Audio Branding - The Music Brief

Today's extract from Sonic Branding: An Introduction takes us from the audio moodboard through to the development of a music brief.

Chapter 20 - Identity

At the end of the moodboard workshops, we are faced with one of two scenarios. If the process is based upon big idea moodboards, then the third stage of the sonic branding engine sees the creative director armed with a musical moodboard and the feedback of the decision-making group. This feedback will have information regarding each component of the moodboard and how closely its emotions match the desired expression of the sonic branding. There will also be some detailed intelligence regarding specific instruments, rhythms or sounds that are particularly liked in the context of a brand communication.

As shown earlier in our examination of the nature of brands, the identity level of a brand is incredibly important because it exists at a higher level than the experience of the stakeholders and must represent the belief of the brand. Similarly, in the sonic branding engine, the identity level is the most important creatively and strategically, as the use of the sonic branding across each touchpoint gains its consistency and distinctiveness primarily as a result of how it relates back to the identity level. The identity level is primarily concerned with building a system of sonic branding that will be capable of generating the distinct, memorable, flexible and honest identifiers that a brand needs to generate belief among stakeholders. As such it is the beating heart of sonic branding.

There are a number of ways of creating the system and each one, strategically and creatively, will be different. There are some components, however, that are common to all sonic brand identities. These are the sonic language, sonic logo (TM) and guidelines. 

Chapter 21 - Sonic Language

The visual branding world is very familiar with the concept of a language system. This would traditionally be composed of a colour palette, a font, perhaps a photographic style, layouts and shapes that are considered the language of a brand and can be used in most combinations in branded communications. In the world of sonic branding, the language system required is at least as complex, if not more so. What creates the difficulty is the fact that sound has a relationship with the passing of time that visuals, apart from film which is rarely used in brand communications, do not share. A brochure or a press ad stands still. Sonic branding moves through time. As a result, it is much harder to define than colours or shapes. There is no set classification for sounds as yet because the temporal element gives sounds an infinite number of possibilities. Therefore, we are inventing the equivalent of a Pantone system as it goes along, though I doubt we will ever reach the point where all sounds are classified and numbered.

The sonic language aims to assemble the sounds identified during the creative process so far and express these in a clear and understandable was as the sounds will become the cornerstones of the brand’s sonic identity.

In the first case, where big idea moodboards are the only reference, it is the job of the creative director to identify the sounds that have been well received and interpret these in an own-able way. For example, where a piano melody may have been deemed on-brand, it is obvious that the piano reference will itself already belong to an existing piece of music. It is necessary, therefore, for the creative director to take the instrument and create a new melody that has the same emotional content as the piece referenced in the moodboard.

Exactly the same principle relates to any ambient sounds that are deemed on-brand in the big idea moodboard stage but are obviously pre-existing and subject to another’s copyright. In this case, it is the job of the creative director to source and record a similar sounds that can then be owned by the brand. Allowing the creative director the chance to reinterpret the brief that has come from the moodboard is a great opportunity for generating the distinctive magic that should be sought in any new music or ambient sound.

Where value moodboards have been employed, the sonic language is well defined by the time the identity stage is reached. There is less room here for interpretation of the sounds by the creative or composer but that is not to say that the creative’s work is finished, far from it. The sonic language identified needs to be expressed in some way that will allow it to make sense to the decision—making group and to those who will create the brand experiences further down the line. To do this, the sonic language’s temporal relationship must be expressed as must the inter-relationships of the different elements of the language. This expression usually takes the form of a brand score.

The brand score is a piece of music that brings together all the elements of the sonic language: vocal, instrumental and ambient sounds. It can vary in length, depending upon the richness of the language defined at the identity stage and will usually introduce a melody that is new, distinct, recognizable, own-able and memorable for the brand. It is in the creation of the brand score that the creative magic of music is given its chance to live.

Process is what leads to an accurate brief and clear understanding of the brand but a spark is required to go from the process stage into true creativity. Brand scores, even when the sonic language has been pre-defined and agreed, can and should be surprising because the sonic branding must be new and distinct.

The brand score is perhaps the most important piece of the sonic branding process because it will contain all the rational and emotional information required for future sonic branding work. That said, it is not designed for use in external touchpoints for the brand. It is an expression of the sonic language in its purest form and as such has no specific reference points for the experiential contexts that apply to specific touchpoints. For example, the brand score may be three minutes in length. Simplistically, a radio ad may be 30 seconds duration or an office environment may require some branding for nine hours every day. Though the information required to create pieces of these varying lengths will be contained within the brand score, it in itself cannot be chopped into pieces or put on constant repeat to work fully in these scenarios. The first creative work that the brand score informs is the sonic logo. In truth, they are created simultaneously as the logo is always in the composer’s mind while the brand score is designed.

Daniel Jackson, CEO - CORD

5 Gigs you should see this week: 15th -22nd May

This year has gone so quickly its hard to believe that we are in the middle of May. We have another week full of great live music from an eclectic mix of artists.

YUNA, 16th May @ KOKO London

Yuna is a Malaysian singer-songwriter who began on MySpace and now collaborates with Pharrell Williams and Usher. She released her third album, Chapters, in 2016. Her voice is smooth as honey and you can see her in KOKO on the 16th.

Click here for tickets.


If you haven't heard of her specifically, you will have heard Bebe's voice, I promise. She featured on 'Hey Mama,' David Guetta's big chart hit, and she actually wrote the chorus too. She's the blasting voice on Martin Garrix' 'In The Name Of Love,' and her own singles 'I Got You,' 'No Broken Hearts' ft. Nicki Minaj, and 'Bad Bitch' ft. Ty Dolla Sign have also taken the pop charts by storm. She can work with any rapper she wants, from Nicki to G-Eazy, and is a smashing songwriter.

Click here for tickets.

GAVIN DEGRAW, 20th May @ o2 Shepherd's Bush Empire

Gavin DeGraw burst onto the scene when his song 'I Don't Want To Be' was used as the American TV show 'One Tree Hill's theme tune, and he hasn't slowed down since. He has worked with Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic and Colbie Caillat, showcasing the very best of pop rock and acoustic. He recently released a catchy country-rock song: 'She Sets the City on Fire,' and is currently touring Europe.

Click here for tickets. 


KT TUNSTALL, 22nd May @ The Barbican

KT has been a UK favourite since around 2004, when she performed 'Black Horse and the Cherry Tree' on Jools Holland, and released the album 'Eye to the Telescope.' 'Black Horse' was one of the most successful singles and most radio-played songs of 2005 in the United Kingdom, and she broke America when her single 'Suddenly I See' was used in the opening credits of the film 'The Devil Wears Prada.' Since then, she has been a shining light of folk music for the UK and she comes back this summer from the US to play shows for us, back home.

Click here for tickets.

Mac DeMarco 'This Old Dog' Review


When many people think of Mac DeMarco they think of a laid back, unpretentious artist who doesn’t seem to take himself or the world too seriously. This easy going nature and reputation as a lovable goof is what draws many people to his music. However, behind the songs about cigarettes, the on-stage antics and the lovable gap-toothed smile lies a wounded, insecure and deeply emotional man. This side to DeMarco is on full display throughout ‘This Old Dog’, an album that sees Mac delve deeper into the truths behind his public persona.


Nobody can deny that DeMarco has always been very truthful about his personal life within the media. From his relationship with his long-time girlfriend Kiera, to his close bond with his mother, Mac is unashamed to talk about the most personal aspects of his life; ‘This Old Dog’ takes this openness one step further. In the official bio of the album DeMarco states that “one of the main goals for this record was trying to make sure I retained some kind of realness”. The core of the album shows DeMarco being truthful with himself and reflecting upon the affecting relationship with his absent father. In past interviews DeMarco has made no attempt to conceal his disdain for his father, once openly referring to him as “a piece of shit”, and yet throughout the album DeMarco still displays a lament for the father-son relationship he never had, specifically upon the heartfelt closing track “Watching Him Fade Away”. ‘This Old Dog’ is an album that confronts fatherhood not only for Mac as a son, but as a future father. Although only 27 years old, it is clear that DeMarco is beginning to face his own future and his responsibilities as a partner and potential father in the years to come. This realisation results in an album where the wacky antics and playful guitar licks of the past are subdued in favour of acoustic guitars, smooth organs, and the occasional harmonica.


For some fans the album may not seem progressive enough, too slow, or even one note, however this change marks an important musical maturation for Mac DeMarco who, in the past, has received most praise for his upbeat and catchy tracks and occasionally favoured his distinctive style over substance. On this album this is not the case, DeMarco delves deeper into the laid-back and emotionally driven elements of his previous work, such as the crooning love songs “Let My Baby Stay” and “Still Together”, which result in beautifully sincere tracks such as “Moonlight On A River” and “One More Love Song”. It is also clear that DeMarco draws from a variety of new musical influences across the album as an attempt to update his unique style. The album incorporates a twangy country influence, reminiscent of instrumental track “Boe Zaah” from ‘2’, and even a bossa-nova inspired rhythm on “Dreams From Yesterday”. As the album progresses, we are able to understand that this is a record that DeMarco has made for himself, he refuses to play the one dimensional character many people mistake him for and seeks instead to develop himself more as an artist and person resulting in a new, cleaner, breezier, light weekend-afternoon sound.


All in all, ‘This Old Dog’ amounts to Mac DeMarco’s most personal and emotionally engaging album yet, in both sound and content. Where before it may have been easy to escape into DeMarco’s music without paying full attention to the lyrical content, by placing the album’s primary focus upon his own emotional struggle and expressing his anxiety in becoming like his father Mac allows himself to showcase his true lyrical capability and render himself a more relatable and respectable songwriter; one capable of vulnerability and maturation whilst maintaining the effortless sincerity, warmth and laid-back demeanour that captured our hearts in the first place.


This week includes a huge throwback gig from one of the biggest girlbands of our time, a couple of great dance gigs and a couple of guys who can work magic with a guitar. It's up to you which one you choose!

TLC, 9th May @ KOKO London

TLC have been ranked the greatest female group by VH1, and placed at number 12 on the list of 100 Greatest Women in Music. Their 1990's hits 'Creep,' 'Waterfalls,' and 'No Scrubs' are still played today and they are officially 90's royalty. If you want to take yourself back to the good ol' days, get tickets.


JONAS BLUE, 10th May @ Heaven

Jonas Blue is the genius songwriter and DJ behind hits 'By Your Side,' 'Perfect Strangers,' and the remix of Tracy Chapman's 'Fast Car' which flew to number one in 2015. He uses the vocal talents of Dakota, Raye and JP Cooper behind booming summer beats to create songs that now dominate the radio. Tickets are cheap and available here.


JOHN MAYER, 11th May @ The O2 Arena

John Mayer has had the hearts of thousands of music lovers for 15 years, releasing 15 albums during that time, jampacked with folk, country and singer songwriter ballads like 'Your Body Is A Wonderland' and a cover of Tom Petty's 'Free Fallin'. Tickets here.


Frank turner, 13th May @ Roundhouse, London

Turner began his career in a punk/ rock band, Million Dead, who parted ways in 2005, and he then fell victim to the beauty of folk and country sound, releasing an EP in 2006 and then the critically acclaimed 'Tape Deck Heart' in 2013, which included the well-liked single 'Recovery.' Catch him at the Roundhouse on the 13th.

 Click here for tickets.


JAMES HERSEY, 15th May @ the camden assembly

Austrian indie-pop artist has hits under his belt like 'Coming Over,' which was mixed by Dillon Francis and Kygo, and remixed by the likes of Tiesto. His vocals also feature on Filous' 'How Hard I Try.' He's now a staple of electro and indie-pop summer tunes, and he releases a new EP on May 5th, 'Pages.' 

Catch him live here.



How To Build An Audio Moodboard

Today's extract from Sonic Branding: An Introduction describes the method for developing an audio moodboard. The audio moodboard is an integral part of our creative process, not only because it enables us to refine the music brief, but because it takes our clients on a journey of learning and insight.

Chapter 19 - Moodboards

With the audits completed, we usually have plenty of reference materials to fuel the next part of the process. Our backgrounds in advertising and the media led us to believe that there were great benefits to using visual moodboards as an aid to a visual brief. When describing any creative guide, it is almost always useful to use stimuli other than the written and spoken word to give ideas form. Similarly, our backgrounds in music and theatre taught us that creating demo tracks or listening to pre-existing music with the intention of learning from the most appropriate pieces were very strong steps towards the creation of great music and design in sound. Bringing together this knowledge, we developed a creative process around sonic moodboards.

There are two types of moodboard that we use. The first is the ‘big idea’ or ‘belief’ moodboard. Like any visual moodboard, this is a collection of reference materials that approaches the central belief or idea of the brand in varying ways. In the visual world, I have seen moodboards covered with anything from beads to fake fur, carpets and pictures from magazines or logos from cars or supermarkets. Jon Turner introduced this approach to Enterprise IG, the WPP—owned brand consultants. There is validity in the living moodboard for sonic branding briefs but we have found the visual context they present to be distracting, particularly when entirely non-visual touchpoints such as the radio have been identified for inclusion in the branding.

As a result, in the sonic world, the reference material for moodboards is entirely audio and is dominated by the use of music that has been composed to convey an overall emotion or belief that is similar to that of the brand. There is such a broad range of music available today that almost any situation has already been composed for. Thus, we rely upon our knowledge of what is out there to select the right pieces for any one moodboard.

This is How We Do It

Of course, a vast and well-referenced music library is a great help as is the encyclopaedic musical knowledge of individuals within Sonicbrand. A particularly rich seam of material is the vast archive of film scores that have been created over the last 75 years. If one considers just how many scenes have had music written specifically for them, it is easy to imagine that almost every emotion has been tackled musically in the cinema.

From Charlie Chaplin’s own compositions for the 1931 movie City Lights to Badly Drawn Boy’s 2002 scoring of Nick Hornby’s About a Boy, the vast output of Hollywood, and indeed Bollywood, has created as rich and diverse a selection of reference material as could ever be imagined. It is possible to argue that the finest composers of the twentieth century expressed themselves primarily through movie music; Max Steiner in the1930s and 1940s was responsible for the themes to Gone with the Wind and Casablanca, for example. Elmer Bernstein created true classics in the scores for The Magnificent Seven and The Great Escape. Henry Mancini expressed the essence of The Pink Panther more eloquently in his theme tune than any other component of the film managed. John Barry (Zulu, Midnight Cowboy), Ennio Morricone (The Mission, Cinema Paradiso), Bernard Herrmann (Taxi Driver, Psycho) and John Williams (Star Wars, Schindler’s List) can be listed among the truly great composers of the last century. They are responsible in so many ways for how we experience the movies and for the great emotional impact the medium has on its audiences.

Every film score, of course, is different and every moodboard is distinct and new in its own way too. The choice of reference materials evolves throughout the briefing and auditing stages. It starts from as broad a base and range of styles as possible. Every piece of music ever written is a candidate. From there a narrowing and refinement takes place as pieces with the right emotion are retained and moved forward as pieces that do not fit the brand are discarded. Eventually, a moodboard that closely reflects the central belief of the brand is assembled. It will ideally consist of eight or more pieces that aggregate to express the big idea in its entirety. Each individual component, however, can never be perfect on its own as every piece of music has been written for a context or purpose that is different to that of the brand.

It is always important to have a number of pieces in the moodboard for another reason. When presented as a direction for musical creative work, a single piece of music can often be latched onto by the decision makers for a project. Once established as the ‘ideal’ piece within their minds, it is hard for the piece to be replaced, no matter how good the new composition maybe. This scenario will be familiar to anyone who has ever presented creative work of any kind that was accompanied by a single piece of ‘guide’ music. It is common practice in advertising agencies to present ‘animatics’, the sketch stage of TV commercials, to their client with a hastily chosen musical accompaniment. On many occasions these tracks, to nobody’s great advantage, end up being used for the final commercial because they have become lodged in the client’s psyche. In many ways, once the ear and mind link a piece of music with a visual context it is almost impossible to separate them again. Thus, to escape this potential straitjacket, we always have a number of different pieces of reference music at this early stage.....

Daniel M Jackson, CEO - CORD


From country to grime, this week is an interesting one for our gig goers. Check out the unbelievable roster of talent below and choose a gig to get to!

THE SHIRES, 2nd May @ London Palladium

The Shires, country duo, had the fastest-selling UK country album in history when it was released in October 2016, and became the first ever English country act to be signed to a major Nashville label when signed to Universal Nashville. They fly the country flag for us Brits and will be in London for one night on the 2nd May. Tickets here.

BLONDIE, 3rd May @ Roundhouse

For four decades, Blondie has been a 'national treasure.' One of the most well known punk bands whose influence still reverberates in music, they produced hits like 'Heart of Glass.' 'Fun,' and 'The Tide is High.' Tickets to see them are available here.

STORMZY, 4th May @ 02 Academy Brixton

Stormzy, a born and bred Brit, just finished a set at Coachella and has become the first artist with a number one grime album in the charts. He's blown up this year and will most likely only get bigger and bigger, so catch tickets if you can for his show in Brixton before he performs at Glastonbury and becomes an A-List star.

J HUS, 6th May @ The Forum Hertfordshire

J Hus, a 20 year old rapper from East London, was unsigned until he gained rapid recognition this year. After appearing on Stormzy's Gang Signs and Prayer album and releasing his own singles 'Lean and Bop' and 'Did You See' in early 2017, he has racked up 8 million views on each song and doesn't show signs of slowing down.

Grab tickets to see him here.

JOHN MORELAND AND NOAH GUNDERSON, 8th May @ Union Chapel, London

Both American singer-songwriters, Gunderson and Moreland travel across the world to perform 20 minutes outside of London. Gunderson went from being in bands to flying solo, and has a roster of harrowing and beautiful songs including 'Family.' Moreland sings rootsy alt-country which tugs at the heartstrings, for example 'You Don't Care Enough for me to Cry.' They both perform separate sets, and tickets are available here

Sonic Branding Process

Today's extract from Sonic Branding: An Introduction begins to describe the creative process associated with the development of 'sonics' - better known these days as brand anthems and mnemonics. This book was the first of its kind to introduce a process that combined branding strategy and creative thinking to develop long-term musical assets.

Chapter 18 - Creative Learning

The brand brief gives us an understanding of the brand, primarily through the verbal expressions of staff and the graphic and written expressions contained in documents. The next stage, creative learning, is where we truly start to uncover how the brand will eventually express itself in sound. We do this through a series of audits and group discussions of sonic moodboards.

Historical audit

As we saw in the first two sections, sound has been used for many years by many great brands, but in reality all brands already express themselves in sound. The vast majority have made no impact on their audiences because they have missed the crucial points of consistency over time and across touchpoints but even the most seemingly silent brands communicate through sound somewhere.

The first step in the creative learning stage involves listening to the brand's pre-existing sonic touchpoints. These will obviously vary by brand but can include historic approaches to advertising, telephone hold systems, office music, events or corporate videos. Wherever it may be, we always uncover some heritage, even if it is best forgotten. Sometimes though, the historical audit throws up some interesting, remarkable or even breakthrough information and even the most seemingly quiet brands can sometimes have a rich heritage in the use of voice or music. Music on a corporate film, for example, may have been absolutely spot—on for a brand but because of the way the project was undertaken or the cost of licensing the track, it will have become lost in the history of the brand.

The historical audit will uncover a brand’s own instinctive approach to sonics and use it as a reference for the future, consistent approach that will be implemented. Occasionally, it will even throw up a sonic branding property right under the noses of the brand guardians and when it does, it shows how uncovering a brand’s sonic heritage can be incredibly powerful for helping brand guardians to realize just how important sonic branding has been in the past for their brand.

When working recently for BP, we uncovered some sonic branding for one of their most respected sub-brands; Castrol GTX. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Castrol used a single piece of music consistently in its advertising. Even hearing it today makes me remember the ads with the oil running down the side of the can. Despite this, the BP folk, when asked if the corporation had any sonic branding gave a resounding no, until they were reminded of the sonic branding that their 1970s ad agency had provided for them. This discovery added much weight and reassurance to the sonic branding process and really brought home how powerful sonics can be.

Daniel M Jackson - CEO, CORD

Best Practice Sonic Branding

Extract from Sonic Branding: An Introduction - how the sonic branding industry has looked to the world’s leading visual and experiential branding agencies for best practice process.

Chapter 17 - Brand Brief

We realised quickly that in order to build sonics from a brand perspective, with the flexibility to work across all platforms and media through time, we would have to start with a very solid understanding of the brand before we got near to the creative work itself.

Luckily, we were not the first business that needed to establish how to take a brief on the nature of a brand. By working with the world’s leading visual and experiential branding agencies, we became exposed to the many ways in which graphic and 3D design are briefed from a brand perspective. Igor Stravinsky once said that a good composer does not imitate; he steals. I like to think that what we did was steal the best bits of everyone else’s brand-briefing process and apply them to our needs.

We need the brand brief to inform our creative work and make it consistent with everything else that the brands puts out as touch points. With it, we can generate consistency and, though it is sometimes a long and drawn out process, the long-term reward for getting it right at this stage is that it enables the rest of the process to move more smoothly. Specifically, the brand brief involves the brand guardians imparting their knowledge of the central belief or big idea of the brand. Certain scenarios facilitate this. 

Where brand guardians have called upon the services of a strategic branding agency such as Landor or Enterprise IG before addressing sonics, the central belief of the brand is almost always clearly visible in the work that these agencies carry out. As a result, access to documents such as the brand guidelines can give us additional information to supplement the discussion sessions that must inevitably take place. Written documents can never be the only source of a brand brief as they are often open to wide interpretation but they give great clues to the formal nature of the brand. They also demonstrate how the brand is already interpreted graphically. Visual branding has many parallels with sonic branding and by viewing logos, fonts, shapes and colours, we can be inspired regarding the sonic interpretations yet to come.

Daniel M Jackson, CEO - CORD

5 Gigs You Should See This Week including Ed Sheeran and Migos: 24th- 1st May

This week includes an eclectic mix, from canonical singer songwriting to the best of current hip hop and rap, there's something for everyone. Enjoy the sun and check out the best gigs to head to this week.


Three-piece rap group Migos rose to fame this year after releasing 'Bad and Boujee,' and together with Atlanta rapper Lil Yachty who is also managed by Quality Control music, the squad made up of some of hip hop's most exciting talent of the moment are performing on two nights in Brixton. Expect recognisable bangers and their new collaboration, 'Peek-A-Boo.'

Tickets here.

MISTAJAM presents Jampacked, RUM COMMITTEE X RAG'N'BONE MAN, 27th April @ XOYO

MistaJam was voted 2016 Broadcaster of the Year by The Radio Academy, and broadcasts for BBC 1Xtra, representing "the breadth of UK musical cultures." He performs a set at XOYO alongside UK DJ Hip Hop collective Rum Committee and Rag’n’Bone Man, plus sets from DJ Dobby (Represent Radio). He's "one of the most powerful influencers in UK music today" and takes XOYO by storm before heading off to festivals abroad during summer.

Tickets here.

BOB DYLAN, 28th April @ London Palladium

One of the most influential global singer songwriters for the last five decades, Dylan performs three intimate shows at the London Palladium, which are the last dates to be added on this tour. Tickets here.


JAY SEAN for #orphanaid, 29th April @ Troxy

Jay Sean rose to prominence with his 2009 single 'Down,' which made him the first UK urban act to top the Hot 100. He has since released a string of hits, including 'Do You Remember,' and more recently 'Make My Love Go' ft. Sean Paul and this week's release 'Do You Love Me,' sure to be a summer hit. On the 29th, Sean leads the  charity concert held by Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty and boxer Amir Khan, aiming to raise both vital funds and awareness of the plight of orphans in South Asia. Tickets here.

ED SHEERAN, 1st May @ 02

Ed recently released his new album Divide to much critical acclaim, after surprisingly returning to music after a year's break with 'Castle on the Hill' and 'Shape of You.' The album went to number one immediately and he broke records with 16 different songs in the UK Top 20 Charts at the same time. The tour is sure to be just as much of a success as the album. Get tickets here.

DAMN. Review

As one of the most devout Christians in Hip-Hop, it is perhaps fitting that Kendrick Lamar has achieved an almost godlike status within the industry. He is at a level none of his contemporaries are even close to, consistently achieving commercial, artistic and critical success. However, it is perhaps more ironic that it is this level of acclaim and his loyalty of faith that has led to the self-doubt and pessimism at centre of DAMN.

DAMN. is an album of consequence, and internal conflict. It communicates the point Kendrick is trying to make on almost every level. From the track names to the album sequencing, Kendrick seeks to teach us about the fragmentation we all feel, and present his meditations upon behaviour and what makes a person who they are.

The personal and political aspects of Kendrick's music have been present from the very beginning, but DAMN. provides a middle ground between 2012's Good Kid, m.A.A.D city and 2015's To Pimp A Butterfly that contains some of Kendrick's most personal and emotional music yet, while simultaneously commenting upon the state of society and morality.

DAMN. is certainly the most pessimistic view of society Kendrick has put to album yet. His morals and faith, usually the foundations of his work are shaken. He reflects upon human nature and our motives, specifically in the final lines of DNA where he states "Sex, money, murder—[are] our DNA". On FEEL Kendrick reflects upon the state of our selfish state of society and claims "The world is endin’, I’m done pretendin’, and fuck you if you get offended”. It's evident that Kendrick is vulnerable on this album, he's unhappy with the world, unsure of himself, his fame, his voice as a social activist. This is a theme that runs throughout the album but is perhaps most clearly alluded to in FEAR where Kendrick draws parallels between himself and the biblical tale of Job. Throughout the album he portrays his duty to society and the burden it brings is as a test from God himself. This emotional burden is what has led to Kendrick's questioning of faith and morality. Just as he notes on FEEL, "I feel like the whole world want me to pray for 'em, But who the fuck prayin' for me?"

Tackling huge concepts, evident from the very track names such as PRIDE, GOD, LOYALTY and LOVE, Kendrick attempts to analyse human nature and the conflict between our inherent desires and moral expectation. This conflict is reflected in the album sequencing coupling tracks together to reflect the duality and connections within life .i.e. LUST, LOVE or perhaps most interestingly FEAR, GOD and Kendrick's own legacy of his name DUCKWORTH. GOD and DUCKWORTH represent the two patriarchs in Kendrick's life, to which he has an eternal duty: The Holy Father and his own Father, Kenny Duckworth.

Lyrically and conceptually Kendrick delivers yet another album at the cutting edge of Hip-Hop and modern day poetry in general. However, perhaps most impressive is the manner in which Kendrick is able to consistently reinvent himself with every album.

DAMN brings an entirely new sound to Kendrick's catalogue. Instrumentally, the jazz and funk inspired style of 'To Pimp A Butterfly' has gone. The collaboration with the likes of Thundercat and Kamasi Washington have been replaced by Steve Lacy, 9th Wonder and Badbadnotgood who assist in the construction of this new sound, from the trap style beat and hectic beat change of DNA, to the phone recorded lazy guitar led PRIDE and even a fully fledged, Jeremih-esque R&B track in the form of LOVE.

Though Kendrick deliberately creates a fragmented and disorienting listening experience, there is something within DAMN. that keeps it sonically cohesive and fuses a variety of disparate styles and genres into a fluid album. 


The album, unlike Kendrick's previous work is not as concrete in its message, it asks the listener to reflect upon themselves and to draw their own conclusions, it is not simply stating right or wrong or detailing the injustices of the world it asks the lister instead to question their own injustices and morals, their vices and desires.

DAMN. focuses upon our development, our actions and our convictions. Kendrick teaches us to reflect upon the consequence of our actions, to act and treat people the way we wish to be treated. In these uncertain times, Lamar makes the case to act morally, love thy neighbor, regardless of the circumstances or personal burden.

Duet it right

When we heard that Linkin park, Stormzy and Pusha T had collaborated on a track called Good Goodbye there were a lot of puzzled faces in the office. It then prompted a small argument over whether or not we should listen to it... We did and we must admit we weren't fans, the mega mix of genres and artists just didn't sit well (sorry guys). However, we love a duet in the office, whether it's during our Christmas Karaoke session or someone's birthday. That being said we got to talking about some of our own personal duet favourites past and present.

Trish's Choice : Alicia Keys and Jay Z, Empire State of Mind (2009)

This one absolutely smashed it. Everyone was singing it constantly for months. The cultural significance lead to it becoming the anthem for the City.  The song was written as a tribute to where both artists grew up, and became Jay-Z's first number-one single on the charts as a lead artist.

Hannah's choice: Tom Jones and Stereophonics, Mama told me not to come (1999)

'It's a tune.' This song is a timeless singalong classic, played at any karaoke party, marrying Tom's smooth vocals with the rocky Stereophonics sound. They surprisingly complement each other and it reached number four on the U.K. Singles Chart in 2000.

David Bartley's choice: Stevie Nicks & Tom Petty, Stop dragging my heart Around  (1981)

Petty wrote this song for his band, dubbed 'heartland rock,' and once Nicks jumped on it and it was released in 1981, it peaked at No. 3 on the American Billboard Hot 100 for six consecutive weeks. The melody is described as 'dark and sinister,' but we think it's beautiful and reminiscent of simpler times.

Nat's Pick:  Snoop Dog and Pharrell, Beautiful (2002)


If you were born in the 80's or 90's, this song should take you back to being in love with Pharrell as a 12 year old girl.  Anything Pharrell touches seems to become a summer hit (even if released during winter) and this song belongs on any old school Hip Hop playlist. Snoop adds his signature smooth and soft vocal delivery, and their work means that 15 years on it's still a tune.

Dan's choice: Bing Crosby & Frank Sinatra, Well, Did You Evah (1939)

They are two of the most well known musical figures of the 20th century, and when starring together they can't be beaten. Sinatra took inspiration to start out on his singing career from Crosby’s success, which we think is pretty amazing, and this song solidifies their spot as legendary musicians. 

Cicely's choice: Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney, Say Say Say (1983) 


Two of the world's biggest pop stars came together in 1983 to write 'Say Say Say,' and the song consequently became Jackson's seventh top-ten hit inside a year. It was number one in America, Canada, Norway, Sweden among others and the video shows the two icons in California acting as con artists. It was credited for 'the introduction of dialogue and storyline to music videos.'

Daisy's pick: Drake ft. Rihanna, Too Good (2016)

'Too Good' is one of many of Rihanna and Drake's collabs, and features a sample from Popcaan's dancehall 'Love Yuh Bad.' It has a similar Caribbean-inspired polyrhythm that Rihanna's 'Work' held, and they smashed it as usual. 

If you enjoyed a sample of this then check out our Spotify playlist especially for more of our favourite duets past and presents,

This list could go on and on. I wonder what will be the biggest collaboration of 2017? Any thoughts?

5 Gigs you should see this week including Bruno Mars, Giggs and Ben Pearce: 17th- 24th April

We hope you had an eggcellent bank holiday and looking forward to another week of live music, from chart toppers to brilliant live artists, so check out our choice of gigs to go to this week.

Bruno Mars, 18th April @ 02 Arena

Bruno, the King of 'blinged up funk' is back with his 24K Magic album and consequent international tour. After the success of 'That's What I Like,' and '24K Magic' this year, the show is bound to be full of energy, a chance for 'indulgent escapism.' Not to mention that he's brought along Anderson. Paak as his support act. You've probably been persuaded.  

Tickets here.

Charli XCX, 20th April @ The Jazz Cafe

Charli dropped a mixtape last month, 'Number 1 Angel,' which features MØ, Uffie and Raye. Along with her previous songs, 'After the Afterparty,' 'Boom Clap,' and her feature on Iggy Azalea's 'Fancy,' she has a roster of hits under her belt, showcasing the best of 'moody yet catchy pop.' 

Tickets here.

Giggs, 21st April @ Eventim Apollo Hammersmith

Giggs has been releasing acclaimed rap for almost ten years now, and is still going strong with his 2016 album, Landlord. He was also just featured twice on Drake's playlist, More Life, so is no doubt in high demand. 

Tickets here.

Ben Pearce, 22nd April @ The Nest, London

Ben Pearce burst onto the house scene a couple of years ago with 'What I Might Do' and along with his just released 2017 EP, Ascension, he has the power to make your Saturday night a pretty great one. 

Tickets here. 

Isaiah Rashad, 23rd April @ Koko London

American hip hop recording artist, singer, and record producer Isaiah creates honest music, and his "anxieties bleed through the rap revelry in verse." He has collaborated with Kendrick Lamar, SZA, and ScHoolboy Q to name a few, and tickets are still available to see him at Koko

Click here for tickets.

The Sonic Branding Engine

Today's extract of Sonic Branding: An Introduction turns its attention to establishing a model of how to create great sonic branding.

Chapter 16 - This is how we do it

What we will seek to do in the chapters ahead is to generate a model that can be referenced by anyone who wants to make full use of sound as a brand communicator. We call this the sonic branding engine and it is the heart of our strategic approach. Even more important in sonic branding terms than the sheer creativity of musical or effects composition, it represents the essence of the sonic branding approach.'


Daniel M Jackson, CEO - CORD

Coachella 2017 is coming...

The sun has started to shine, and celebrities have started to post snapchats of their Coachella outfit choices, which means the festival is nearly here. Spread over this weekend, April 14th-16th and April 21st- 23rd, the line up and set times have been announced and people are getting excited. They’ve already faced some backlash in the claim that “no one would understand” Kate Bush, and yet it still entices more and more people every year.

Coachella attracts A-listers and Hollywood royalty, a wealth of frayed shorts and crochet wearing girls, but the main temptation is the music. The line up this year is varied beyond belief, including, of course, the unsurprising summer pop artists like Banks, Bonobo, Dillon Francis, Galantis, Gryffin, Kaytranada and Kungs.


There’s a varied rap roster too, ranging from born and bred Brits Stormzy and Skepta, to Tory Lanez, Mac Miller, Lil Uzi Vert, Gucci Mane, Future and DJ Khaled. Beyoncé was supposedly headlining, but the hindrance of her growing twins meant she dropped out, and now Lady Gaga heads the bill. They have acts for the classic music lovers: Radiohead, Hans Zimmer and Lee Reynolds, classical composer. The attraction of Coachella lies in its many different genres; rock, indie, hip hop, EDM, and the festival was originally pitched to artists and talent managers at Glastonbury, the allure of the sunshine in California seeming more appealing than the mud in Somerset. 

This year, music sales have been boosted to a five year high, thanks to Spotify and Apple Music, and consequently streaming is set to take over vinyl and CD as the biggest generator of revenue. 87% of £273 million of income is coming from streaming services, which proves the significance of the new generation of music. Coachella brings many of this new music together in one sun-filled, ethereal experience, and we're sure it'll be a musical event to remember.

Our 5 top gigs for Easter Week / Weekend

We are looking forward to the 4 day weekend coming up, and if the weather is like it was this weekend we will be looking forward to 2 extra days to check out live music for the week.

Frances, 11th April @ O2 Shepherds Bush Empire








Frances is an English singer-songwriter from Berkshire. After being shortlisted for the 2016 BRIT Critics’ Choice Award and nominated for BBC Sound of 2016, she specialises in “husky, confessional vocals and rolling piano figures that are easily comparable to Carole King.”

Click here for tickets.

Yungen, 12th April @ Koko


Yungen started out on the underground circuit in early 2011 and dropped a video on SB.TV which gained him a large fanbase after quickly reaching a million views. He now collaborates with the biggest UK rap artists of today, Stomrzy, Krept and Konan and Wretch 32, and is touring up and down the country as well as promoting his new single ft. Sneakbo.

Grab your tickets here.

Dua Lipa, 13th April @ O2 Shepherds Bush Empire










21 year old Dua has enjoyed chart success with hits like ‘Hotter Than Hell,’ ‘Be the One,’ ‘Blow Your Mind (Mwah) and she most recently featured on Sean Paul’s ‘No Lie’ and Martin Garrix’s ‘Scared To Be Lonely.’ She describes her style as ‘dark pop'.

Click here for tickets.


Dimitri From Paris, 15th April @ XOYO










Dimitri From Paris... a pioneering producer at the forefront of house music and dance culture. He is responsible for the first radio show dedicated to house music in France, and can boast a production career as prolific as any.

Click here for tickets.


Anderson Paak & The Free Nationals, 16th April @ Forum Kentish Town


Anderson Paak started off as a drummer, and after working with Kaytranada on ‘Glowed Up,’ he has enjoyed success with his hip-hop meets urban solo albums Malibu and Venice and was also nominated for a Grammy this year. Now he joins his four member band ‘The Free Nationals’ at the Forum in Kentish Town.

Click here for tickets

Sonic Branding - from belief to brand

This week's extract from Sonic Branding: An Introduction, describes how, over 30 years ago, Howard Schulz (founder of Starbucks as we know it) used positive emotional investment to draw stakeholders and build momentum for his European-style coffee-shop chain in the United States idea.

Chapter 11 - Turning beliefs into brands

As already stated, belief is a strange concept that is not easily described but I like to think of belief as being an ‘investment of emotions’ and where the emotional investment is considered to have a beneficial end state, as with brands, then it can be said to be ‘positive’. Treating belief as an investment allows us to see how important belief is to a brand. We know that without investment, all entities fail.

Positive emotional investment (PEI), a catch-all term for such concepts as love, caring and nurturing, is what leads people into making all the other investments that brands require: time, capital or purchase. Quite simply, the more people that invest, the stronger a brand becomes. That PEI is actually at the top of the investment hierarchy, far beyond the kind of financial investments usually talked about, and can be demonstrated through a simple case study of how a belief is at the origin of a brand.

All brands start with a person or small group of people who share a belief. For example, Starbucks was apparently founded on the belief that European-style coffee shops were cool places to hang out. Let us put this 'belief’ in a little box so we can examine it. It gives us a starting point for a neat chart that we can use to define the essence of a brand and the process of branding.

Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks as we know it, then made a PEI and started telling people how good these places were. More than that he invested his time into coming up with an idea. His idea was to open a European-style coffee shop in the United States.

At this point, the idea became more important than the initial belief. With an idea, Schultz now had an even better vessel for his PEI. He told other people his idea and because of his enthusiasm, they agreed with him.

The more people he told, the more he was told in return that his was a good idea. In this way, he encouraged other people to make a PEI into his idea. Each person that was convinced became a stakeholder in the brand.

The stakeholder is a key component of a modern brand definition. Stakeholders are all the people who believe in a brand, from the founder’s mother to the customer in a remote country. It is the broadest definition of a brand’s constituency and acknowledges that family, staff, the financial world, the media and every customer are important to the brand.

As the number of stakeholders grew from one, Howard Schultz, to many, the ‘I’ of idea became a ‘we’. A momentum built and has been building ever since on a big wave of PEI. This is shown in particular and abstract in Figures 11.4 and 11.5 (shown below).


This is a simple model but it is not yet a brand because it is still only an idea, albeit a popular one. Ideas exist on an ethereal plain and it would be very hard for even a talented businessman like Howard Schultz to generate wealth, financial or emotional, simply from an idea. It is always worth remembering that ideas are not own-able in law. It is impossible to copyright an idea. In order to turn an idea into a brand, we need to consider the challenge of making something tangible, something real-worldly, so that many more people can believe in it.

Daniel M Jackson, CEO - CORD

Sonic Branding: An Introduction : The building blocks of Sonic Branding

Around the same time as Daniel's writing of Sonic Branding: An Introduction, Robbie Laughton, executive creative director of Wolff Olins asserted that ‘the essence of any brand is a belief'. This week's extract from the book continues to explore the definition of a brand.

Chapter 10 - The essence of brand is belief

'Trust is a belief in reliability'. What McDonald’s did better than anyone else was to create belief among their customers that they were getting decent food at a good price and that the chain would always deliver the same portions in the same wrappers in the same type of environment. McDonald’s promised all of this and when customers walked through the doors, this is exactly what they got.

McDonald’s kept their promises and in doing so they became trusted as you or I would if we were to commit to something and then deliver. They were also very friendly. The brand spokesman was a clown, very unfunny but a familiar archetype that resonates all over the world as being friendly and unthreatening. The staff was trained, at least in the US, to be friendly too; politeness and courtesy were a part of the service. More than that, McDonald’s had a strategy for hosting children’s parties and generally looked after kids through happy meals, balloons and hats.

McDonald’s brand was based upon a belief that the brothers had in their way of doing things. Their ideas were strong and their execution was consistent. They made promises and kept them and customers grew to believe in the brand as a trusted friend. If it were not for allegations of sharp practice and environmental harm, the brand would still be everyone’s favourite, but more of that later.

The word belief came up time and again while researching this book. It certainly seems to be the case that today’s brand experts put belief right at the heart of a brand. In September 2002, we asked Tania Mason, editor of the Branding section of Marketing magazine to give us her definition of a brand: she described it as a ‘promise of standards’. This is very much in keeping with the McDonald’s brand story and it is pretty easy to understand.

Tim Greenhill, Managing Director of Greenhill McCarron also asserts that brands are based upon beliefs, which must be commonly held by the staff and customers of an organization. Does this mean that logos and trademarks have no relevance to a definition of a brand post-McDonald’s? Greenhill would argue that the traditional model of name and trademark are just as important as ever but today, not everyone is certain that brands, if they have belief, need logos.

The Times, in October 2002, ran a front page splash entitled ‘Death of the Logo’. The article was certainly not heralding the death of brands. The reference was to the current movement by fashion houses to completely rethink the logo and trademark. Gucci and Prada are at the top end in the world of fashion. They set the tone for everyone else and the trend they are currently setting, in a world post 11 September and the ‘Battle of Seattle’, has been to downsize or even in some cases completely remove the logos from their goods. In doing so, they are reflecting the times and may be defining how society will view logos for years to come.

This is not just another trend. It represents a growing feeling among those who work with brands that logos and symbols, which had come to be seen as a promise of standards, no longer mean as much as they once did, particularly in a world of counterfeiting. If the Gucci logo was a promise of standards but more Gucci bags on the street are counterfeit than real. then the promise is broken because part of the promise is exclusivity and self-expression. If anyone can have a Gucci fake, which can be of merchantable quality, then the Gucci logo is a broken promise.

The label has found a way to make a promise and keep it. It now relies more heavily on great design of unique features. Outside of Gucci, Christian Louboutin, the shoe designer, has taken to making his shoes with red soles. No doubt when he is copied, he will need to find a new way to differentiate his designs but for now he has found a way to make a singular promise.

Prada has created a unique retail space in New York. It is unlike any other store and provides the kind of experience that high—end fashion shoppers demand. The investment and effort it has made make the shopping experience impossible to copy and this allows many of the Prada goods sold to carry little or no evidence of a logo or trademark.

Reports of the death of logos are premature but it is clear that brands are no longer reliant upon them. Brands can now keep their promises through smart design and by providing a unique experience. This is a growing trend. Gucci and Prada confirm that brands are promises and a part of the promise is that they are exclusive or distinct. If counterfeiters can copy a logo then the brand promise is broken. Counterfeiters have done something good, however, in showing brands that simply slapping a logo on any old product is no longer good enough. The product or experience itself must promise something, not just the name.

Tim Greenhill makes the point that the primary purpose of brands is to be distinct: ‘Brands are just about the only way that companies can differentiate their goods and services. Manufacturing and technology are so good these days that pretty much anything can be copied almost as soon as it is launched.'

Where Mason and Greenhill’s definitions converge is in their contention that brands are primarily emotional entities — promises and beliefs. This is a far cry from the AMA or Interbrand who contended in the past that brands were trademarks or products but is entirely in keeping with the latest actions of high fashion. Robbie Laughton, executive creative director of Wolff Olins at the time of writing, asserts, as does this book that ‘the essence of any brand is a belief ’.“ It would be possible to leave our definition there but it is useful if we expand upon this and examine what in particular makes a belief into a brand.

Daniel M Jackson - CEO, CORD

What does Solange, Biffy Clyro, Toots and Maytals all have in common?...

They are all playing at this years Glastonbury! The wait is finely over.  The first official line-up was released this morning via twitter with 88 acts confirmed and It has people talking.  We can all agree that the line-up seems to be the strongest it has been for years with a variation of artist from genres that caters to Glastonbury's diverse audience.  So far we have Ed Sheeran, Radiohead, The XX and Foo fighters as headliners and a Glastonbury debut from Katy Perry. 

June 21-25th will mark 46th year of Glastonbury festival, which is still regarded as a major event in British culture. The line up has a strong list of Brits from all genes waving the flag. With Stormzy, The XX, George Ezra and Sampha along with some exciting upcoming artist like Rag n Bone man, Nadia Rose and our office favourite Loyle Carner.

And the artist from across the pond is even more exciting with Solange, Lemon Twigs, Aanderson .Paak and the Free Nationals and Run the Jewels being a few.  And of Course Katy Perry, who is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.


 The event is due one of its regular fallow years in 2018, however there have been whispers that this might be the end of Glastonbury Worthy Farm. Both Emily and Micheal Eavis have hinted that a new event called Variety Bazaar will take place on a different site.

We could waffle on about the line up but we know there's loads more to come and it will only get better.  For those who have already put their deposit down don’t forget that you can pay the full amount of £188from April 1st -7th.  For those who haven’t got a ticket yet, there is still hope!  There will be a release of tickets in April(TBC) so keep your eyes pealed.

Lets hope for sunshine and more exciting artist announcements!

11. Sonic Branding: An Introduction

In this week's extract of Sonic Branding: An Introduction, Daniel Jackson traces back to 1937, to the origins and launch of the McDonald's brand.


One brand, more than any other has shown us that trademarks and brands are different. This brand set the agenda for how we perceive brands today but it took 40 or more years for the lessons to filter through and even now, the branding industry is dominated by businesses that sell graphic design and trademarks ... but not for much longer. The brand that helped the world see that a name, design and trademark were just elements of a brand and not the essence of a brand was growing slowly and quietly at the same time and in the same place as Landor Associates. During the 1940s and 1950s, largely unknown to the marketing fraternity, a new, great brand was being born in the sunshine state of California. It too rode the economic boom of the post—war years but it and a few contemporaries were to set a new agenda for creating and defining brands. .

McDonald’s was founded by Richard and Maurice McDonald (no Ronald?) in 1937. Originally, they had escaped the Depression and the east, looking for gold in the movie business. Their talents as set builders allowed them to save the money needed to build a cinema but when that failed they turned their hands to making ‘McDonald’s Famous Burgers ‘. They opened a drive—in restaurant, the kind you might be familiar with from watching Happy Days or the opening titles to the classic Flintstones cartoons.

Kids in southern California loved to hang out at drive-ins. Here they were served cheap food late into the night by ‘car hops , usually pretty girls in short skirts. The McDonald Brothers’ Burger Bar Drive—In was the right business in the right place at the right time. California was flooded with investment from the federal government of the US, had the kind of year-round climate that was ideally suited to ‘hanging out’ and had an abundance of kids with cars and cash.

The McDonald brothers’ success was considerable but nevertheless, they became disillusioned with the drive—in restaurant they had founded. There seemed to be too much bother serving customers in their cars, too much hassle finding short—order cooks and too many broken glasses to be replaced every night. So, they changed the way they did business. Though what they did owes much to the factory assembly line, I believe that their background in entertainment had an effect on the way they did it.

In short, they invented McDonald’s as we know it, They pared the menu down to foods eaten without a knife and fork; they brought in the division of labour in preparation (one person for the burgers, one for the fires and so on); and they served everything in paper rather than on a plate or in a glass. They also decided to stop employing car hops, much to the disappointment no doubt, of every red-blooded teenage boy.

The next thing they did was also genius but incredibly simple. They decided they needed a new building for the restaurant. This one had to be visible from far away, so Richard McDonald designed it to have two neon-lit arches on its roof that looked like an M when viewed from a distance. With no training as a designer or architect, the Hollywood set—building brothers created an enduring theatre of hamburgers and possibly the most loved and reviled logo in the world.

That was not all, however, because they then introduced the Speedee Service System — a way for the staff to behave that described exactly what was expected of them. This became the value set for the whole company. They recruited staff to support their vision. They wanted a family clientele and experience told them that employing young female staff would mainly attract young men so rather than become a teen hangout, they only employed young men. In their total innovation of the restaurant concept, McDonald’s effectively laid a blueprint for brands for the next half—century. They had a good name, they developed a great logo, serendipitously, some ten years after they set up, they recruited to support their ideas and they trained their staff to believe in the Speedee Service values.

These principles were copied, very quickly, by a huge number of competitors all over the US. The ideas and inspiration that took the brothers a lifetime to develop were copied by other people all over the nation but the McDonald brothers were not one—trick ponies. What continued to place McDonald’s at the forefront of their industry was their belief in delivering a consistent product and service. They achieved this by implementing a rigorous regime, specifying the nature and method behind every burger, bun and soft drink. Everything about the restaurants was metred precisely, ensuring that the customer always got what the menu promised. More to the point, every customer got exactly what they expected and that was the key to building trust.

The food was not all that was specified. The architecture style that was introduced in the first restaurant was used as a pattern for subsequent restaurants and the lucky logo became a beacon to low—income families all over the country that had not been catered for previously by restaurants.

The interiors, too, were specified according to the brothers’ exacting standards, but there was usually some design cue reserved for the location of the restaurant. If you think that the idea of global/local is new then just look at the range of McDonald’s restaurant interiors world-wide. McDonald’s had consistent food, architecture and staff. They all supported the value set of Speedee Service. Furthermore, McDonald’s had its own in—store music programme. It had uniform lighting, heating, flooring and just about everything else. As a result of its vast success throughout the late twentieth century, it has become a model for how brands behave today. In fact, the McDonald’s model is the one adhered to by most of today’s branding experts.

McDonald’s was the first company to view the entire brand experience. Brand experience has become a buzz around the industry in the last two years. It refers to a brand philosophy prescribing that every time a customer comes into contact with a brand, no matter what the channel, the experience should be consistent with the central belief of the brand. Consistency increases the probability of reaching target customers effectively.

It took the industry a long time to catch on to this view; in the meantime McDonald’s has come to dominate the world of fast food. The secrets are now visible, however, exposed in Fast Food Nation, by E. Schlosser. Perhaps the most interesting revelation in that best—seller is a point that is easy to miss. In a quote from a McDonald’s communications strategy meeting the following objective was identified. McDonald’s wanted to ‘make the customers believe that McDonald’s [was] their “Trusted Friend” ’.

Daniel Jackson, CEO - CORD


5 Gigs You Should See This Week 27th march-2nd april



Head down to Heaven in London's Charing Cross to catch the amazing Thundercat.  The bassist, vocalist and song-writer will no doubt treat crowds to soulful songs from his new album Drunk.

Click here to buy tickets.


SAMPHA, 29th march @roundhouse 

Give your ears a treat this Wednesday at the first of Sampha's  two Roundhouse gigs.  Hailed as 'one of the UK's most enigmatic artists', you'll be sure to come away from this one in high spirits.

Click here to buy tickets.



Sometimes secret gigs can be daunting.  This one, however, is run by the the wonderful Sofar Sounds, who always manage to create unique, intimate experiences, no matter who is playing. Plus it's BYOB!

Click to buy tickets.


sub focus, black sun empire, special request, d bridge and more, 31st march @fabric

feel my bicep.jpg

Lose yourself to these drum n bass sounds at the newly re-opened Fabric.

Click to buy tickets.


run the jewels, 1st april @roundhouse

run the jewels.jpg

If you fancy another trip to the Roundhouse and you love a rap duo, then you're in luck!  Run The Jewels are currently on their European tour and will be playing on Saturday night.  Make sure you listen out for songs from their third album, the sensibly named Run The Jewels 3.

Click here to buy tickets.