Whether working closely with singers like Normani or athletes like Coco Gauff, Bose is intent on helping people develop deeply personal relationships with the music they love. Jim Mollica, the company’s chief marketing officer, tells Marketing Daily how content -- not advertising -- is better for fostering that brand identity.
This interview has been edited slightly for clarity and space.
Marketing Daily: You’ve been at Bose since 2021, when you were hired as its first-ever CMO. How have you shaped the company’s marketing?
Jim Mollica: Bose was founded by an incredibly thoughtful, innovative person who was an unbelievable engineer and product person with great marketing instincts. But organizations evolve. We are still a very product-centric organization -- everything begins and ends with incredible sound experiences.
But we're moving away from just products and their tech specs to what these products do from an emotional enablement standpoint. My job is to help bring this community of passionate music fans together. We tell stories about what music does for people and how these products help enable it -- whether throwing a party with your friends or wallowing in your misery after a terrible breakup,
Marketing Daily: When people see Bose on a product, what do you want them to think of?
Mollica: We believe sound is the most powerful force on earth. Sound is power. Leonard Bernstein said music can name the unnameable. That is central to who Bose is. We are the only company dedicated to sound.
There are companies out there that are tech companies. They build laptops and phones and washing machines, and they make TV shows and have ad networks. We only make products for music. That focus is on our history of 60 years of innovation. It's a rallying cry for the community of passionate music fans.
Marketing Daily: Are companies like Apple and Samsung your main competitors?
Mollica: There are a lot of products out there that are. But nobody else is solely focused on sound. We’re not reaching all consumers, but looking for passionate music fans. Some people think music is fine, but they're not invested in it. It’s not who they are. But for these passionate fans, it’s part of their worldview. They mark the passage of time by what records they were listening to. Those are the types of people that we create products for. No one can serve them better than Bose.
Marketing Daily: Tell us about this product launch: the QuietComfort Ultra Headphones and QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds with Bose Immersive Audio. You launch many products each year -- how significant is this?
Mollica: It’s a huge deal. Both feature our latest evolution of noise cancellation, which we invented. If you want to be immersed in music, that’s important. It lets you almost put the music in front of you, like a sound stage. There’s breadth between the various tracks and various instrumentation. It’s how the musician, producer and audio engineer intended you to hear it.
Marketing Daily: What is the campaign like for this launch?
Mollica: We have standard product advertising. Joe Burrow, quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals, is a brand ambassador, so we have a spot featuring him. Burrow is a massive music fan. Damian Lillard will come out soon, with content paired with NBA games.
And we will continue to create a bunch of content with some of our favorite artists. We’ll have some big news in a couple of weeks. You're going to see us create more content than you will advertising.
Marketing Daily: Why?
Mollica: We feel like it's important for us to earn people's time and attention, focusing on music and what that does for their lives. We feature diverse, passionate music fans, whether they're musicians or whether they are athletes. And you’ll find content that connects to other passion points, like fitness, where music plays a very important role.
That's why we're launching these products during Fashion Week. Fashion and music are also intertwined, whether it’s the inspiration for the actual designs or the way shows are choreographed.
Marketing Daily: How does that all fit into your ecosystem?
Mollica: We're centering this brand around music, covering all genres. We have relationships with heritage publications like Spin and NME in the U.K., and we need to celebrate that entire spectrum of music, whether it’s Ice Spice and Pink Pantheress or Gorillaz and Blur. Our recent collab with Normani was a huge hit and sold out instantly. We also work with musicians to create music that features some of our immersive technology.
We work with engineers and producers, too. When we realized how few are women, we connected with She's The Music, which helps elevate opportunities for women across the entire industry. So we’re pairing young producing talent with up-and-coming artists like H.E.R. and WondaGurl.