Late in 2016 Native were approached by RKCR/YR, Dixon Baxi, Robin Consulting and Design Studio to develop and inform the Premier League's global music strategy. It was a huge project but one we were keen to get stuck into!

Native's Managing Director, Dan Neale and Music Supervisor, Rachel Menzies discuss the project and how they got involved:

So how did it come about?
Dan: We were asked to get involved very early on in the process by RKCR/Y&R and Robin Consulting. It was the first time The Premier League had been without a corporate sponsor, and with a desire to assert themselves as a brand in their own right, they showed incredible foresight and awareness to consider the sound of their brand so early on.

Rachel: Yes, this is something that brands do sometimes years after having established and cemented their brand attributes. The Premier League, alongside their visual identity - created by The Design Studio, quite rightly wanted to establish what their audio identity would be.

Who were the key players?
Dan: We worked alongside Robin Consulting, RKCR/Y&R, The Design Studio, Dixon Baxi and with the internal Broadcast and Marketing teams.

How did you approach it?
Rachel: We consulted and worked closely with Premier League’s brand consultancy and all of the above mentioned agencies that look after different areas of the business, ranging from above the line communications/advertising, to online content and their international broadcast package.

We conducted an in-depth audit, initially carrying out a thorough search and then testing individual tracks and breaking down our findings into various musical attributes such as genre, instrumentation, rhythm, timbre etc. We then analysed this data, looking for patterns and trends to allow us to establish common attributes across the tracks which everybody felt best embodied the brand values.

We used a combination of music specialist expertise and data collection to further analyse our findings and then presented these to the team with a full audit report including suggestions for ways to move forward.

What is the sound of the Premier League?
Dan: Clearly it’s quite a task to coordinate all of the different areas and find a cohesive way forward, one that has the necessary flexibility for the range of applications, but also to establish a set of principles that can be used to check and test choices against.

The conclusion we came to was that the music used should: be unexpected in it’s sector, emphasise a sense of togetherness, and always have a human element to it. The stretch needed to cover everything from community films demonstrating how the Premier League invest in grass root schemes, to match day montages that embody the anticipation and excitement of the game. So the tracks used could range dynamically from stripped back more emotional tracks, to celebratory life affirming brass samples in a hip hop track – and we found examples for each to demonstrate how the audio principles might be represented.

Was there a noticeable impact resulting from the work that you did?
Rachel: Absolutely. What the Premier League needed was an expert music partner to help develop and implement their audio signature across all touchpoints and usage types. We saw the set of principles and strategy we had developed and tested work in a live situation when Dixon Baxi were developing the theme tune with their chosen music partner for the broadcast titles. By conducting focused audit sessions with their agency/marketing partners and internally, the principles we had established helped inform the feedback the client gave - and allowed them to develop their chosen track in the right direction.

Dan: We are currently working with the Premier League to develop and roll out the audio principles further.

What lies in the future for the Premier League, and their interaction with music?

Rachel: We have discussed a lot of exciting ideas and opportunities, and have advised the Premier League on what various syncs, partnerships or activations might involve with a view to developing this over time.