Low-rated broadcast networks need it more than ever, and even a top-rated kids cable networks could use it: that is, a new brand image.
Jeff Gaspin, the newly named chairman of NBC Universal Entertainment, has already talked about how NBC needs a rebranding. Kids TV leader Nickelodeon says it'll be rebranding, changing its longtime red "splat" logo for all its channels -- Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Nicktoons, Nick Jr., Noggin and TeenNick.
TV networks are looking to beef up in other areas -- marketing new programming efforts like Fox's large-scale dating show "More to Love." TV executives must believe a big waistline will boost seemingly dieting TV program ratings. (Fox only had to look at NBC's successful "The Biggest Loser" franchise for validation.)
But all that is not enough. New and bigger branding efforts are needed -- perhaps networkwide -- to stir TV viewers.
TV networks should take a hint from the recent efforts of car manufacturers, who haven't totally turned their backs on marketing during this recession. Instead, they are telling consumers -- humbly -- that they want to be better companies.
TV critics will says there are tons of good dramas on TV, that this is the so-called "golden age of drama." But perhaps marketing could have saved some of those quality shows cancelled, including "Life," "Eli Stone," "Life on Mars," "Lipstick Jungle," and "Swingtown."
Less commercial inventory sold during this upfront means more opportunity for -- you know what -- TV show promotion and marketing!
TV advertising executives always love to tell clients that, especially in depressed economic times, marketing budgets should not be cut. That should go double for the networks themselves.
The recession isn't going away so fast. New relationships with consumers need to be established and nurtured.