Some 250-odd delegates at the PROMAX&BDA Conference India were present on the second day of the conference. The atmosphere was as charged up as day one, with the delegates hanging on to the every word the speakers delivered. Highlight of the morning hours was thoughts on effective branding by Lee Hunt and Tom Connor.
With great power come great responsibilities: Hunt
Hunt’s session on the second day at the PROMAX&BDA 2004 conference indicated one thing – a brand was what it was perceived to be. He quoted Anais Nin saying, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
Hunt began the presentation by giving the audience an idea of the kind of explosion that is there in television brands today. He said, “This is a 500-channel television universe but people stick to only five or six and see only that much. In such a universe you have to give audience reasons to choose your brands over others.”
He explained that brand is the perception of a product in the consumer’s mind and the only difference between a brand and a product is that of efficiency, “There are three ways to communicate the attribute of efficiency in your messages. You can define product assets, differentiate and bring out the relevance of that product to the consumer.”
He further elucidated that a television product is different from any product because it is organic and dynamic. “It changes from day-part to day-part and that is the challenge of our business,” Hunt said, “The conundrum of this field is that the brand has to expand and contract yet has to remain true to itself, always.”
Hunt shared a pyramid with the audience, where he substantiated each point with examples from the industry of various channels. He placed name of the channel right on top. The next came the personality of the channel, which came across in the way the channel communicated. This was followed by programming, which showed what the channel was made up of. He divided the fourth plank in two – visions and promises, which gave way to positioning – what the channel stood for. The base of the pyramid comprised of vision, which was the long-term business plan and mission that implied the short term aims.
He emphasised on the need to be consistent in the message and deliver it with style. “By designing the promos of the channel, we allow the audience to sample the product right then and the fact that the audience can watch the product right at that moment makes the promo a point-of-purchase message. This is a great power and with this come great responsibility,” concluded Hunt, “We are the stewards of the image of the channel.”
There is no substitute for simplicity in communication: Connor
Tom Connor, President of Tag – the Creative Brand Solutions company, focused on perhaps the most crucial aspect of broadcast communications of these days, namely, ‘Design.’
Connor said the concept of design in context to the brands was often not understood in emerging markets. According to Connor, if a design does not advance the relationship with the consumer, it could not be seen as robust and would gradually corrode the value of the brand. Connor said a good design was something that could truly capture the essence of the brand. “A brand signifies a bonding with the audience and it is the design that lends inherent strength to the brand identity,” he added.
Talking about the television brands in particular, Connor said one had to be indeed purposeful when designing for TV. The clutter is huge and getting intense everyday; survival in such a scenario meant creating designs that communicate wholly and truly.
For Connor, design is not the idea in itself; rather it should express the idea. Further, Connor believes that the best designs are invisible. Explaining his belief, he said that a good design was something that would ideally lead one to the intended message. All that it should do at the onset was to create a path of discovery, slowly bringing about a revelation of the brand.
Is there anything that strikes him about Indian designs? “Plenty, but I am struck with the bright colours used in broadcast channels, cutting across all categories,” responded Connor. With his first Indian client, NDTV, Connor used the colour green for designing the logo and till today he is pleasantly surprised as he reminiscences on that aspect. Green, as he explained, was unheard of for a news channel but here in India, it was culturally accepted. “The semiotics of communication prevalent in a particular culture was the cornerstone of a successful design in television,” Connor said.
Citing Cyrus Oshidar’s promotional campaigns on MTV, Connor said it was outstanding because it was rooted in the Indian culture; was young, humorous and carried an abundance of irreverence.
Besides NDTV 24×7 and NDTV India, Connor is working on the design for Hungama TV, and has worked for prestigious clients like TBS Superstation, Celestial (Satellite Cable Channel in South East Asia) and many others.
Connor finally had a word to say on ‘Living the brand through Storytelling.’ According to him, the best spots do seem to tell a good story; others use various forms of storytelling to immerse you in their brand.