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    This is the personal blog of Simon Kendrick and covers my interests in media, technology and popular culture. All opinions expressed are my own and may not be representative of past or present employers
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The power of successful rebranding

Rebranding can be a large scale venture. Rebranding can be a small scale venture. Some rebrands work. Some don’t.

Successful rebrands don’t have to be complete overhauls. They can be minor tweaks – a new campaign, or a new logo for instance.

Look at Dave. It was the same channel, and had minimal schedule change (I believe Whose Line is it Anyway was the only addition). But a new name (moving from the rather forgettable G2, which people would confuse with a +1 channel) and a new platform (moving to Freeview) resulted in a hugely successful relaunch.

Dave is now the 4th most popular multi-channel station, behind ITV2, ITV3 and E4 but ahead of G.O.L.D – its former parent station.

Small, targeted changes give impetus. And impetus matters – check out the ratings for King of the Hill. The announcement of its forthcoming cancellation reminded people that it was still on air – there is now an impetus to watch it while it lasts.

A change of figurehead can signal a new impetus. CEOs regularly come and go in order to appease stakeholders. To take one example, Steve Jobs’ return to Apple paid huge dividends – Jon Steel has a nice account of this in Perfect Pitch.

And to take another; America has just elected a new President. A President with fresh impetus running on a platform of hope and change.

barack-obama-hope

I’m hopeful that there will be a successful change.

sk

Thoughts on the Daily Sport relaunch

As has been reported, the Daily Sport is to undergo a phased relaunch. It certainly needs one, but the proprieters aren’t going far enough.

The quandary is something Seth Godin mentioned in a recent post – should one target those that currently buy the product or those that don’t? ABC figures give the Daily Sport an average circulation of 100,000 people across the last 12 months – not quite the 3,000,000 or so that The Sun gets, but a reasonable number to forecast revenues from. As was mentioned by Robin Wright in my previous post differentiated continuity is required to avoid alienating the present consumers. But given that 100,000 readers gives around a 1% market share, I think it should look towards the 99% (or 47% if you only count men) that don’t buy it.

For me, the Daily Sport’s image problems are too deep – it needs surgery. Quick, deep and precise surgery. The young men it will most likely be targeting won’t remember the 80’s heyday of the Sunday Sport, with the outlandish stories (sample headline: “Aliens turned my son into a fish finger”). They will associate upskirt photographs of soap “stars” and glamour models with the paper – editorial, and even sport, are secondary at best. A soft relaunch will make it more difficult to overcome these perceptions.

Sunday Sport

However I think the general conceit is a good one. Choice quotes of the Nuts/Zoo/Bravo/Sky Sports repositioning include:

“It is unashamedly for ‘the boys’, all boys, majoring on sport, girls and a bloke’s-eye view of the world … essentially what other tabloids used to be before they went mainstream and started trying to please everyone with a more feminine and gossipy stance.” – Barry McIlheney, Editor-In-Chief

“They are risqué not offensive, original, opinionated, quirky and unashamed of their adult content. And while at times they will also be politically incorrect, our research shows this is a breath of fresh air to our target readership.” – James Brown, Consultant Editor-In-Chief

Despite some sniffy commentary, I can see it working.  A significant minority of the population are still not online, and not everyone works in an office or somewhere where they have Internet access.  These people will be the core audience. Saying that, the Daily Sport must be one of the few media companies in the current age that doesn’t have a (working) website. That is something that needs to be rectified, no matter how basic it is.

There is also room for a more laddish editorial tone. Tabloids are more celebrity focused than ever, and despite The Sun’s rather weak changes to Bizarre this does tend to attract the female audience. Jokey editorial and plenty of sport and women can act as a communal social object that men can discuss in canteens or in the pub. By the looks of today’s cover (Lucy Pinder NUDE inside), the pictures aren’t going to be any less provocative, but that only makes it analagous to Nuts and Zoo.

But it will be a hard sell – both to the public and the city. That the NRS do not report on readership is no surprise – despite softer content, the Daily Sport is akin to pornography. Which is why I think a relaunch is a good idea, but a total rebranding would have been a better one.

sk