» Forbes: Harnessing The Power Of Consumer Media Brand Portfolios

Forbes: Harnessing The Power Of Consumer Media Brand Portfolios

Press 11–17–16


Today’s leading global brands often are working on numerous corporate branding initiatives with motivations that range from recent mergers with other brands to the need to create some semblance of corporate identity to employee inspiration and consumer engagement.

Recently seeking expertise on corporate branding initiatives, Sony, Corus Entertainment, and Turner, three key media brands, have turned to Troika, an agency that specializes in entertainment media, to further develop their corporate brand image through harnessing the power of their consumer media brand portfolios.

What Does Rebranding Mean?

Rebranding doesn’t always mean the same thing to every company that sees the need to change their brand image, according to Dan Pappalardo, Founder and CEO of Troika. “We use the term rebrand whenever the intent is to change a brand’s underlying value system in terms of how it is meaningful to people.”

In the case of Turner, Sony and Corus, Troika discovered consumers, employees and most business partners related more to their channel brands, such as CNN, Crackle, or Adult Swim. The challenge for Troika and these companies was to rebrand them in such as way that would yield meaning to the overall brand for these audiences.

This perception appears to be common among companies that have a parent, or house brand that then includes a portfolio of brands underneath it. Consumers tend to identify more closely to the individual brands within the portfolio versus the “house” brand.

However, in order to achieve the intended objectives of the overall house brand, it is important to rebrand it in such a way that it becomes just as meaningful to this audience as the individual brands it owns.

Three Rebrand Programs: More Like An Update, Refresh, And Evolution

As Pappalardo noted, “It was no easy task to develop a rebrand program for three brands that have amazing DNA – the maverick spirit of Ted Turner, Sony’s reputation for quality established through their consumer electronics heritage, and the memories shared by Canadians who grew up watching the kids programming that Corus delivered.”

However, these businesses had evolved and the brands needed to be updated to reflect the future value they were intent on offering. Troika incorporated some of the seminal qualities from the brand’s heritage that remain true today and could be used to propel the brand towards the future as envisioned by the current leadership. It was a collaborative process that included each of the three companies participating in discovery, workshops, and creative prototyping to build the brand from within. As Pappalardo explained, “You don’t create an authentic brand. You hone it from existing truths.”

For Turner, the rebrand was considered more of an update. Michael V. Marinello, Senior Vice President, Corporate Brand Communications, for Turner explained: “While our brands and businesses do an amazing job connecting with their audiences, a lot has happened at Turner over the last few years and the time had come to start telling those stories. What we are really doing is introducing ourselves to a much broader audience in a more holistic way.”

As a result, Troika worked with the company to generate a new unifying and inspiring spirit that built internal engagement across all organizations to bolster Turner’s leadership in media. Troika’s work included a new logo, brand design, brand videos, employee communication, environmental design and packaging.

When it came to Corus, the company had recently acquired Shaw Media and was looking to rebrand itself as a Canadian media and content powerhouse. Susan Schaefer, Senior Vice President of Brands and Marketing at Corus Entertainment, said, “We’re calling it a refresh of our visual brand identity. We are a contemporary media and content company and our visual identity needed to catch up with who we are and where we’re going. We have reimagined Corus as a powerful, modern, and forward thinking company based on our scale, incredible portfolio of assets, and enhanced focus on content creation.”

This brand refresh program included a new logo and brand design, a brand roadmap for future product growth and development, and communication for employees, content partners, distribution partners and advertisers.

For Sony Pictures Television Networks, the recent changes haven’t been so much about a rebrand as a brand evolution, according to Maurizio Vitale, Senior Vice President Marketing Worldwide Networks at Sony Pictures Entertainment. “The entertainment landscape that we operate in has changed and keeps changing, and the future state of our brand will require meaning across all our constituents, distributors, advertisers and consumers.”

As part of its brand evolution, the media company introduced “The Power to Move” as a B2B message to brand the overall Sony Networks group and drive holistic equity and attribution back to Sony. In addition, all of Sony’s fully owned channel brands, including AXN, Crackle, and Animax now carry the endorsement, “A Sony Network.”  As Vitale explained, “This approach will help clarify our future intent and drive our actions going forward, giving us the flexibility to change with the evolving entertainment landscape.”

The Art Of Storytelling Enhances The Rebrand Effort

Storytelling as an engagement tool is being used beyond marketing and social media, leveraging it for rebrand efforts. Brands are a relationship, so people don’t just want to be told about a brand; they want to be part of something and get involved in a shared set of values that everyone cares about. Brand storytelling can transcend the linear narrative as it has for these media brands.

In the case of these three media companies, the consumer engagement process started with company employees. Part of the programs mentioned above involved a brand film that conveyed the brand story through an emotional narrative. While Anthem Films are great at packing a punch, Troika needed to work the brand story into the daily experiences of employees to truly engage them.

At Corus, it was a merging of two cultures and Troika helped articulate employee mantras, such as “Be Bold”, “Think Big” that are visually displayed throughout Corus’s modern, art-filled Toronto facility. Corus is currently integrating their cultures and looking at how their Vision, Purpose and Values might also evolve.

For Turner, the brand story is reflected in a new forward-leaning brand image. The progressive sense of style and can-do spirit sets a tone for innovation and company pride. Employees experience the brand daily at every company touchpoint. For example, Troika collaborated with the architecture firm that’s renovating Turner’s famous Techwood campus in Atlanta to infuse the brand spirit and esthetic into the newly designed environment.

Rebrand Lessons For Other Companies

In offering advice for other companies, Sony’s Vitale said, “Stay relevant and connected with your audience. Engage with consumers and keep your brand identity coherent with your vision, mission, and, ultimately, your business goal.” For Dolores Keating-Mallen, Vice President, Creative Agency and Brand Development for Corus, she noted that time and research were critical: “Do your homework and make sure you know exactly why you are changing the identity and where you need to go directionally. Given the speed to which we took the project to market, absolute clarity was key.”

Finally, Turner’s Senior Vice President and Chief Brand Strategy Officer Molly Battin shared this lesson: “Take the best of your past and pull those iconic elements into the future.  Your brand has to be an authentic reflection of your ambition and true to your DNA.  The work you do has to reflect your unique brand promise in order for it to ring true with all your audiences, including partners, and especially employees.”

According to all these companies, the media industry is experiencing an unprecedented amount of change that may continue for some time. In response, media companies like Turner, Corus, and Sony have found that they can continue to be successful during this time of change by leading the transformation as they evolve, refresh, and update their corporate brand image.

Other companies like Konica Minolta are experiencing similar change and are focusing on strategies to revamp their brand image. Ekta Sahasi, Vice President of Konica Minolta’s Business Innovation Center, has been leading the charge to help her company drive innovation that supporting the corporate brand transformation.

“Like many industries, ours has been changing in relation to the advancements in technology, the demand for innovation, and the enhanced expectations of customers. Our recent focus has been on driving brand transformation and rebranding by bringing new products to market. Konica Minolta has always been in the enterprise market with a varied portfolio of workplace solutions. Now, with the launch of Workplace of the Future, we are changing the way our customers perceive of and interact with the company.”

That’s why this approach to rebranding can potentially serve as benchmarks for other industries that seek to transform their own markets and business models.

Read the original article posted on Forbes.