If we can’t outspend Amazon, Google and Apple how might we out-think them?

Breakthrough Strategy | Future-proof Innovation


Sonos’s annual revenue increased by $482 million


The Challenge

Sonos is synonymous with sound engineering prowess. They pioneered wireless multi-room speakers. Business success is driven by the quality of the audio, the design of the speakers and the seamlessness of the consumer experience.

Category definitions and the competition were established and familiar. That was until Silicon Valley giants entered the market with speakers of their own. They introduced the disruptions of voice control and online streaming. Sonos didn’t have the budget to go head to with these tech giants. Sense Worldwide was asked to tune in to the changing purchasing requirements of future consumers.


The Outcomes

In 2016, CEO John MacFarlane announced a shift to voice control and streaming music services (instead of local playback). Sonos speakers would now support Google Assistant and alexa. As well as seamlessly integrating with all major streaming platforms and internal radio stations. The values that historically drove brand loyalty remained intact, remaining at the forefront as Sonos embraced new technologies.


The Result

Customers could now buy quality hardware with features that matched their changing needs. Sonos has increased its annual revenue by $482 million (64%) since 2015. The results speak for themselves.

Our Approach

Future growth required the business to adopt a more holistic view of their consumer’s needs, attitudes, and in-home lifestyles. To inform and inspire the design of future products, services, and brand communications. Rather than bolting on functionality, we needed to understand how they could be harmoniously incorporated. Embracing Sonos’s existing strengths and continuing to differentiate them from the competition.


How The Sense Network Helped

By worked collaboratively with members of The Sense Network we defined what the future of voice control could be. Vocal players included a Hollywood virtual reality producer, an aromatherapist and a materials designer. Armed with their unique perspectives we developed a consumer-centered innovation approach that would continue the Sonos legacy of pioneering features and quality. Moving forward it would have the agility to adapt to changing trends.


The Sense Network ushered in a new era of consumer-centered innovation for cross-functional teams at Sonos – more agile, more collaborative, and ultimately more impactful. The Sense Worldwide team are trusted partners on our journey to deeper audience understanding and empathic immersion.

Executive, SONOS


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