Marguerite Rubens is the Global Communications Director at creative music agency MassiveMusic. Econsultancy caught up with her to find out how MassiveMusic has been adapting in the coronavirus pandemic, how the music industry as a whole is moving online, and what long-term planning and strategy now looks like at the company.
Please describe your job: What do you do?
I lead the global marketing communications department at MassiveMusic, one of the leading creative music agencies in the world that helps brands find their voice and tell their story through music. We have offices in Amsterdam, Berlin, London, New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo.
Together with a great team, we take care of all marketing & communications for the MassiveMusic brand globally, which varies from PR, digital, website, social media, events to partnerships, awards, speaking opportunities, merchandising, activations and much more.
How has your typical day been impacted in the short term by the pandemic?
Quite a lot! I am normally based in the Amsterdam office, but now my living room is my home office, with two teenagers around every now and then. Being in a role that has so much face-to-face contact, the lockdown has really meant that I’ve had to make many adjustments to my day-to-day. We have more calls with the team to stay in touch and align on activities.
Like many, I’m heavily relying on Zoom, Hangouts and Team meetings to ensure I get the facetime with not just my immediate team and colleagues, but also our marketing partners and of course all our press friends. I am impressed by my musical colleagues, such as the producers whose role has changed dramatically as well, producing music from a distance.
What are your favourite tools and techniques to help you get your work done at the moment?
I try to start and end each day with some exercise, walking or cycling as if I am commuting to work. Good communication with my kids is also extremely important to ensure we all have our space when needed (and they are not preparing pancakes while I am in a meeting, which happened on my first day working from home…).
I also love my noise-canceling headphones. Plus, music is another one of those things that keeps me going. Each day starts and ends with a team huddle and we’d just started using Slack – perfect timing I’d say. WhatsApp and my phone are always on.
Which companies have impressed you since the outbreak?
It’s amazing to see how many companies, agencies, brands and local entrepreneurs have come up with new digital, innovative and creative solutions so quickly. From the beautician around the corner selling a DIY facial kit, the home work-outs of my local gym, to brands quickly adapting to the new online-only environment.
On a greater scale, some great examples I love include WeTransfer, which has started using its global platform to showcase new artists to directly benefit creatives affected by the pandemic. Maison LVMH also started repurposing factories of the Dior, Guerlain, and Givenchy brands to produce large amounts of hand sanitizers that have been distributed to hospitals in France. As well, The Accor Group opened up thousands of hotel rooms to care/hospital workers who were displaced due to the virus, and to the homeless who would otherwise get sick on the street.
What changes are you making to help your brand connect with how people are feeling and experiencing the pandemic?
At MassiveMusic, we innately understand the power of music to elicit emotions and connect audiences. So our support for our employees, our clients, and our audiences during this crisis is just an extension of what we have tried to do everyday since our inception.
Our Music x Mind initiative, which seeks to understand and use the power of sound to harness emotional wellbeing, has been a great success since it was launched in 2018. But for this particular crisis, we wanted to focus on the healing power of music, so we tried our best to provide a list of music resources to boost morale, relieve anxiety and help people cope with the challenging times we’re living in.
This has included music documentaries, book recommendations, and a music colouring book that you can download for free from our website. After all, colouring does wonders for the mind, just like music.
What trends have you seen in the last few weeks in your sector?
It’s all about digital, digital, digital. Virtual festivals, loads of online concerts and streaming platforms for artists. A fellow MassiveMusic employee is now doing an online mini-MBA and others are taking music masterclasses, honing their production and musical skills. We have also initiated our very own Sonic Zoom Panel with some high profile guests, such as Rachel Swift, Brand & Creative Director of O2.
I’m a big fan of online festivals and conferences, panels. With the ease and accessibility for everyone to tune in whenever, however, and wherever they are, conferences have the opportunity to move away from their current (often expensive) format.
What advice would you give a marketer right now?
Do something good for the world through your brand, not to show off but because you genuinely believe in it. Stay calm and close to your brand, do what you do best, stand out, be brave, don’t go silent (invest in your brand!), put some courage in your marketing and don’t blend in.
Dare to be different (this video supercut is a good example of what a marketer should NOT do) and find innovative ways to communicate.
What does long term planning and strategy look like now at your brand?
As most people in marketing will understand, our ambitious 2020 plans have had to shift quite dramatically.
While we kicked off the year enthusiastically with a freshly baked marcom strategy, some new press launches (such as The Sound of O2), preparations for MassiveMusic 20th anniversary and our famous Cannes party, we’ve had to instead act quickly and shift our strategy for the year. So my main priority since the lockdown has been to repurpose our marcom strategy to deal with this world of isolation we now find ourselves in and trying to adapt to the ‘new normal’; whatever that may be!
The longer term in the marketplace is uncertain at the moment so we are making sure we have a much more agile plan in place now so we can quickly adapt to the emerging landscape conditions.