In order to grow, we need to get into other markets: Vince Voron
Vince Voron says he is envious at just how quickly a small team in India has been able to grow our Dolby Audio and Dolby Atmos brands
Mumbai: No matter where you are or what you do, there is a good chance that Vince Voron has had a hand in creating products that you use on a daily basis. The global vice-president of design and brand at Dolby Laboratories started his career as an industrial design manager at Apple, where he was involved in the development of the iMac, Powerbook, iPod and iPhone.
Since joining Dolby in 2013, he has spearheaded the transformation from an ingredient brand to a consumer experience brand. Voron was in India recently to set up a design centre of excellence in Mumbai. He spoke in an interview on the evolution of the Dolby brand, and the disruption in the entertainment industry. Edited excerpts:
Dolby set up its Indian subsidiary in 2009. How has the journey in India been so far?
I am envious at just how quickly this small team in India has been able to grow our Dolby Audio and Dolby Atmos brands. Just the brand awareness alone has grown over 10% since 2009. But more importantly to our partners is the purchase intent. If we can be the number one reason why someone might buy or recommend a TV, then we’re winning... We have been very successful doing that here, so we are trying to take some of those learnings and scale them across the world.
What sort of opportunities does Dolby see in India?
For me it boils down to content creation and content consumption, and India is doing an amazing job on both fronts. There’s a lot of potential.
One of your major goals has been to transform the company from an ingredient brand to a consumer experience brand. Why focus on consumers when they don’t buy directly from you?
I think all great companies want to become an experience brand. But it takes time, credibility, and repeatability. Five years ago, we realized that we had enough in our toolkit to impact different experiences beyond the cinema, and into the workplace, home and in mobility. We focused on how you (the consumer) would experience our brands at those different touch-points. If you look at the world’s greatest brands, they don’t have to teach you how to use their products anymore. We are relying on our partners to create products that are so easy to use that you don’t have to focus on being product-centric.
Repositioning a brand can be tricky. Has it thrown up any major challenges?
I think there were more opportunities than challenges. One of the reasons I came to Dolby was because I wanted to visualize sound. I wanted to add the emotive side of advertising and consumer and enterprise communications to the product. How do you pull out those emotions that are heartfelt? Or tell really great stories? I came from Coca-Cola, which I believe is one of the world’s greatest story-tellers. And I’m trying to emulate that in a Dolby fashion.
In recent years, Dolby has been making inroads into video with Dolby Vision. What was the impetus for this expansion?
We have been in the imaging business for over 10 years and we have been enabling greater imaging experiences in cinema for some time. The company has realized that, in order to grow, we need to get into other markets. I think it has been a smart strategy to look at how our existing technologies can be leveraged across different categories, partners and industries. Now that we have this combined Dolby Vision-Atmos experience, and our content creators want to use both of those technologies, everything is coming together.
With the rise of streaming services, we are seeing a shift in consumption away from the big screen. How has Dolby responded to it?
Our streaming partners are just as important to us as our studio partners. In a lot of cases, like Netflix and Amazon, they are the same. So the lines are really getting blurred between streaming providers and content creators. I think we are working with over 12 streaming services, and it is hugely important to us. Even on iTunes, we have over 300 titles with both Dolby Vision and Atmos. Filling the content pipeline is very important for us...we are also focusing on influencing and helping our filmmakers integrate that technology in their work. We also offer user interface design services, marketing and collateral creation to help them market our product.
In India, we have also seen a major shift in content consumption from the television to mobile screens. Does that present any challenge, when it comes to providing consumers with a consistent, high-quality Dolby experience?
Our strategy with Atmos has always been to make sure that it delivers the best possible experience, regardless of how you are consuming it; whether it is headphones on your smartphone, a television with a soundbar, or a cinema. The consistency of that experience is very important to us.
Does this disruption and churn in the entertainment sector worry you?
Well, we are a tech company. So we love what is happening, though I will not call it a disruption. We like the word “transformation”. So we are thrilled if our technologies can be used in a new industry to make the experience more spectacular.
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