Seeking to offer brand marketers deeper and more original integration into its vast range of distribution assets, iHeartMedia has built and launched iHeartMedia SoundBoard, a creative entertainment studio that promises to develop innovative ad campaigns.
We spoke with Gayle Troberman, newly installed Chief Marketing Officer for iHeartMedia. (Troberman joined the company in October.) During our conversation she emphasized storytelling, and the potential of customizing brand stories across a wide range of delivery platforms.
“We can reach consumers on-air via radio, online, video, through our apps, and through live events,” Gayle Troberman said. “I’m excited about SoundBoard creating cross-platform content, and stories that we can tell in entirely different ways. To see ideas adapted to each platform will be exciting for us. Adaptive, real-time, creative storytelling.”
“We reach 245-million monthly consumers; that is by far our most important asset.” –Gayle Troberman, Chief Marketing Officer, iHeartMedia
The SoundBoard project represents a premium advertising trend that gives marketers more tie-in to programmed content, with messaging that is more integrated than interruptive spots. Ideally, the goal of all so-called native advertising is to make the commercial message as interesting as the organic content. Along that line, iHeartMedia is recruiting collaborators from the artistic community — actor and musician Jared Leto is the first on board.
“Jared is amazing and we’ve been talking to him about SoundBoard,” Troberman said. “He is one of many collaborators that you’ll see participating.”
Native advertising and customized brand integrations are a moving trend in streaming advertising, at least among large audio publishers. Pandora employs an in-house creative studio of about 60 people. We asked Gayle Troberman whether buy-side demand drove the launch of iHeartMedia SoundBoard.
“Absolutely. Clients have been asking for more innovative ways to tell rich stories. One interesting phrase we’ve been discussing with clients is ‘sound strategy.’ What is their sound strategy? How does a brand sound? What music and artists matter to their audience? How can they tell stories about EDM, if that’s important to their consumers, vs. Country, for example? There’s huge opportunity in telling those stories in unique ways.”
Who drives the creative process of unique storytelling? “We envision a collaborative creative process,” according to Troberman. “Branded content done well is a truly equal partnership between the brand, the media partner, the artist(s), and the technology. Depending on the situation, the various creative teams will take different forms and roles.”
Collaborative brand marketing results in premium campaigns represented by deal points that fly above standard impression buying. “We anticipate custom deals priced as custom packages,” Gayle Troberman said.