TV Chiefs: Keys to Branding “Consistency, Attracting New Audiences”

If you’re like me, you spend an inordinate amount of time keeping up to date on key branding trends. 2011 has already shaped up to be a banner year for television, both in the US and UK. All signs show marketers have a renewed focus on honing in on the true strategic grit of their brands, and more importantly, (and of personal interest) selecting the right creative team to partner with for the long haul.

*Btw, if you missed it, be sure to check out ABM’s most recent year in review “30 Top Memorable Channel Branding Campaigns”

So when one is lucky enough to get the opinion of a group of well respected TV executives (more specifically the effects of programming on brand), you certainly need to listen. While there is no definitive approach to rebranding a network, there are certainly a few things that most can agree on.

When asked if it was harder for Discovery-backed OWN to have to undergo a rebrand and launch in the spotlight, Oprah Winfrey Network CEO Christina Norman said it was going to be difficult no matter what or when it did it. “We were playing our own game. No one was defining what our strategy was or what our goals were,” she said. “It was important to tell our own story and chart our own course.”

On the topic of the effects of a hit show on a channel’s brand, Spike TV President Kevin Kay shares, “No matter what you say your brand is, when that hit hits, it shapes your brand.”

“We try and see what our audience responds to. So we provide more of that in other shows,” said Marc Juris, EVP/GM of truTV. But he also cautions on not relying on the success of one show to shape a network’s strategy. “If you follow a hit, you’re being reactive. You’re not being proactive in building your brand. We create consistency on experience which is the most important thing in this market today.”

Henry Schleiff, President/GM of Investigation Discovery and Military Channel, echoed that same sentiment, referring to the vast television landscape where viewers are constantly flooded with varied programming choices. “The viewer is confused; they don’t know where to go, what to go to, so they come to these networks by default,” he said. “Once you choose that direction, you have to be consistent.”

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