‘Hear This’: Q&A with Kevin Perlmutter, Man Made Music’s EVP, Chief of Innovation
Now more than ever brands are realizing the importance of using music and sound to strategically engage with their audience. Those who have caught on recognize that people are affected by sound all day long, and that it can either be used effectively to improve brand experiences…or it can ruin experiences if ignored. Man Made Music is a strategic music and sound studio that scores brand and entertainment experiences for some of the world’s most recognizable brands. It has created iconic sonic identities heard countless times each day for brands like AT&T, IMAX, Allstate, HBO, The CBS Evening News, ESPN 30 for 30 and The Super Bowl, to name a few.
brandchannel recently spoke with Kevin Perlmutter, Man Made Music’s newly appointed EVP Chief of Innovation, to hear more about his take on innovation in sonic branding.
brandchannel: Your role recently evolved from SVP Chief Strategist to EVP Chief of Innovation. What’s changed?
Kevin Perlmutter: I’ve got to say, I have the best job ever. My first innovation project began over two years ago when I was in talks to join Man Made Music from Interbrand. It was to write my own job description. So, naturally, I included all of the things I love to do—to help Man Made Music do things we’ve never done before. And that carries forward into my current role. I spend most of my time uncovering new ways that sound can improve experiences, and how brands can better connect and engage with audiences. I then imbed expanded approaches, capabilities, research and technology into the business. This evolved role is a more focused one, so we can help clients tap into the power of sound in new ways on an even larger scale.
brandchannel: Brands have been using music and sound for years. Why does a music studio need a Chief of Innovation?
Perlmutter: Unlike other areas of marketing or branding, sound is less understood in terms of its impact, which is a big missed opportunity for many CMOs who are under pressure to meet a slew of performance metrics over a dizzying array of marketing efforts. When used appropriately, music and sound can improve brand attribution, convey meaning, extend engagement and increase positive emotions, which is proven to be the biggest driver of loyalty in customer experience. My role is in part to help bring metrics of effectiveness to light, and also to uncover ways that music and sound can be used in current and emerging brand experiences, especially those that are live, digital or virtual.
brandchannel: What are some examples of innovations that you have launched at Man Made Music?
Perlmutter: I’ve been fortunate to not only have a mandate, but also the willingness of Man Made Music’s founder and lead composer, Joel Beckman, to invest in innovation. It’s enabled me to create and launch SonicPulse Research, which is our proprietary approach to assessing the impact and effectiveness of music and sound. I’ve also worked with our team to develop technology solutions for activating soundscapes that can be easily controlled to guide moods and behaviors in live environments. In addition, I’ve been fortunate to partner with EccoVR, a technology leader, to bring positional audio into virtual reality experiences well before the capability was out of beta mode, enabling us to consistently use the most advanced technology for true 3D Audio.
brandchannel: The word innovation is thrown around a lot these days. How will you live up to the role of driving innovation at Man Made Music?
Perlmutter: In my spare time I build furniture and have been doing so since I was a teenager. Early on I decided that I would buy a new tool and learn a new skill on every project. Now, I have an awesome shop full of tools and lots of woodworking skills. I’ve brought this way of thinking to Man Made Music. Ultimately, it’s about everyone feeling part of and contributing to an innovation culture. It’s about not getting too comfortable with what we’ve accomplished, and always looking to improve. It’s also about understanding the emerging ways audiences and brands interact, and uncovering how these interactions can be improved through the strategic use of sound. Lastly, it’s about prioritizing our efforts around initiatives where we can have the greatest impact.
brandchannel: What drives you and keeps you inspired?
Perlmutter: From the very beginning, Joel promised me that I would always have fun and never be bored, and so far, he’s been absolutely right. It’s the incredibly talented people I’m surrounded by every day at Man Made Music that keep me inspired. While they may say I’m good at envisioning what’s possible, mapping out the possibilities and mobilizing a team to take us to the future – it’s this awesome group of people who are more specialized and musically inclined than I am who bring it all to life. We all are also privileged to work in cutting-edge new studios that were recently built by us with experimentation and prototyping in mind.
One of my favorite quotes is from Maslow: “In any given moment we have two options—to step forward into growth or to step back into safety.” I choose growth every time.
Kevin Perlmutter is EVP, Chief of Innovation at Man Made Music, a strategic music and sound studio that scores entertainment and brand experience. He leads the expansion of services to deepen our ongoing commitment to creating business, brand and cultural impact. You can comment, follow him or start a conversation on Twitter @KevinPerlmutter, and LinkedIn.