How Bose transformed its in-house agency

Stephen Whiteside

Coming off the financial crisis of 2008, Bose - the audio-equipment brand which had long enjoyed a strong share of mind among educated music enthusiasts - reassessed almost every aspect of its business. The imperative was challenging: Bose no longer wanted to count solely on the support of audiophiles, but the competitive landscape had grown much more complicated following the launch of innovative products like Beats by Dr Dre.

While retaining a focus on high-performance goods, Bose planned to engage a more youthful demographic even as it expanded into several growing Asian markets. This required examining its current approach to communications, the creative side of which had always been handled by an in-house agency.

"One of the things we re-evaluated was the in-house agency capability," Mick O'Brien, Bose's director/global marketing communications, told delegates at the annual conference of the In-House Agency Forum, held in Boston in late 2013. "Ultimately, the corporation decided we should keep the in-house capability, but that certain things needed to be changed, because the company was changing."