start this campaign. If you look at that holiday experience, it gives you natural touchpoints. You can reach those listeners and deliver a message in the right context. They’re waiting in security, they’re waiting at baggage claim…we’re able to deliver the sounds that make them feel better,” he said.

Some of the creative features specific artists, including Cardi B, Carrie Underwood, Lil Wayne and Pitbull. Others will be more specific to a listener's location.

Pandora ad featuring Carrie Underwood

The campaign, created by Pandora’s extensive in-house team, will extend beyond the holidays and through 2019.

“The goal for ‘Sound On’ is really to emphasize the contextual moments where music and sound can amplify your life – improve your life through this personalized, customized listening experience,” said Nagel.

Minor added: “This is an overarching brand narrative of how we’re able to speak with one voice across the entire company from a B2C and a B2B perspective.”

The strategy, Minor said, is to seize cultural moments and demonstrate how Pandora makes that experience better. “We’re mapping out the full year now. What are those key moments in culture, in life, seasonally that are happening – that are universal but have very specific meanings to certain people? We’re looking at what that would look like throughout the year. You can imagine that New Year’s Resolutions are made better with ‘Sound On.’ Valentine’s Day – breakups and makeups are better with ‘Sound On.’ Coming out is better with ‘Sound On.’ All of these life’s moments are better with ‘Sound On.’ The lives our listeners lives are writing our media plan.”

The campaign, he continued, will be a test-and-learn moment for the brand. Pandora is testing different creative approaches, different markets and media channels. The company will come out of the first quarter and have a better understanding of what works and make sure the team is optimizing the creative. Since they have an in-house team, they can pivot quickly if necessary.

Nagel said that more features will come out throughout 2019 to make the platform even better to use in the future and that it will be building up its selection of podcasts, expanding the meaning of the ‘Sound On’ brand narrative.

See more of the 'Sound On' holiday creative by clicking the Creative Works box below.

Pandora: Sound On

By Pandora

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