NEW YORK: Bose, the audio equipment brand, has successfully enhanced the quality of its advertising by pushing its in-house agency to reach the standards that the best external shops could provide.

Having reassessed the whole idea of having an internal creative agency in the wake of the financial crisis, Bose decided to keep it, but undertake a wide-ranging transformation in its approach.

"Our vision was to become a world-class, full-service, global agency for Bose," Mick O'Brien, Bose's director/global marketing communications, told delegates at the In-House Agency Forum. "Every decision we make comes back to the three principles of our vision." (Warc subscribers can read the full story, How Bose transformed its in-house agency.)

In addressing the first of these concerns, the objective was to "significantly" improve the standard of the agency's work – and to explore previously-neglected activities like brand campaigns.

"Simply put, if we're going to do all the communications for our company, our work needs to be as good as the best outside agencies, because those are the agencies that are our competitors," said O'Brien.

More broadly, the goal was to communicate the emotional power of music and sound, moving beyond the brand's direct-selling heritage, and helping it reach a younger demographic than was traditionally the case.

Becoming a "full service" shop – the second part of Bose's vision – meant providing "anything that our clients needed" from a marketing standpoint, and building appropriate external relationships, such as those relating to media.

"We needed to improve the capabilities across all of the different media – especially retail and especially digital … where we needed to catch up, or at least keep pace," O'Brien said.

As Bose runs 250 retail store around the world, the agency had to ramp up its capabilities in disciplines from in-store merchandising and promotions to digital production.

"Most of what we do these days is about content," O'Brien said, adding that this material is "based on campaigns; based on things we want to communicate about our company; and based on common interests".

Finally, the aim to become a global agency reflected Bose's plans to expand into several markets in Asia Pacific, each of which placed unique demands on the brand.

"The four major markets that we're looking at – Japan, China, Australia and India – are different in terms of culture, as well as where they are in development and where our products are," said O'Brien.

Data sourced from Warc