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The ‘Kemistry’ of channel branding

02-August-2005
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The ‘Kemistry’ of channel branding

With ever increasing new television properties, the Indian media industry is a busy place and is experiencing phenomenal growth. The number of television channels has more than doubled in the last five years, making India one of the fastest growing markets.

A proliferation of channels, increased media fragmentation and tough competition now present brand owners with new challenges to gain and retain audience share.

Brand owners are becoming increasingly aware of their brand worth and the need to differentiate and position brands in the hearts and minds of their target markets and are exploring new ways of reaching audiences both on and off screen.

Helping television brands make a clear distinction and create strong identities is UK’s design and branding agency, Kemistry. Formed in 1997 by Graham McCallum (Creative Head) and Ricky Churchill (Production Head), Kemistry specialises in the strategy, creation and production of brand identities across multiple platforms both on and off-screen.

Kemistry made its reputation creating, developing and extending television brands initially in the UK and later internationally. Most recently, their expertise has extended to all screen-based media, be it developing interactive TV systems, packaging and branding DVDs or creating identities and systems for in-flight entertainment.

Kemistry has developed strong visual identities for clients like BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Five, FilmFour, National Geographic, Discovery Networks as well as NRK (Norway), Ned 1,2 and 3 (Netherlands), TV4 (Sweden) and Duna (Hungary). It has also forayed into the feature film industry, creating titles for films like Entrapment and Resident Evil.

Graham McCallum, the Creative Head and Founding Partner of the British TV branding company, said, “Brands are living things. The world continuously changes and evolves and so does television. Brands have to keep pace and anticipate these changes or die. In that sense there is no end-point.”

“Television is only half a century or so old. During that time, it has evolved from a few channels transmitting in black and white to today’s multi-channel digital universe. Viewers have more and more choice, increasingly delivered through different outlets. Sites such as www.jumptv.com and others can now stream channels worldwide through the Internet. A new generation of 3G phones can now put television in our pockets, changing our viewing habits in the process. Understanding who our audience is, focussing on their needs and developing content and brand strategies that fulfil them are the keys to success for any modern channel,” McCallum pointed out.

“Be memorable”, is McCallum’s mantra for successful channel branding. “We are bombarded daily with thousands of messages, which try to grab our attention. The vast majority of these we ignore, but we tend to engage with messages that are idea-led. Ideas communicate with us as human beings, anything that can make us smile or provoke us to think will always have a better chance of remaining in our memories,” he further said.

Pointing out that there were obvious differences between product branding and channel branding, McCallum said, “Products are physical things, which we can buy and take home with us. Television is intangible and consequently more difficult to bond with. However, we bond with all brands at an emotional level. The more we experience them, provided that experience is positive, the more that emotional bond is strengthened.”

“In television, content is king. We watch programmes not brands. It, therefore, follows that the channel brand must claim exclusive ownership of its content so that both brand and content become inextricably linked in the viewers mind. There are many ways to do this both in on and off screen campaigns and through the channel identity strategies,” he explained.

Kemistry has been recently presented with the prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise, the highest business award in the UK, gaining recognition for sustained growth in international markets. Kemistry has also won over 30 accolades, including Promax&BDA Europe, BDA USA, D&AD Annual and Norwegian Design Council.

With so much already proved, it should not be long before Indian media fraternity latches on to ‘Kemistry’ to create that perfect brand recipe. After all, channels and brands are all about chemistry isn’t it?

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