Brand Talk | Columbia Center on Global Brand Leadership
Brand Talk: insights on how to build strong brands
October 15, 2009
Thanks for the speaker submissions to BRITE '10
In This Issue:
Be Creative with Your Audience and Revenue Will Follow (read)
What the FTC Can Do To Fix Its Assault on Free Speech (read)
Call for Volunteers: Interviews with Global Brand Managers (read)
Four Steps to Launch a Brand into a New Category (read)
More Reading (read)
For Your Amusement (read)
Be Creative with Your Audience and Revenue Will Follow

Traditional television outlets are under pressure as consumers look for, and now expect, great video content from the Internet. The efforts of these players to keep their consumers engaged in the online world offers general lessons for those looking to “monetize the audience, not the content,” as Fred Wilson has aptly put it.

Lisa Hsia, Senior VP, New Media & Digital at Bravo TV, discussed her efforts to build Bravo’s online presence while speaking at BRITE ’09 [video here].

My job is to try to interact and engage our users before the program, during the program, after the program and always, and my job is not only to interact and engage but my job is really to monetize. ... When I was at NBC news you know it was like, “this is a higher calling.”  No. This is about money.

And just how does she do this?  Through “constant experimentation and trying to figure out the user.” Although it isn’t all experimentation, Lisa noted that there are constants that drive audience interaction: photos, videos and blog posts. Her experiments come through different treatments of these resources and how they promote actions, like text message polling and paid content downloads.

In addition, based on the success of online polls and chats that occur during broadcast re-runs of Bravo’s shows like Top Chef, Lisa went back to her advertisers and suggested the development of interactive features for their banner ads. She noted that this is a trend the advertising industry is moving towards, but by showing the audience's engagement with the shows, she helped push advertisers along.

To meet her “always” engaging the audience objective, Lisa developed affinity groups, e.g. “Bravo for foodies” and “Bravo for style,” which maintain a more constant level of interaction and permit additional opportunities for partnerships, sponsorships and advertising development.

An online audience needs additional content, so costs can be a concern, but Lisa noted that for a 7-part webisode series spun out of “Make Me a Supermodel” she spent a mere $2,000.  (Note the audible gasp from the audience in the video.)  This combination of online activities yields tens of millions of dollars of additional revenue to Bravo.

It is true that the reality TV shows which dominate the Bravo line-up are ideally suited to online engagement. Lisa’s efforts demonstrate, however, that by being efficient and creative you can excite your audience, and drive deeper connections that lead to additional brand or advertising revenue.
What the FTC Can Do To Fix Its Assault on Free Speech

The Federal Trade Commission has published new regulations that will fine bloggers up to $11,000 if they endorse a product without disclosing any free samples or other compensation that they received.

In a new blog post, David Rogers argues that the FTC has fundamentally misunderstood the nature of the Internet. Trying to regulate all blogs and social media, he argues, is equivalent to trying to regulate all speech printed on paper – newspapers, office memos, classroom handouts, post-its, and handwritten notes on your kitchen fridge.

Hopefully the FTC will quickly kill its regulation, and not force the courts to rule on the precedent it is setting. But if they feel the need for regulation at all, Rogers suggests that the FTC make four changes to the new rules…

Read more here.
Call for Volunteers: Interviews with Global Brand Managers

Our colleagues at the Universities of Michigan and Hawaii are working on a research project and seek your help. They want to see whether or not global marketers perceive a need to create global brands that, while standardized to lower costs, contain built-in ways in which local consumers can "co-create" local meanings into them. In their first research phase, the professors are conducting phone interviews with a few headquarters-level Global Brand Managers. 

Companies and managers participating in this research project will get early results and analysis from a larger survey that will follow in the second phase. Company/brand information of all study participants will be masked to avoid publishing anything that is confidential. If you can assist in this research, please contact Professor Rajeev Batra at:

Four Steps to Launch a Brand into a New Category

When Starbucks unveiled plans to launch its instant brew Via, the reaction seemed to be a nearly unanimous HUH? Why would a company responsible for turning so many people into gourmet coffee disciples promote a down-market product that seems to be the antithesis of its brand?

In an interview for BNET magazine, David Rogers discusses some of the strategies he feels are best suited for launching a brand into a new category, using Starbucks effort with Via as a case example:

  1. Decide on the brand name
  2. Show product innovation
  3. Invest in communication
  4. Target core customer niches
Click here to read the full article.
More Reading
Business Ethics—A Religious Perspective
It’s Time for the NY Tech Community to Brand Itself
(BRITE Blog)
Useful Business/Personal Web Apps (most are free or cheap!)
How Companies Are Using Communities: Results from the 2009 Tribalization of Business Study
(Beeline Labs & Deloitte)
Gary Vaynerchuk: Why You Should Follow Your Passion, Not the Market
(BusinessWeek Video)
For Your Amusement
Is It a Cheese, Or Is It a Font? Test Your Wits!
Why the French Can't Translate IT
Got Milkquarious? [Video]
(California Milk Processors)

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