Reinvention is always a challenge, especially for traditional “we’ve always done it that way” institutions.
That probably describes the Television Bureau of Advertising, an organization founded in the early 1950’s that is trying to rebrand itself and simultaneously, re-establish its value to both TV stations and advertisers.
Step one is to start using the same shorthand that the media industry has used for years – TVB, instead of the more formal Television Bureau of Advertising. (Think KFC, NPR, FedEx, and Mickey D’s – all brands that have shifted their brand names to reflect the way customers talk about them.)
A key focus for the TVB is to rethink its entire mission. As its new president, Steven Lanzano notes, “We sat down and asked, ‘What would TVB be if we created it today?’”
That’s a tough question that any traditional business – media or otherwise – could and should be asking. In the TVB’s case, it’s going about its reinvention by making the following moves:
- Digital platforms – The TVB is trying to get advertisers to grasp the notion that its stations offer more than just spots. Digital subchannels, mobile apps, and various websites are all part of the menus that sales organizations should be packaging for advertisers.
- Advertiser Input – To function in a less insular way, TVB has created an advisory board with advertisers and agencies, including AT&T, Toyota, and Kraft Foods. In this way, they can work together to develop strategies that work for both ends of the advertising spectrum (and in the process, gain the buy-in from advertisers).
- Biz dev – A new wing of TVB will be to go after new business opportunities using television platforms. Thus, TVB will represent TV stations in the acquisition of new sponsors and advertisers.
- Web resources – TVB is committing to beefed up web content development via a new site that will be unveiled next month.
The good news for TVB is that television advertising is making a comeback. So these moves may be well-timed to take advantage of an influx of cash. Impressively, rather than just exhale about the recovery, the television industry is going on the offensive, using the opportunity to remake itself through these efforts by TVB.
And that brings us to the inevitable questions about the RAB. As we look at the state of advertising in the radio industry as the recession dust clears, many of the same factors impacting television are happening in our parallel universe.
We’re looking forward to experiencing the combined forces of both RAB and NAB at this week’s convention in D.C. While still the industry’s main gathering, a lot has changed in the past few years. And the integration of these two industry entities to produce a single convention is the first sign that change is in the air. Jeff Haley has long been focused on digital initiatives, so it will be interesting to see how this new permutation of "The Radio Show" plays out.
We’ll be on the lookout for more tangible signs in our reports from “The Radio Show” in this space and on Twitter (@fnjacobs).