Sennheiser preps biggest brand charge to combat fashion headphones

Sennheiser is launching its biggest global campaign to turn its premium headphone expertise into high-impact “stylish” marketing capable of winning over younger consumers as it looks to grow the brand in a post-Beats world.

Sennheiser has erected a cube in central London to represent the sound bubble people enter whilst travelling from A to B.

The audio business, known for making best-in-class audio products, aims to extend that reputation to its marketing after lamenting the “frustrations” of previous efforts. Campaigns have struggled to amplify Sennheiser’s “pursuit of perfect sound” motto, the brand claims, paving the way for the likes of Beats and Skull Candy to dominate premium-fashion driven headphones.

Sennheiser is turning to content, sourced from fans, artists and start-ups “shaping the industry”, to tap into the market in a way that appeals to 18 to 34-year-olds without alienating the audiophiles who have grown the business over the past 70 years. It sees the brand focus around 90 per cent of its marketing activty across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and its own digital channels in the belief it can become a platform for people and companies sharing content about audio.

The plan starts in earnest with a campaign for Sennheiser’s “Momentum” headphone range. Sennhesier has spent the past 10 years injecting more style and flair into the design of its products but “Momentum” is the first time both principles have been ingrained from inception.

Steve Dalton, director of marketing at Sennhesier, told Marketing Week the multimillion pound “What’s you Momentum” campaign is a great way to start “long-term” relationships with “aspirational young” consumers. Fans will be reeled in through content in the first half of the plan before receiving more subtle nudges to purchase in the latter phase of the campaign, once a relationship has been established, he adds.

The campaign is being pushed through a three-day experiential event in Covent Garden, London, where a giant cube has been erected to celebrate the personal sound bubble commuters enter whilst travelling from A to B. The cube uses technology, created by music start-up Mogees, to let visitors create their own sounds using everyday objects inside the bubble. The device will eventually go on sale to the public and Sennheiser says similar tie-ups are on the way.

The second phase of the campaign runs from September to December and will shift to pushing users to retail partners, through paid search and banners, in order to drive sales for the holiday season.

Throughout the campaign fans can upload their own short videos about their pursuit of progressive sound to try and create a video chain – where users can connect their videos to other stories that share the same themes or ideas. Fans can vote for their favourite videos with Sennheiser rewarding the best entries.

The company is banking on its tie-up with Spotify, which has generated around 78 million impressions in two months, to perform the bulk of the heavy lifting around pushing the new direction. Both companies are presenting videos from respected figures from the music industry such as DJ duo Disclosure and songwriter Imogen Heap.

It signals a change in approach to how Sennheiser both structures campaigns and frames its collaborations with the industry. Whereas previous efforts pursued more traditional media strategies and partnered with famous acts such as Myley Cyrus now it wants a deeper approach. The shift comes as the brand looks to wrestle share of the premium fashion market from the likes of Beats by competing on sound quality rather than style alone.

Dalton adds: “Sennheiser have been driving audio excellence for 70 years. [The campaign] isn’t a case of saying we want the biggest celebrity to endorse the company.

“It’s about looking at how our collaborations and marketing messages reflect the same ethos that has guided our innovative product development all theses years. We want to be known for having best-in-class marketing, not just products.”

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