Centralising its global music spend helped Shell standardise its audible brand internationally ©Shell
Centralising its global music spend helped Shell standardise its audible brand internationally ©Shell

How procurement helped Shell find its tune

13 June 2017

By single sourcing its music for marketing Shell’s procurement team has helped increase brand awareness while generating savings of 51% on the category.

Single sourcing is normally considered a high-risk strategy, but by contracting all composition, licensing and management of rights and IP to one firm Shell has centralised its global music spend and helped standardise its audible brand internationally.

Instead of paying for the licensing every time Shell puts together an advert, under its partnership with music contractor CORD Shell paid a high investment cost to create a stock jingle and is recouping money on each use.

The firm invested $1,133,365 into its five-note jingle and a number of variants, and has so far used it 415 times, making its average cost $2,731, half the equivalent cost of licensing, it says. It projects this will drop to $1,885 per use in 2018.

Gianpaolo Gagliardi, category manager for brand and communications at Shell, said the firm partnered with CORD in 2013. “Since then CORD handle for us all matters around licensing, composition and rights ownership in terms of usage and working together with the other agencies, both at local and global level.”

Speaking at the Procurecon Marketing Conference in London today, Gagliardi said as well as creating the brand’s jingle, CORD has created 199 variations, all under Shell’s copyright. With a few exceptions, variations of the same piece of music are now used in all Shell’s global marketing.

Elisa Harris, founding partner at CORD, said implementing the centralised approach was not without challenges. In particular the culture within Shell’s other partner agencies needed to be changed. Speaking alongside Gagliardi, she said: “When we first came to the project there was a real culture of mark-ups. There was a lack of transparency over both the music brief and also spend, a lack of control, and also a great deal of risk associated with usage and IP.”

However, Harris said the new centralised approach has made the music process more efficient. “There’s always lots of time wasting with music because it’s always left to the last moment, everyone’s flapping about and lots of stakeholders around the world to please,” she said.

So far Gagliardi said Shell has been pleased with the attribution testing it has done, and said one test showed around a third of radio listeners in London identified the tune with the firm.

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