4.2 Research Question 1 (RQ1): What is the role of brand management within
4.2.2 Creation of a media brand
Existing literature clearly identifies the importance of creating strong brands (De Chernatony et al. 2010; Kapferer 2012; Forster 2015). The creation of a brand is known to involve a management process which delivers a value proposition representing what the company, product or service stands for (Chernatony et al.
2010). Brand management is the structured approach by which brands are created (Berthon et al. 2008). Although the creation of brands is recognised as critical, there is still a need for further understanding of this in the context of media organisations (Malmelin and Moisander 2014).
From the data it was found that all of the UK media organisations in the sample were engaging in some brand management activity to create corporate media brands.
This is illustrated from the following respondents:
“we are (create) Mindshare, that’s the brand..”
Senior Account planner, Mindshare
“Global is on a journey to become (create) a brand in itself. In the B2C space it will be (create) an endorser brand, Global is the stamp of quality, we will have a house of Brands with a strong endorser brand. In B2B we tell them we are a Media Entertainment company.”
Chief Marketing Officer, Global Entertainment Group
In addition, it was clear from the data that the brand architecture approach adopted by the majority of UK media organisations was that of a branded house, whereby sub brands have the same or a different yet identifiable identity to the corporate media brand. Examples of this can be seen from the following participants:
“you have the master brand BBC but then you also have BBC News, BBC iPlayer, BBC Sounds, so there’s lot of brands within but they have their own of cloak of identity that’s connected to the master brand but also, they’re distinctive and different …. those sub-brands are extensions of the master and nothing can really conflict with what were overall actually trying to do (create).”
Senior Product Manager, BBC iplayer
“some of our other channels, the music channels, are magazine brands. We launched (create) a Heat TV channel a couple of years ago, and Kiss is a radio band and we used to have Smash Hits and we still have Kerrang! and Magic another radio brand…the types and variety of content we create (create ) … it’s always presented in the 4Music tone (identity).”
Head of Production, 4Music
“the work we’ve been doing at the moment is about how you make (create) all those different sub-brands are drawing on particular parts of that master brand.”
Marketing Director, Sky
The data adds further support to the large body of literature (King 1991; Balmer 1995; Ind 1997; Hatch and Schultz 2001), which has identified the prominence and relevance of corporate brands. We can clearly see from the data that the creation of a corporate media brand is seen to have value for UK media organisations. This
126 supports the existing view that a corporate brand provides competitive advantage (Simoes et al.2005; Balmer and Gray 2005) and that when dealing with intangible offerings more emphasis is placed on the company as a brand (De Chernatony and McDonald 2005). The data also provides additional support to the emerging body of research relating to the relevance of creating corporate brands in a B2B context (Beverland et al. 2007; Kopercic and Halinen 2018). A clear company proposition is both marketed and used to build relationships with other businesses.
In the context of media organisations, this data adds to the smaller yet growing knowledge about the importance of media branding (Chan-Olmsted 2011; Siegert et al. 2015). It supports the findings by Förster (2011) which identified that in the UK, TV stations tended to put emphasis on their corporate brand; and that by Singh (2010) and Singh and Oliver (2015) which stipulated the benefit that a corporate brand could have for selling TV formats in a global market. In addition it sheds new insight into the area of B2B branding of media organisations which to date has been very much neglected (Baumann 2015). It identifies that UK media organisations are taking B2B branding (e.g to secure advertising) seriously.
The data also identified the benefit for UK media organisations of adopting the branded house brand architecture approach, whereby the corporate media brand is leveraged into additional services, products and experiences. This supports core brand literature (Keller 1999; Aaker 2004) and media brand literature (Drinkwater and Uncles 1992; Chang 2005; Förster 2011; Doyle 2015) which cites that leveraging a corporate media brand has a number of benefits and can help create a portfolio of brands which provide greater value. This approach to brand architecture provides further insight into how UK media organisations are structuring their brand portfolios
127 (Wolff 2006; Förster 2011) countering some of the current academic discussion
which questions the on-going relevance of having a strong corporate media brand (Chan-Olmsted and Shay 2015). If anything, the data indicates that the corporate media brand is more relevant not less.
In summary, the data supports the strong body of existing evidence which relays both the virtues of creating a strong corporate media brand and for creating media brands which sit independently, yet connected, under the corporate media brand. The
branded house architectural concept is very much apparent. It also clarifies any existing doubt that brand management in UK media organisations has progressed beyond being about short term tactical initiatives, and the creation of media brands is very much a strategic remit (Chan-Olmsted 2011; Siegert et al. 2015) and is not showing any sign of diminishing in importance. This insight aligns to the conceptual framework, supporting the notion that brand management involves structured practices.