SVP Director of Television
MTV Networks UK and Ireland
Who do you think are the up-and-coming brands that will soon compete on a global stage?
What is remarkable about today is that new brands compete so quickly on a global stage. Look at the success of Facebook, for instance. As a brand, I believe it will continue to compete as it has demonstrated an ability to innovate and develop, which will keep it ahead of others. The explosion of Twitter and how quickly it has become pivotal to our audience’s lives suggest it will compete on a global stage for time to come. Also, brands like BlackBerry already do compete, but they seem to understand their audience and have clarity of vision, which means they will become even bigger players on the global stage.
How do you see the marketing of brands changing in the next five to 10 years?
We’ve seen a huge shift in marketing principles over the last few years. We have moved from traditional brand marketing to a place where our relationship with the consumer is rooted much more in an ongoing dialogue – creating an authentic community where brands work together with their consumers to customize and co-create. I believe these are the brand marketing foundations that will continue into the next two years and beyond that. Now and going forward, it is about putting the consumer at the heart of your brand’s activity. For us, it is about working with our fans and super-fans and ensuring that we offer them a richer experience around the content they love and in turn, us learning from them.
The whole idea of authenticity is a new trend that we are seeing, which I believe is set to continue. The challenge for the next few years will be how brands take all these principles and bring them to life in the most meaningful way. Not every brand has mastered these new principles as well as some – Nike and Apple stand out in this area – and as the world of digital and social media continues to evolve, I see the marketing of brands evolve too.
At the same time, there are unchanging fundamentals about the marketing of brands that shouldn’t be forgotten in the excitement of the new digital landscape. Successful campaigns like comparethemarket.com’s “Compare the Meerkats,” for example, demonstrate that the core of effective brand marketing remains constant – entertain the audience and they will love your brand.
What MTV UK has learned the hard way is that you can’t control the online space from a marketing perspective. This is the space where your audience takes control and makes decisions about your brand. As an example, we launched a new channel in October 2009, VIVA, with a 20-second, week-long TV campaign that used the catchphrase “up your viva.” We now have 1.1 million people on our VIVA Facebook site, which was created by our fans. We found that if fans like your brand then they will build it for you online. However, forcing the brand onto consumers is the wrong strategy.
Another key shift in the marketing of brands that I envisage continuing is brand co-partnerships. Retail brands have effectively leveraged this with designer brands creating lines for retail brands. At MTV we work with partners and share each other’s assets and together we reach both our audiences in a mutual and beneficial way. I think these are the types of marketing principles that are set to continue.
How do you expect the changing role of digital marketing to influence your brand strategy?
At MTV, the changing role of digital marketing means that there are potentially more new opportunities to reach our audiences in different ways. Our vision is to be where our audiences are and digital innovations offer us new ways to reach our audience and engage with them. We launched our free news app this year and one million people engage with it weekly. The digital space allows us to have a much more dynamic – and deeper –relationship with our audience and understand their desires, which evolves our brand strategy. But we have learned that digital innovation offers opportunities to implement our brand strategy and isn’t a strategy in itself. And just to add, the digital world is a new one and MTV is a champion of experimentation so we do endeavor to get involved with new initiatives, knowing some will fail but others will succeed.
What points can you share from your experiences that contribute in building a successful brand?
It always starts with understanding our audience and making this a priority. The online space has provided a fabulous opportunity for our brand to meaningfully connect with our audience in their spaces. We know that they want to connect with our brand and connect on multiple platforms and by ensuring we are in those spaces has been crucial to our success – be it on TV, mobile, social networks, iTunes. The key point to our success however, is that we have learned what is successful through experimentation. At times things fail and the key point is to learn quickly and adopt.
For a brand like MTV, it is also about coming up with new ideas so you get your brand talked about: not taking ourselves too seriously and being creative and getting out there.
For us, it is about understanding this trend of “nowism” where consumers want things today, so we just get out there and test new things.
How does your brand influence the decisions made at your organization?
The brand is at the heart of everything we do at MTV. We have a mantra “Only MTV” and the first question anyone asks before embarking on content creation, commercial initiatives down to our own internal communication is: What differentiation do we have that makes it “only MTV”?
What advice do you have for marketers at other companies who are facing similar challenges that you face?
Embrace the new. Experiment with new technologies and networks and figure out what works best. Partner with brands that understand this new world better than you and learn from them.
Kerry Taylor has recently adopted the role of Director of television, music and comedy channels, MTV Networks UK and Ireland, while Heather Jones is on maternity leave. In this role, Kerry holds overall responsibility for content and creativity across the music and comedy channel portfolio at MTV Networks UK & Ireland. Kerry now oversees and manages all areas of business, from strategy through to production, across 10 - MTV, VH1 and VIVA - branded channels, as well as maintaining the overall direction of the 4 Comedy Central channels.
Kerry Taylor joined MTV UK as Vice President, Marketing, Creative & Consumer Press in September 2007. In this role, Kerry was responsible for executing the creative vision and strategy for MTV's ten-pack of channels to MTV's audiences both on and off-air, and headed up the Marketing, Publicity, Events & Partnerships and Creative divisions.
Before joining MTV UK Kerry was Director, Creative, Marketing & On-Air for Living TV and previous to that appointment she worked at Virgin Media (formally Flextech) across Living TV, Bravo, Trouble, Challenge and FTN. She has also worked at the BBC and for Star TV in Hong Kong.