Target’s CMO is turning his attention on audio branding

Gomez was promoted to CMO in 2017

With Target now firmly back on track to growth, the company’s chief marketing and digital officer, Rick Gomez, is turning his gaze on the more ancillary branding opportunity of audio.

The company reported a Q2 comparable sales uptick of 3.4% in August, marking its ninth quarter of revenue growth off the back of a beleaguered performance in 2016.

Analysts and company execs have widely attributed the turnaround to Target’s punt on a $7bn investment in e-commerce, stores and technology, as well as a reappraisal of its private-label lines and overarching brand.

Now that the company is close to reaching the ‘mission accomplished’ stage of its turnaround plan, Gomez said he is turning his attention to the re-emerging market practice of audio branding.

“With our brand, we have a really clear point of view on how it shows up visually ... so when you see a piece of content you go, ‘that’s Target’,” he said. “Part of that is casting and the lighting and the craftsmanship but sound is really important, and we believe sound is going to be increasingly important.”

Speaking at the annual ANA Masters of Marketing conference, Gomez said the company’s interest in audio will extend beyond just marketing.

“When we you walk into a store, what are the sounds that you’re hearing?” he explained. “When you interact with a store team member, what are they saying? When you call the help desk, what’s the music that you hear?

“We think we have a real opportunity to start to think about audio branding in a really holistic way, not just as a button on a commercial. That’s work we need to do.”

The marketer also noted he anticipates "the role of voice" to play a critical role in the development of retail marketing going forward.

Target is not the only brand to considering audio as a vital part of its branding and the customer experience.

Mastercard’s chief marketing officer, Raja Rajamannar, has been a vocal proponent of elevating a brand’s sonic identity to equal its visual identity, while Pandora has developed an audio identity that can be personalized to each user’s musical tastes.

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