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Branding's all about creating & communicating a message

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MUMBAI: Branding is not just about marketing, but is also about creating an image, which communicates with clients and viewers alike. And, when it comes to a TV channel, branding becomes that much more important.

So, next time you see a TV channel creating a new brand identity through promos and advertisements or even a non-media company undertake a branding exercise, be assured that some serious work has gone behind the concept. It's another thing that not all branding strategies manage to click and connect with viewers.

The importance of visuals and graphics on TV channels was well brought out at a Frames session, aptly and whackily titled 'Around the World in 60 Minutes,' by Promax Asia Director Monica Wong today.

During a presentation, laced liberally with visuals to back her assertions, Wong observed, "Television promotions at its best is vital to let the viewers watch the promos or ads and identify (with them) without swapping channels during the breaks."

In the Indian scenario, it becomes more important because of the clutter in the TV space---- 178 channels vying for attention, according to her --- in a market that has the potential to grow and be a big revenue earner.

Nevertheless, she said, it's also important to learn interacting with prospective clients, or anyone else with whom one comes in contact as communication is part of a the business strategy too; just like communicating through branding exercise.

Stressing on various aspects of branding, which means a lot to the creators, marketers, planners etc., Wong said that conceptualisation of an idea, it's scripting, and editing and mixing the sounds properly are all important ingredients.

Illustrating her point that good promos could be hard hitting too, Wong cited the example of a promo for a BBC programme, Hitting Home, which beams on the broadcaster's domestic service in the UK.

The ad for this particular programme ran on a slow-motion format backwards (from last frame to the first frame). The ad featured a child crying and the last frame being parents sitting across a dinner table eating. Got the picture? It was about domestic violence.

"The BBC programme, projecting domestic violence, was chosen for its message being subtle, while the idea was comprehendible, which impacted the viewer," Wong said.

In a yet another illustration, a Channel [V] promo, called Dance Space..., was taken up. The ad was conceptualised by thinking out of the box for something that is aired on the box. It had a man dancing in a glass case in the middle of the road watched by passers-by with amazement written all over their faces. To know and understand the experience of the man in the glass case, one has to step inside, which is done by passersby one by one.

The creative, according to Wong, was enough to conjure up images about space. The message: here is a channel that provides you, the viewer, with your own space with music and dance. The process of transforming and translating the idea into something worthwhile is essential, which is not possible without a proper script, Wong said, driving home the importance.

Sometime, Wong said, humour too is used very tellingly, to hammer in a point and cited the example of a Terminator film promo on Channel 5. The ad was shot in a bar where a young lady was awaiting for a blind date who turns out to be the Terminator (Arnie, who is now governor of Texas state in the US) asking not for a date, but the lady's attire.

This promo, Wong said, was unique as it did not use footage from the film, but told viewers in an unusual way that the action sci-fi would air tonight and would be as good a blind date. "Blending humour is considered very essential to make viewers laughs," Wong explained, adding that it leaves a stronger impression on people's minds.

The session also dwelt on the importance of usage of songs in promos and other branding activities. An American crime-based programme show, Cops, was well illustrated with a song 'Get(s) you one way or the other... '

At the end of it all --- visuals, sound effects, et al --- what was the

session trying to tell? A promo or a branding exercise is a team game where every player essays his or her part to the perfection with an aim to transform good words into equally good visuals. A synchronized game of moulding an idea, a script, a design, a marketing strategy and, above all, imagination into a shape that will communicate a message.

Is it all worth it? Wong feels it certainly is: "Proper branding creates loyalty."

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