Orchestration. Is your brand singing the right song?

I studied music before I studied marketing. I used to think that they were unrelated – that I fell into a marketing career because I landed a marketing job with a London Orchestra based on having a music degree. Yet today I see so much of my musical training in the way I approach marketing.  Music feels more like a logical and deliberate path to a Masters in marketing and a career leading global marketing teams.

Orchestration? I believe that a brand is a performance that people contribute to day in, day out. Which needs orchestrating and conducting.  When I’ve mentored less experienced marketers, their challenges and questions are more often about joining the dots between marketing and the rest of the business than they are about delivery of their campaigns.

For brands to be consistent, they need to think ‘joined-up’. Every touch point should give the same feeling of who you are and convey another thread of the same message.  In my eyes (or ears…) the CMO is actually the chief orchestration officer.

I sing with two very different choirs every week. One is a local community choir, where most of the members have no musical training. The repertoire is a mix of well-known popular music and community folk songs from around the world. It’s about introducing the joy of choral singing to a community. The other choir is one of the world’s leading independent choruses. The audience (and singers’) expectation is different and we perform in the top concert halls with professional orchestras.  It’s about precision and nuance and pushing the standards of choral singing.

Both are mixed-voice choirs, yet their brand purpose is very different. They serve different segments. And so their approach to which songs they choose to sing, how many parts that’s split into, how they rehearse, where they perform, what they wear and how they expect the audience to react, are completely different.

To build your brand performance, you need to know first who you are, who you serve and what you do really well. If your story is real, your people can tell that story consistently because it rings true to them. I believe that part of the CMOs role is to orchestrate that experience across the organisation, or your value proposition and brand position will never actually be performed.

Strategy is only as good as its execution and your performance will be judged by your audience. Picking the right song is the first step to the stage…