An analysis I wrote for my brand management course together with Remo Herzog, Delia Pindei and Lisa van der Zweep in 2010.
Part 1/4 – MTV and Their Brand Image
The MTV brand has progressed over the years but it’s core values are still intact within their brand. The MTV brand started out with a focus on the music where it helped to launch the visual impact of bands through music videos. They created stars and termed new expressions like VJ (Video Jockey) and quickly differentiated their product from the competitors. By having a first-mover advantage they were the TV-channel to go to in order to promote your music. They managed to build up their brand and be an important channel for promotion where “artists where demanding to have their own videos played on MTV”
Eventually the brand shifted into more long-form programming in order to capture their audience for longer periods of time. This shifted their brand to become more about the culture surrounding the music. More and more competition arose from new technology where consumption of music happened more and more online. MTV where fairly fast in establishing a digital presence but didn’t manage to acquire Myspace which became a serious threat to their online brand.
MTV made a third change of focus and turned more into being about “culture”. With it’s global presence as being one of largest TV networks in the world with more than 100 channels in 167 countries they were able to become the spot for youths to find information about current events. The brand portfolio has been diversified over the years to reach different segments more effectively and was split in 2005 into a slow-growth and a high growth part. In 2010 the MTV logo changed and no longer contained the tag-line “Music Television” to further emphasize their shift away from the pure music. By focusing more on programs that were “culture” shows and not only music they have managed to maintain a strong brand and currently rank on place 55 on Interbrand‘s 2010 ranking.
Throughout their changes of focus MTV has managed to keep it’s core values intact. They are a channel for the younger generation that constantly provokes and stays on the edge of new concepts. By having a brand aiming at pop culture they constantly have to reinvent themselves in order to stay current and “cool”. One of the bigger challenges for them is managing to keep growing since when something becomes too popular it is no longer considered to be “cool”.
They have managed to establish themselves among the top 10 brands on Facebook with more than 9.4M followers. On Twitter they fall a bit behind the big brands coming on a weak 325th place with slightly more than 930’000 followers. This is probably due to the demographic population of Twitter which tends to be slightly higher and thus might fall outside MTV’s target group.
MTV remains a strong brand within the youth segment but needs to constantly evolve in order to maintain their position with new changes emerging. The brand associations are strong since they are attached to a certain target-group (youths) that is very desirable to reach for many advertisers. The adolescence and early adulthood that MTV reaches are important for establishing enduring preferences for a specific type of brand that might follow a person throughout his life.
[Pic: christianisthedj, CC-BY-ND]