Sonos: nailing a consumer insight

The poster below from Sonos really grabbed my attention when I was waiting for a tube train this week. Nothing too fancy. Not a higher order, lifestyle-driven piece of communication. And unlikely to win a prize at Cannes. But bloody effective in my book. So effective that I have finally caught up with most of mates and installed a Sonos system chez Taylor. We are now streaming music from our iPhones, selecting the room we want the music to play in.

And we’re not the only ones. Sonos had its best year to date in 2015, hitting nearly $1 billion in sales, according to this report.


1. Nailing the insight 

Talk about hitting an insight bang on the head: your music enjoyment is being held back by a shitty speaker system. This rings so true that I bet Sonos found it by getting out of the office and spending time hanging out with non-Sonos users in-situ. The image above-left of an iPhone poorly fixed with an Apple adapter to a speaker is exactly what was in my kitchen until yesterday; and I’m sure I’m not the only one to have suffered from the problem!

2. Nice brand idea

Sonos have built on the insight into the problems suffered by non-users with the simple but effective brand idea: Listen Better. The poster then contrasts the Sonos Home Sound system experience with what many people are currently putting up with, and challenges the viewer by stating: “You’re better than this”. What I also like is how this is 100% focused on driving penetration, which is the key to brand growth. It also works by reassuring existing Sonos users that they know how to “Listen Better”.

3. Add some sizzle 

Yes, the communication is simple and very focused on the product “sausage”. But is has a touch of humour with the statements used to describe the shitty speaker systems on the left and right in the poster above. For example, “Listening Fail #28 ‘Barely Hanging On’ “.

Sonos could do more with this in my book, by encouraging people to use #listeningfail and #listenbetter to share their own Sonos experience. At the moment, Sonos doesn’t come up in many of the Twitter searches using #listeningfail.

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4. Brilliant product “sausage”

Best of all is the experience of setting up and using Sonos. Boy oh boy, this is one helluva product. The Sonos app is a thing of beauty, taking you through a super-simple set of stages to set the system up. There was zero “friction” when I did this, such a pleasant surprise in a world where so many brands over-promise and under-deliver. It. Just. Worked.

In conclusion, Sonos is a great example of a brand that has nailed a powerful insight, created a big brand idea to build on this and then delivered a brilliant product that delivers exactly what it promises, straight out of the box.