Ray Sono serves many well-known brands. For McDonaldʼs Germany, we continue to develop the digital channels and have taken over, among other things, the implementation of large campaigns such as McDonaldʼs Monopoly. As part of our Close-up interview format, our colleague Anja Spychalski, Senior Consultant, spoke to Nicolas von Sobbe, Vice President Technology Germany at McDonald’s, about his company’s collaboration with Ray Sono.
Read the interview here:
Ray Sono: At Ray Sono, we’re always happy when our customers visit us. They do it quite often, like you, Nico. It’s nice to have you here.
Nicolas von Sobbe (McDonaldʼs): Thanks very much.
Ray Sono: McDonaldʼs is one of our major customers, but can you still remember how it all started?
NvS: Yes, I remember quite well. The funny thing was that we were so traditional about it. We said, “We actually want a large agency for our web business. Normally we do a screening where we ping the big names back and forth.
But at that time, I found out about you through a very funny coincidence. I was in contact with a colleague who had previously managed Foursquare. We then started messaging.
Then, of course, it was clear to me: If you understand yourself so well, why shouldn’t I include you in a pitch for our web business? That’s how it all started... and then you won the pitch!
Ray Sono: That’s a pretty nice origin story.
NvS: What I like about the whole story is the local character of Ray Sono. I am from Munich, and McDonaldʼs is deeply rooted in Munich.
Sure, we have a lot of network partners, but I found it all quite surprising when you meet an agency and then realise that you are also from Munich. You have on-site owners who we can sit down face-to-face with, who have close ties to their business, and who are concerned about more than just making sales for their network.
Ray Sono: That sounds like a positive surprise. Now the whole thing has been going on for three years. What makes working with Ray Sono special for you?
What I find very important in cooperation is trust, even though I’m not the classic conservative guy with conservative values.
NvS: I have learned that an agency in the web business “will take care of things” – and that I can go to bed without worrying about anything. Until today, we have never had a go-live with any negative surprises, except for tiny details.
And this is the basis, of course, that enables incredible trust to arise. What I find so nice is that we know the people who are responsible for this and that we personally trust them to take care of the individual activities.
I think that’s the biggest thing you’ve done with us. And then you’re really reliable. Of course, one could say: “Reliability” – that’s not very creative.
But we get creativity for McDonald’s in so many nooks and crannies. What often ruins creativity is a lack of reliability as well as no confidence that it will really sell. And we’ve always experienced a wonderful mix with you. That’s also why I can only emphasise that I’m always mega-relaxed at every go-live, and before working with you, I was never like that. It’s a great thing that’s developed.
Ray Sono: Thank you for the praise. Now, apart from go-lives, we’ve worked with you on many other things. Where do you see our special areas of expertise?
NvS: Of course, what you do very well – which is maybe a little surprising – is the editorial part. You even provide us with an extra team for this. You manage our content independently. You’ve fought for leeway, between the advertising agency, the PR department, and various other parties who think they have a stake in it. You have clearly positioned yourself and gained a very natural acceptance, even in marketing. This is certainly something that has reached a very high quality over recent years and that you can be proud of!
But of course, you also have technical competence. When we’re on the phone or have exchanged e-mails, no one has ever said to me, “Oh, I’m hearing that for the first time. We’ll have to look for a specialist for that or add someone else to the team.” Maybe you have done that sometimes, but I didn’t notice it. That’s the beauty of it: you bring together exactly the right mixture of technical competence – always on schedule – with real editorial management. For such a complex company as ours, which makes so many changes, this is also enormously important.
Ray Sono: You’ve already mentioned that trust, reliability, and so forth, grows over time. Do you have a specific project or situation in mind where we particularly delighted you?
NvS: Yes. And surprisingly, right at the beginning. You notice at the first meetings when everything is running smoothly. Our first projects triggered this calm in me. The worst thing about this is that it quickly becomes the norm. You no longer look forward to every highlight because the bar is already set so high. But I’m joking a bit now.
Of course, what delights me every time and every year, just like this year, is Monopoly. Inside our company, this was a mega-topic. Every year, it is a very important highlight campaign, and we have managed to top it every year. Also in terms of creativity, along with the marketing department, which of course has its own ideas, but this year, Monopoly was again a personal wow experience for me. We’ve also integrated the app – that’s now our new flagship. And together with you, we have also found a partner that enables cash payments and aligns many modules. Your project manager was wonderful. That was a real highlight of this year, despite the many highlights I’ve had with you and others.
Ray Sono: Speaking about topping things, what are the topics or projects you want to do most with us in the future?
NvS: That’s a good question. I’ll also talk to your management about where things could go.
Ray Sono: Can you give us a little sneak peek?
NvS: Sure, a little one. For us, making sure the customer has an end-to-end experience is important. And you’re very much in the web area, but we now have to see how we can bring content to the touchpoints, no matter what they are. For us, it is important that the customer has a “seamless” feeling when using a touchpoint, whether it’s the website, the app, or even the kiosk software. The customer must actually feel that everything has the same handwriting.
I’d like to take a deep dive into this topic with you – how can we ensure that the quality you offer is consistent – end-to-end and everywhere? We’ve worked with you locally, but the new website product, which is based on Adobe AEM, has been developed by my bosses and colleagues at the main service centre in Chicago. You’ll also have to learn how to manage products and content globally with us. I think this will be a challenge, because now our joint requirements will have to be implemented by other developers as well. We are no longer sitting here alone at the source.
Ray Sono: You know that we like challenges. That’s why we continue to look forward to working together, and I thank you once again for talking with us here today.
NvS: Thank you.