MASTERPIECE/ WGBH, Boston / WGBH / 2021
We’re a pioneer of public media broadcasting local TV and radio. We’re also the largest content creator for PBS, a partner to NPR and PRX, and the home of PBS Learning Media, providing curricula to millions of teachers and students in the U.S.
Our content is available anytime, anywhere, on any platform. But, our identity consisted of broadcast call letters designed by Chermayeff & Geismar in the early 1970s. Our mark and audio sting were iconic, but we needed to signal a future untethered to broadcast with a mark that popped in digital environments without abandoning the beloved aspects of our brand.
Our $150,000 budget was kept low by completing much of the finishing work with our amazing in-house creative and marketing teams.
The scale and volume was massive. We changed our name, logo, architecture and market positioning, which trickled down through hundreds of digital, physical and broadcast assets.
Our brand relevance is deep, iconic, even meme-worthy. We created the DIY genre with Julia Child and This Old House as well as iconic programs such as Arthur and ZOOM that span generations. We invented Closed Captioning and were the first to broadcast tennis. We produce Masterpiece, the home of British dramas such as “Downton Abbey” and “All Creatures Great and Small”; NOVA, the #1 watched science program in America; FRONTLINE, America's top long-form news and current affairs series that has won every major journalism and broadcasting award; Antiques Roadshow, the most popular program on public television; and American Experience, a history series producing programs and Oscar-nominated documentaries such as Last Days in Vietnam.
But broadcast audiences are older and mostly white. To reach those who are younger and more diverse, our content must become native to new platforms and engaging to new demographics. Our brand identity needed to
Our logo shifted from horizontal/blue to square/purple with a color system and new brand architecture. We retained the recognizable parts of our brand: the “drop shadow” and our sting.
Our 300+ design touchpoints included websites; print collateral; social media channels/handles; products; programs; titles; studios; services; newsletters; Zoom backgrounds; merchandise; on-air promos and credits; video title cards and watermarks. We’ll update our physical plants post-COVID.
Our agency suggested the concept, design, color scheme and architecture. Our internal team revised the letterforms, hues, architecture, brand manual and created all materials.
We revamped our member magazine to be less of a TV guide, living our “Beyond Broadcast” tagline. We used PR, email signatures and communication, explainer and promo videos, digital advertising and display, virtual events, social media campaigns, employee webinars.
People across North America of every demographic have been exposed to our new brand (and content) hundreds of millions of times.
Many young people don’t own TVs or cars (where most radio is consumed). In the age of Netflix and Amazon, why would they be interested in a brand that looks like an old fashioned local broadcaster? We shifted the brand perception to that of national content creator, but retained the sound and visual cues attached to programming audiences have loved and know they can trust.
In the seven months since this re-brand rolled out, our streaming numbers across many content types have hit record numbers, some with triple digit increases, proving that we are growing awareness Beyond Broadcast.
Our message is resonating. Despite the pandemic, membership revenue has remained quite strong and we are significantly ahead in new business this fiscal year compared to this time last year. Large national sponsors kept their buys even while cutting back on other national media.