On a visit to the NASA space centre in 1962, President John F. Kennedy noticed a cleaner sweeping the floor. The story goes that the President, who liked to be called Jack, interrupted his tour and, walking up the man, introduced himself, “Hi, I’m Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?”, “Well, Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon,” the cleaner responded.

Similar stories have percolated through the years. The great architect Christopher Wren once walked up to men working on St. Paul’s Cathedral, which he had designed, and asked them each what they were doing: “I’m cutting a piece of stone” said one. “I’m earning five shillings twopence a day” said another. But it was the reply of the third man “I am helping Sir Christopher Wren build a beautiful cathedral,” that is the reason we still remember this story today.

This is because the replies central to both of these tales reveal one important truth: that no matter how big or small your role in the world is, we are all interconnected and working towards a greater whole.

This is the lesson behind Sony Music: Influence Music, an inclusive internal platform we created for the music giant’s UK, Europe, and Asian markets.

Sony Music is a behemoth of a corporation. Totalling 8,500 employees, the company is behind some of the world’s most well-known record labels. From Columbia Record to RCA, Masterworks to Ministry of Sound, variety is the spice of life at Sony HQ.

The thing is, the person who came up with the term variety is the spice of life, a Mr William Cowper, ended up in a psychiatric hospital. The music company needed a new platform that would unite everyone under the same banner, but which wouldn’t lose the Sony Music identity in the noise and so dilute the brand.

Sony Music’s current offering didn’t reflect what it was as a brand. As Dan Fernandez, Founder and Executive Creative Director at EveryFriday says, “The way they were talking to their people internally was a bit on the corporate side – you wouldn’t know for a second that it was a company built on culture and creativity.”

Influence Music aimed to flip this on its head. “We needed to create something that was both permanent and malleable” says Joe Baglow, creative, “something along the lines of how a chameleon adapts depending on its environment.”

From here, the idea of a stage – something which is permanent but flexible in its outcome – was born. Besides its obvious musical connotations, the idea itself worked on several levels.

First, it stayed true to the idea of the two opening stories, as although it is the artists who get all the airtime, a lot goes into setting the stage. The person behind the camera, the intern doing the social, the cleaner, anyone and everyone at Sony Music plays a role in influencing the output.

Second, through this empowerment, it relayed the idea back to the audience of the shear variety of roles in the music business, emphasising the breadth of opportunity in working in music in the first place.

Finally, the idea of a stage reflected the incredible diversity that Sony Music was home to in terms of its craft also. From Reggae to Jazz, Punk to Pop, the stage is the constant thread tying the experience of musicians and music companies and labels together. With the help of dozens of photographers and libraries of images, the visual identity became a patchwork homage to the rich history of the music company.

By empowering everyone who worked at Sony Music, regardless of what they did, Influence Music helped compose a culture that reminded employees what it was that they were doing and why they were doing it. In short it reaffirmed that these individuals – the ones operating behind the scenes – matter, and by working at Sony Music they were influencing music, culture and from there, the world.

The platform has since been built upon. Sony Music Wellbeing, a campaign to raise awareness of the huge range of wellbeing benefits on offer at the company, took the diverse nature of the Influence Music platform and mapped it onto the mental health space.

The campaign asks the questions that many often find too awkward to ask: “Can I get some support?” “Should I be feeling like this?” “Who can I talk to?” – that sort of thing. The visuals themselves were based on a browser search bar because these are the places where people frequently ask the questions they ask no one else.

The challenge for Sony Music at first seemed oxymoronic: applauding the uniqueness of all of its different labels whilst at the same time reining them in under the same flag. It wasn’t until that uniqueness itself was viewed as the very flag that would unite the company that a new visual identity was born. You don’t get confused by a chameleon when it changes colours, it’s just what it does, so too with Sony Music, this was about celebrating that.

Read more about the case study here.