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Sonic Branding Agency Unmute

Interview with Creativepool

Unmute co-founder Simon Kringel recently sat down with Creativepool and talked about life as a sonic branding agency and our journey so far.

Here's the interview in its entirety.

Use audio branding to create awareness

3 x Unmute partners, from left: Simon Kringel, Anders Poulsen & Daniel Schougaard

How was your company born and where are you based?

Me and my partner Daniel Schougaard was working in a company called Chimney (now Edisen) where we ran their Danish office and their music department. I guess we always knew that at some point we should break out and start our own which we did in 2018 and formed Unmute right after. We’re based in downtown Copenhagen in a wonderful location where we have our office and all our studios.

What was the biggest challenge to the growth of your company?

Being a sonic branding agency I think the biggest challenge in general is to educate people about the importance of sound and its untapped potential for many brands and product.

So creating awareness of both the actual product/service and of us as the experts in providing it. On the other hand we see it as an advantage because we always bring something new to the table and can address a subject that not so many in the creative industry are talking about.

Which was the first huge success that you can remember?

That’s always difficult to point out but I must go with our collaboration with DR (the Danish BBC). That was the first time we as an agency felt that we could actually make adifference and offer something new and unique. The sonic identity we created for DR has now grown to become one of our most significant and well-known projects so far.

What’s the biggest opportunity for you and your company in the next year?

I think we’ve found our way of working now and have managed to position ourselves as a preferred partner. And we still see a huge potential in the sonic branding space so it’s basically up to ourselves now to be able to meet the growing demand we’re experiencing.

The need for an agency that can help both brands and other agencies navigate in the audio space is still the main reason why we exist. On top of that we’re also expanding to new markets and territories which we hope to do even more in the coming years.

Can you explain your team’s creative process? What makes it unique?

We’ve always seen ourselves as a design agency and work out of the same principles and processes as in visual design. The only difference is that we design sonic brands. Therefore our most important role is to translate whatever visual language or brand strategy there is into sound and sonic experiences.

Most sound companies are only focused on production but at least 50% of our revenue comes from our work as strategists, advisors and consultants. I think having that blend is what makes us unique. We’ve already incorporated AI in our creative process and I think a constant focus on innovation and new tech is also something that characterizes us as an agency.

How does your team remain inspired and motivated?

Primarily our motivation and inspiration come from working with bold clients on interesting projects. But of course as a creative person you always need inspiration from the outside. Luckily sound and music can be experienced everywhere so we all find inspiration in movies, theaters, arts or even just by going for a walk in the local park.

How has COVID-19 affected your company?

Unlike many we actually experienced growth during the pandemic. The fact that everything turned online resulted in a over all growing interest in sonic branding. Now people were locked to their computers or phones with their headphones on so suddenly brands were forced to think about how they sound and to create some meaningful sonic experiences in the digital space. That definitely sparked an interest in what we do.

Which agencies do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?

Being part of a rather small and pioneering industry like ours we gain a lot of inspiration from the sonic branding community and like-minded souls. We have a lot of respect for anybody fighting the same cause as us and especially those who now bring research, science and psychology to the mix. That opens up for a whole new type of conversation about the effect sound and music can have on us humans.

What is one tip that you would give to other agencies looking to grow?

Always be driven by passion and not profit. If your hearts in it (and you’re persistent enough) all the rest will follow.

How do you go about finding new clients/business? (Pitching, work with retainers, etc.)

It’s a mix of so many different things. Outreach, inbound, network, referrals etc. The truth is that there is no unique formular for this except the fact that you need to be opportunistic, curious and “hungry” to begin with. I’m sure most agency owners would give the same type of answer to that question.

What’s your one big hope for the future of the industry?

It’s basically that sonic assets will be an integral part of all brand guidelines in the future. It’s already going in that direction and I hope the next generation of creatives and marketeers will be even more conscious of sound and music in their work.

Do you have any websites, books or resources that you would recommend?

I recently re-discovered the Louisiana Channel which is a website hosted by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Arts here in Denmark. An absolute goldmine of curated and inspiring content for anyone with an interest in art, music, literature, architecture and design. Definitely worth a visit:


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