Slow down, catch your breath and grab another cup of coffee, because today we’re talking about public television. Hugh Brian O’Neill has been the director of brand management and creative services at Nashville Public Television for more than 12 years. But before that, O’Neill headed up broadcast branding, advertising and promotion at major-market, network affiliates […]
Slow down, catch your breath and grab another cup of coffee, because today we’re talking about public television.
Hugh Brian O’Neill has been the director of brand management and creative services at Nashville Public Television for more than 12 years. But before that, O’Neill headed up broadcast branding, advertising and promotion at major-market, network affiliates in Baltimore, Boston and Philadelphia. With that deep background in public and commercial television, O’Neill is uniquely positioned to talk to us about what’s different and what’s the same in both worlds.
Over the years, I’ve seen and admired O’Neill’s work. And since I was curious about the challenges a creative services manager in public TV might face versus what those same people face in commercial television, I asked him to show us some examples and address those issues.
Take it away, Mr. O’Neill:
“Like the commercial world, we look at ‘overnights’ and smile and groan, but what really drives us is delivering a commercial-free television service with an educational mission that has real and lasting benefits for the viewer. Despite the differences with local, commercial stations, there are similar marketing objectives: (1) to build a strong local identity and brand loyalty; (2) to increase ratings and viewer frequency; (3) and to promote interesting programs. The creative approach, however, is a different story when it comes to public television.
Here are some of the key ways we deliver our branding messages at Nashville Public Television (NPT).
NPT often collaborates with local content partners (i.e., the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Belmont University) in productions. Collaborative partnerships provide a wonderful opportunity to promote the brand, the service and the partnerships. And these promos double as marketing tools for development.”
“Another tool in the branding toolbox is membership and donor development. This campaign with a “real” spokesperson — NPT President-CEO Beth Curley — speaks to our viewers, donors and underwriters about our valued content and asks to support what’s good for all.”
“Viewer testimonials give NPT a local identity that also contains universal messages. We hold a mirror up to the community. These testimonials are inevitably more engaging when we dig deep, directly match viewer’s passions and interest with our program subjects, and tell a compelling story.”
“For NPT, branding is not just about the station. It’s about how our audience perceives the brand, viewer benefits and how the brand relates to their lives. We want them to nod their head and say ‘yep, that’s me’!
“These on-air creative marketing strategies, along with our sustained commitment to satisfy our viewers appetite for great history, nature and local programming, have helped build NPT into an integral part of life in Nashville and into one of the highest-rated, most innovative public television stations in the nation.”