NBC’s Brand: Clear as Mud


I’ve frequently stressed, and posted on MarcRudov.com, this maxim: If the brand is murky to employees, investors, partners, customers, and suppliers, they’ll redefine it in whatever ways suit them — killing revenues, causing wars between marketing and sales, and putting the CEO’s neck on the line.

CEOs of large and small companies tell me that make-it-up-as-you-go-along branding is indeed one of their biggest headaches. It adds time and cost to closing deals. Alas, few try to fix it — they just spend ever-more money on sales.

To wit: At a recent NBC press conference about Jay Leno’s new TV show, Angela Bromstad, president of primetime entertainment, and Paul Telegdy, head of unscripted programming, couldn’t articulate NBC’s brand:

Paul Telegdy: “Well, that’s something that we have spent a lot of research and focus on, in terms of core pillars on what is and where is it an NBC show. We refer to certain key identifying characteristics of NBC shows, that they be human first, deal with real people, people that our cast, our viewers identify with, that are fundamentally positive and that embraces our comedy brand but also, an optimism…”

Angela Bromstad: “The returning shows that we have sort of lived up to, that legacy that NBC has always stood for. I think we have fallen short in the past couple of years, and it is our goal to bring back those high-quality, sophisticated drama and comedies and a brand of alternative that fits into that.”

Wha-a-a-a-t? Core pillars? I have no idea what all that gobbledygook means; neither did the execs uttering it nor the media professionals hearing it. This is no way to run a business.
Rx from The WhiteNoise Doctor

The CEO must demand a unique, concise, compelling, gut-grabbing, memorable brand — and make it priority #1, not delegate it and hope for the best.

NBC cannot define itself, as Bromstad and Telegdy proved. Why? Its brand’s as clear as mud, and CEO Jeffrey Zucker’s neck is on the line.


About the Author

Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs,
producer of MarcRudovTV, and author of the book,
Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding.


© 2009 Marc H. Rudov. All Rights Reserved.


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