Case5 Mtv Building Brand Resonance
Mr. S. Suresh
MTV: BUILDING BRAND RESONANCE
1) What is the MTV brand image? How valuable are the MTV brand associations? What should its core values be?
Since its debut in 1981, MTV has always tried to strengthen and reinvent its own image. It has build a powerful youth oriented brand globally. Started as an all music video channel, MTV focused on the youth and their taste of music. It also acted as a star creating channel making known to the world lesser known artist and their music. It strives to build by having hot, up and coming bands and individual artists to perform on their shows and also showcase them on their website. The effect of this branding of up-and-coming bands attracts the 18 24 male and female audiences. MTV‟s strength has been its “revolutionary youth pop irreverence”. Also it's branding image for the 25 – 34 viewer segments are product and travel guides, and informed political opinions. Other than marking a seminal step in the history of music and television, MTV has always been striving to co-evolve with its viewers‟ taste. This evolution has been dialectical and is not just an adaptation to that of a changing environment but much more than that and beyond. We could rather say that this evolution has been dialectical in the sense that MTV has not only conditioned its own viewer‟s musical tastes, but has also shaped several young generation conveying them its own culture, and making them the core of its success. MTV has linked its image to Famous artists, Music, and Young Generations, managing to establish a trait among them: Famous persons „young revolutionary‟ claim “I want my MTV”, helping young and unknown singers to become celebrities, and allowing young audience to peek into music star‟s day to day life thanks to the many related programs has what developed throughout this two decades along with the reality shows. The fact that so many singer‟s career owe their success to MTV shows the importance of their brand. All this massive campaign helped MTV to build a strong brand image among the young generation who over the years associated “young spirit, cutting-edge and free thinking” to its Brand. Over the years MTV transformed from a music channel to that having a cultural significance. It started to show case long form of programming which helped MTV to address changing viewer taste and also emerged as a source of information and education for its viewer on important world events and issues. Their core values should be leading-edge coverage of new musicians and their music along with their association with youth and youth culture. They have a powerful youth oriented brand image and are spread all over the world. Youth is what defines MTV and it should strive to associate itself with youth culture and change according to what the youth culture demands.
2) Describe the current sources of MTV’s brand equity. How have they changed over time? How have they remained constant?
Building a strong equity is a highly difficult task as it goes beyond creating an innovative product. Uniqueness of a brand is more related to an inner conception and awareness of the brand culture that should become symbiotic with the different cultures all over the world. MTV‟s successful breakthrough of bringing music on television marked a significant turning point in both the music and television culture and their business related field. This allowed MTV to move quickly on its own learning curve conferring it a competitive advantage over its competitors. To create a brand equity one need to understand what and to whom the channel is catering to. The idea was to start a music video cable channel and came up with the name MTV, which inherently mean Music television. To create brand awareness and to have a memorable identity in viewers mind, the company needed to create a logo. Patti Rogoff, an independent designer came up with the MTV logo, a blocky three-dimensional “M” with a graffiti scrawled “TV” on top. As its television signature MTV used the picture of first moon landing in which Neil Armstrong in his spacesuit holding the American flag. On the flag is shown the printed the MTV logo. To make the channel more appealing to viewers, MTV employed video jockey which generally termed as VJs. Instead of just hosting the program, a VJ will be with the audience throughout the show. With its interactive programs, music video and VJs as host of its programs, MTV brand became unique and established a different Brand Identity of its own. As the MTV co-founder Bob Pittman stated: “the star would be the channel.” Upcoming and established music stars started depending on MTV to promote their music. The world of music had changed, shifting from audio competition to audio visual competition. The visual aspect of music gave the viewer something fresh to enjoy along the music and it also gave the artist more exposure and recognition of their work. Even after this initial success, the brand awareness was low among U.S. viewers and adding to the problem was the refusal by many cable operators to carry the channel, thus keeping it audience well below their targeted figure. To create brand awareness, MTV devised an advertisement campaign to reach the unserviced area. In this campaign rock stars like Mike Jagger, one of the biggest rock stars of the time, endorsed MTV. They made commercials in which he said the phrase “I want my MTV”, and then these commercials were aired in areas where cable providers were not showing MTV. A month after the campaign, the awareness of MTV between audiences increased from 20percent to 89 percent.
Its initial years has been more than an innovative product for its customers as people began to feel more involved and active, rather than a passive recipient. People involvement became one of the key for MTV‟s success, and this established a virtuous circle that strengthened MTV‟s brand equity. But just like every other program of different channels, MTV breakthrough soon reached its saturation point, where a re-innovation of its products were necessary to be around for a long term. Apparently it was becoming difficult to retain and satisfy its customer need just by showing music clips for twenty-four hours a day. Changing the format became necessary, and this has probably been one of the most challenging tasks to be taken care of by MTV. The most challenging part was that of changing the program format without changing or being consistent with its core business and values which MTV has successfully managed to achieve mostly. It introduced long-form music programs such as: 120 Minutes, Headbanger‟s ball, Unplugged which were dedicated to different genre. Eventually MTV tapped into long-form non music programs such as: House of Style, Butthead, The Real World and „Beavis and Butthead‟ giving a subtle but effective change to the MTV brand which shifted from an „all music related brand‟ to that of pop culture. MTV‟s lifelong reinforcement of its brand equity has wisely continued by following the costumer‟s response to its marketing actions, and introducing long-form program slightly different from the previous ones but still coherent with its values and its identity: TRL, Celebrity Death Match, and Jackass have given a new impulse to MTV, reaching new market targets such the 18-25 years old one, that balanced the MTV‟s massive 12 -17 years old audience, with a more balanced and stable result in a long term view. With its global expansion into the European and Asian markets, MTV realized that the US product were not feasible for the new markets as every region has its own distinctive taste for music. So to capture the global audience, MTV shifted its strategy from being a global to that of a domestic market one, that offered local content which cater to the regions taste and culture and eventually it became a benchmark for its future marketing policies. Being a true global media, it has a high reach to many household. During global and regional crisis, MTV emerge as a source of information and education for its viewers, evolving into more than a channel about music and culture. It helped in connecting the young viewer around the world on common but important concerns and built its credibility as a trusting source. All these actions have helped MTV to achieve an invaluable added value which is connected to and stems in its viewers‟ perceptions and awareness of the brand, and that several well established media company are constantly trying to pair to their brand, in order to attract more customers.
Sources of equity 1. Leading cable music channel, high availability 2. Numerous image associations, multiple genres of music represented 3. Sustainable long-form programming attracts repeated viewership 4. High ratings among key teenage demographic, particularly among females Changes over time 1. Represented fewer genres originally, but audience wasn‟t as fragmented then 2. Viewership not as heavily weighted toward young teenagers in past 3. Significantly less long-form programming in past, significantly more videos, less lifestyle element to channel early on
3) What is the role of music within MTV?
Over the years, the role of the music has constantly changed throughout in the MTV‟s programs portfolio. Started as an all music channel, its predominance of music based programs has gradually and smoothly given away for long-form program as the taste of its viewers changed constantly, but the music background is constantly present although in another form: the pop culture. These long-form programs such as sitcoms, realities show, TV-series with youngster‟s problems themes, all having „music/pop culture‟ background have strengthened the brand image of MTV over the years. Now music represents roughly around 25% of it total programs. It has shifted from a pure music network to that of one which is not just about music but every thing related to music or youth culture. Though MTV has evolved its programs over the years based on viewers taste, music is still a part of its image. It is all about youth culture and about connection and music is an integral part of it. The proof that music is MTV‟s core business and its brand identity is represented by the logo which has always borne the M (stands for music) on it although it has changed in its style throughout the years. In different regions around the world MTV‟s logo has became ubiquitous and instantly recognizable in popular pop or youth culture. It could be safely assumed that the MTV‟s logo responds to the key words to be effective: easily recognizable, inherently descriptive and persuasive. Changing strategy is important in a company‟s life, but should always remain consistent with its value, its history and with its customers‟ expectation which bears its identity in viewers mind and is its legacy. That the reason why such a popular logo such as MTV‟s need to bear the M on it and is still having it.
MTV Networks includes many sister channels such as Nickelodeon and Spike TV. How has MTV been positioned within this network versus the other channels? Is this the right strategy? What else would you do to optimize the MTV Network brand portfolio? In the U.S. after being acquired by Viacom Inc. in 1985, MTV Networks under its hood has numerous cable TV channels including Country Music Television (CMT), Nickelodeon, VH1, Comedy Central, and Spike TV. MTV Networks premiered „MTV2‟ dedicated to older audience for whom video viewing was important and „MTVu‟, a channel available only on college cable systems at 720 universities. As can be seen there are some commonalities among different sister channels of MTV network, which lays an emphasis on youth audiences, and on music and lifestyle programming etc. MTV has been positioned as the main channel and its sister channels focused on different genre which MTV was not able to cater to. In order to keep up its market share, it evolved and started long-form programs reducing the music content in its program. Also it was not able to concentrate on all kinds of music genre and to different viewers need. Mtv2, VH1 and VH1 Classic cover the part of the music genres not covered by MTV itself and played an important role to curb the early competition that MTV faced during the years. MTV Networks non music channels diversified in other area of youth entertainment. Nickelodeon was an animation, adventure comedy channel for kids of 2 to 11 years complementing MTV in its younger target audience. Spike-TV on the other hand was developed for men and shows programs which appeals to their life style where as Comedy Central is a 24 hours all comedy channel. The strategies adopted by MTV Network helped them to cater to the entire youth segment from kids to mid aged men and still maintaining its flagship channel MTV‟s image intact. Within its music sister channels, executives gave high priority so it‟s content so as not to minimize overlapping of contents and maximizing viewership. MTV Network strategies helped it to maximize its viewer base all over the world by addressing the entertainment need of the different section of its viewer. This in turn helps them in capturing a large audience thus giving them higher revenue opportunity by way of advertising. Though its entire sister channels are under one network and cater to the youth section, their names are different, without any visible connection to its main brand. This gives its viewer the perception that all these channels are different and its competitors. This is good for MTV as a channel to maintain its exclusive brand image without diluting it thus keeping a clear perception in the mind of its viewers. On the other side though, it limits the MTV Network brand portfolio as all these channels in its viewers perception is not clearly connected thus not giving the brand identity that is enjoyed by MTV. Not just to be under 5
one network but it should also try to come under one brand name so as to increase its brand image just like star network. It has different channel like movies, sports, family etc. catering to different audience and its entire channel have the same brand associated with it. Its channels are known as „star movies‟, „star sports‟, „star world‟ etc. this shows that all the channels are associated with each other and are under one network. This kind of association with its network will help in optimizing MTV Network‟s brand portfolio. 4) Technology is changing the way viewers watch television and interact with programs. Discuss the role of the Internet and technology within MTV. What has MTV done well to date to integrate technology with the brand and what else should MTV do?
Around the world teenagers and young adults turned to their local MTV channel or website to learn about more events and connect with others. The separate on air and online sections of MTV and MTV.com were developed to inform and empower young minds to take actions on issues like education, discrimination, sexual health, etc. The internet and MTV.com played a critical role in this connectivity. By 1999 MTV.com attracted more than 2 million visitors each month. MTV also established sites for MTV2 and for each of its international channels, they resembled the MTV.com site but content specifically designed for the local markets. MTV.com received a boost when the music industry came to recognize the internet as an excellent medium for music. They offered downloadable music at MTV.com for a fee and then after sometime made the service free for the MTV.com members. Then the brand launched MTV overdrive a web channel dedicated to streaming MTV programs, live performances, and music videos. It pioneered online broadcasting giving non cable subscribers to get involved with the brand, listen to music, meet the personalities, watch the programs and get involved with the communities hence giving customers more reasons to interact with brand.
MTV should on air or online should have some long duration programs so that the audience gets time to relate to the brand. They can start various contests online to keep in the interests of the viewers who would find something new in this. Special segments for cultural music or full programs of cultural music might help. Benefits to community members etc. Facebook or social networking sites are the easiest, most effective and popular way. 6
Internet builds for sense of community, active engagement for MTV brand resonance Used in viewer votes, scrolling chat boxes, links for more information Not as integrated into non-interactive content programs on MTV Not a high-traffic destination for music and info online
5) MTV Networks includes many sister channels such as Nickelodeon and Spike TV. How has MTV been positioned within this network versus the other channels? Is this the right strategy? What else would you do to optimize the MTV Network brand portfolio?
Yes. It was right strategy
MTV network positioned itself in fast growing nation, by targeting Asia China and st Mandarin .As MTV positioned itself 1 global brand to launch 24 hour TV channel in the country. After two years China nickelodeon channel targeted children 2 to 14 year old.MTV learnt key to success was „think and act locally‟. Furthermore, within MTV network executive needed to evaluate MTV‟s position relative to its sister channels, in order to maximize viewership and minimize overlap with other channels and website. Biggest challenge would be to remain relevant to its core audience of young consumer. According to me MTV network need to focus more on internet for brand portfolio, So that Dynamic programming and efficient advertising could be achieved .
VH1 adopted older positioning, in turn made MTV‟s positioning younger, generally positive affect on equity MTV2 played more music, made many viewers nostalgic for the way MTV “used to be,” potentially negative affect on equity Various genre-specific offshoots reflective of audience fragmentation, could lead to lower ratings for parent network but only available on satellite and digital cable networks at the time
6) Over the years, MTV has evolved from a channel about music to a channel about the culture of music to a channel about culture. What does the future hold for MTV — globally and domestically?
After developing a successful model, global and local competition is expected to get fierce. Students are encouraged to discuss the emerging competitors in this area. It is possible for MTV in the future to consider extending the brand to different products that are consistent with the “culture” theme. MTV might consider using the internet and the new technological channels to reinforce the strength of the brand.