When radio company SiriusXM bought streaming service Pandora, it was assumed the two would simply merge, but a year later SiriusXM is now focused on building on the respective strengths of the two brands.

“I really [thought Sirius/Pandora] would be a simple merger,” Denise Karkos, installed as chief marketing officer at Sirius last October, told the recent CES 2020 conference.

“Two brands, bringing the best of both together, [and then] strengthen each one with other’s capabilities. In fact,” she said, “that’s not what we’re going to do.”

That’s because once she got her feet under the table and examined the data, she discovered that Sirius and Pandora “are two distinct brands and two distinct teams” – with distinct marketing challenges for each service.

“We’re going to employ a ‘house-of-brands’ strategy,” she explained. (For more details, read WARC’s report: SiriusXM and Pandora use data to build a single house of brands.)

“There’s just enough distinction between the brands, at least in the short term, that means that this will be the best way forward for us to grow,” Karkos reported.

Both offerings already have legacy standing in the relatively new digital-audio sector, but they operate on different models: Karkos pointed to factors such as audience demographics, content offer and the different selling points of each.

“SiriusXM is very much a direct-marketing type of play,” she added. “And Pandora is much more of an emotive brand play.”

For both, however, data is seen as the growth driver – using this resource to optimise the listener experience – and, while they will remain separate entities, Karkos sees scope for sharing learnings between them in order to boost consumer engagement.

Another crossover will see selected content from SiriusXM “shock jock” Howard Stern repurposed for Pandora.

Sourced from WARC