Pandora has been around for 10 years. But there’s a new kid in town, Chief Marking Officer, Simon Fleming-Wood. We wanted to find out why the online radio giant is just now adding such an important piece of the puzzle.
Fleming-Wood says the reason Pandora waited so long to bring him on was because they’ve grown so significantly that it made sense for someone to come in and be the shepherd of the brand. They want to build in even more disciplined approaches, both in terms of how they approach new customer acquisition as well as maintaining and growing what they call “listening intensity.” He says that ‘listening intensity’ refers to the way Pandora competes for greater share of somebody’s music listening experience.
Now we’re getting to the good stuff. The competition is rough out there. But when Simon was asked how Pandora’s new branding efforts will differentiate from the Spotify’s and iHeartRadio’s of the world, he had it covered. Personalization is the key ingredient here, as it has been all along. No other online station has the Music Genome project on their side. The listener goes to Pandora’s website and tells them a little bit about themselves and then the ‘magic’ happens. Fleming-Wood says “ten years of work have gone into building this hand-built database of musicological DNA that allows people on the fly wherever they are to find music that they love. That is the differentiation.”
Fleming-Wood: “One of the brand attributes for Pandora is that, even though it now has over 125 million registered users, people still have this personal association with it, and in some ways, it’s still like a secret. From a brand perspective, I don’t want to ignore that. I think that’s cool. But do we see ourselves as adversarial with the other players in the music industry, and is that part of our way of hyping the brand? Absolutely not. We feel that we are an important part of a healthy music industry. We pay royalties to artists. We pay much higher royalties than traditional radio does.”
Here at The Radio Agency, we’re wondering what effect the new CMO will have on Pandora’s advertising abilities? I have no doubt that Simon Fleming-Wood will make Pandora’s advertising services even stronger. I think he’ll also keep the company going strong for ten plus years. Pandora is absolutely the reigning king of online radio and now with Simon’s help, I don’t think they will be a ‘secret’ much longer.