2009 European Branding Report: Design of the Times

Last month, media & brand strategy consultant Martin Poole and I sat down for a couple hours in London to share a drink (or two) and discuss the state of the European and US broadcast design markets. We spoke on a range of topics including challenges facing broadcasters and agencies alike, as well as the incredible opportunities afforded by the changing marketplace. If you’re interested in the European Television Branding landscape, you should checkout his recently published M21 report titled “Design of the Times”. It features:

  • an overview of 2009 European broadcast design market
  • a look at how broadcasters across Europe are trying to differentiate their channels and brands
  • a catchup with some leading UK creative shops including Red Bee, Bruce Dunlop, Addiction, Beautiful TV, and Kemistry
  • a few thoughts from yours truly

The overview/first page of the article is presented here for a quick read. Click here to download the .pdf to view the entire article including the European brand case studies.

Design of the Times
By Martin Poole

No review of the European broadcast design market can ignore the current financial inconvenience that most broadcasters find themselves in, but this year’s crop of featured projects shows no lessening in creativity and ingenuity, even if budgets are lower and timescales shorter.

Everyone seems to agree that there’s something about constricted budgets and difficult circumstances that helps great ideas to come to the fore, whether it be using skill photography to illustrate the wonders of high definition or developing long-lasting storylines by creating your own characters and letting them develop lives of their own with the viewers.

The other thing that seems to be happening in this recession is that it’s forcing people to collaborate more. When budgets are tight, ideas are at a premium and everyone from creative director to ad agency to design agency to promo outfit is more than willing to explore other ways of working in order to get the best results. There’s a real sense that the creative community on both sides of the client/agency fence is pulling together to make sure we all get through this in one piece.

One area that everyone is focused on is customer service – when you know your client has only a little work to give out you want to be first on their list every time and agencies are trying to be much more attentive and ready to respond whenever they get the call. Despite that, most European agencies still have a lot to learn about how to present themselves, according to Denny Tu, an exec producer from LA who splits his time between Europe and the US. “Agencies are working harder to stand out but rarely do an effective job of communicating value differentiation above and beyond the creative reel,” he believes. While he is no doubt that the UK market in particular is one of the most creative in the world, if the agencies there want to grow they need to pay more attention to proving their value and worth than they do at the present. (click keep reading below for more)

There are certain areas that are less affected than others and there is a real focus on public service broadcasters with their guaranteed license fee income and the pay-TV sector, where there’s every chance that there is more money to be made as the public turns away from expensive ‘out-of-home’ pursuits and watches more TV. Viewing in the UK is already up by more than 40 minutes a week, per person, year on year and a number of analysts are predicting that TV will be one of the first business sectors to start to come out of the recession – something that we’re all looking forward to.

Of course, there will be casualties long the way and we’re all aware that creative teams are being cut back and marketing budgets are being slashed, but with many broadcasters stretched to the absolute limit because of staff and freelancer culls, some agencies are finding that their services are required on a more regular basis, albeit for much smaller slices of work.

So to weather the economic storm it seems the best strategy is to work out what your agency offers that is unique, focus on great customer service and work as hard on the little projects as the big ones. The ideas economy is as buoyant as it’s ever been and those who will succeed are those who focus on their creativity, no matter the cost.

To download the rest of Martin’s article including the brand studies, click here for the PDF.

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2 Comments

Filed under branding, channel identity, industry news, marketing, opinion

2 responses to “2009 European Branding Report: Design of the Times

  1. Rachel Watkins

    Really appreciate all the insight and honesty you provide. I have to say it’s refreshing to see someone share this sort of critical business information with the masses. Folks get in the habit of hoarding “secrets” when in reality we all need to talk about the change in the biz. (by the way, we are a mid-size ad agency in Sydney.)

    Martin’s article is nicely put, some great reminders. Thanks Denny for the great blog!

  2. Thanks for putting this up Denny and for your dedication in reporting on our little world. See you soon.

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