Michael J. Fox is a powerful figure in the worlds of entertainment, inspiration and philanthropy. An extraordinary comic actor and a courageous champion of finding a cure for Parkinson’s, Fox is coming “home” to NBC to star in a new show that is loosely based on his life. This is a coup for NBC who’s entertainment programming ranks 4th in the ratings these days.
Diane Gordon, the publisher of the TV industry newsletter The Surf Report said, “As NBC tries to redefine its brand, Fox is a touchstone to many viewers who watched NBC in the ’80s,” Although those viewers are older now, she said, “NBC knows the public already loves him and is interested in him.”
In working with entertainment brands we’ve found that all too often they have a tendency to believe that a single product, act or character will mean salvation and will effect brand turn-around. But to us, this feels like a Hail Mary pass that we simply wouldn’t want any client to have to throw. Make no mistake about it, a great product can deliver substantial business value in the short-term, but effecting brand turn-around is bigger than any single product and is better revenue insurance for the long-term.
Strong brands resonate by connecting directly to a universal human ambition. Proof of this is USA Network, a brand built on the notion that we are all flawed. By exposing us to “characters” who are not perfect but who have a tendency to embrace life with a quirky and often unwarranted optimism, we find comfort, familiarity, inspiration and more than a few laughs.
In the world of entertainment, no one has demonstrated this better than Bonnie Hammer who built USA Network into a great brand by curating programming (a suite of products) around a deeply meaningful and resonant human truth. Hammer has achieved consistent success in building brands by creating brand filters to ensure everyone in the organization not only understands what the brand is about, but also knows exactly how to execute with consistent, resonant, on-brand behavior.
We’re looking forward to a new season of television programming and we’ll be watching for more news on what NBC will be doing not only to bring us great entertainment, but to define itself as a brand so it doesn’t have to go long and hope that it can resurrect itself with a single, star-tossed pass.
The articles that inspired this post: