About This Branding Strategy. This Branding Strategy was prepared by UXB (Unexploded Brand), a local branding consulting firm who specializes in building brands for Internet companies and other consumer companies.
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About This Branding Strategy • This Branding Strategy was prepared by UXB (Unexploded Brand), a local branding consulting firm who specializes in building brands for Internet companies and other consumer companies. • The assignment was given to UXB as an action item from the MP3.com Marketing Strategy Off Site last spring (attendees: Steve Sheiner, Derrick Oien, Bruce Freidman, Sanjay Kapoor, Greg Flores, Greg Kostello, Mike Matey, Brian Dear, Stacy Clark, Leslie Athil, Erik Newton, Cindy Simunec and UXB). The action item was to determine how MP3.com can move My.MP3.com to mass adoption and how MP3.com can improve its marketing and branding strategies in order to fuel the momentum of the MSP Vision.
About This Branding Strategy • UXB was managed by Cindy Simunec, Director of Marketing Communications reporting to Steve Sheiner. • The process and resulting branding strategy document are focused on the MP3.com “brand” from the perspective of MP3.com’s consumers, business partners, investors, artists and investors/press. • Some business recommendations are included as they relate to increasing the effectiveness of the MP3.com brand.
The MP3.com Branding Challenge • How do we: • Transition the perception of MP3.com from “the destination web site with the largest source of free music” to “the premier MSP”? • Extend the MP3.com brand beyond the web into wireless, electronics and other devices? • Position the MP3.com brand today so that it can extend beyond music to other media some day? 5
Why is MP3.com an Unexploded Brand? - The Evolution of the MP3.com Brand - Planning for the Future - Branding Objectives - What is a Brand? - Comparative Brands - What is the Status of the MP3.com Brand now? Igniting the MP3.com Brand - High Level Recommendations - Lighting the Fuse Defining & Communicating the MP3.com Brand - What Makes MP3.com Tick? - The Brand Platform - The Brand Hierarchy - Messaging MSP - Branding our Technology - Why a New Mark as a Seal of Approval - How to Define the MSP Category - Communicating the MSP Vision - MSP Messaging Exploding the MP3.com Brand - The Next Steps - Branding Recommendations - B2B/Developer Recommendations - B2B/Developer Messaging - The Artist - Artist Recommendations - Artist Messaging - Consumer Recommendations - Consumer Messaging Table of Contents 3
The Evolution of the MP3.com Brand • 1999: Provided artists and fans with the freedom to access and deliver music, regardless of location, distribution method or artist status. • 2000: Provides artists and fans with the freedom to access and deliver music, regardless of location, distribution method or artist status and delivers tools and services that allow consumers and artists to access, manage and organize music and music related services. Offers business partners revenue-generating solutions as well as the opportunity to provide music delivery services. • 2001: Provide consumers, artists and business partners with the technology and tools to access music and entertainment anytime, anywhere. 5
Authenticating the Brand • While the future of MP3.com relies on its technology, technology alone will not sustain the power of the brand. Today, MP3.com is one of the most talked about brands at the center of the music revolution and the new music economy. It owes it’s current success, it’s revenue and it’s popularity to the music community and the consumers it attracts. Music is at the heart of the the MP3.com brand and gives it true authenticity. Yet, it is not clear day to day how music fits into MP3.com’s position as a technology company. Employees are not sure if it is O.K. to be passionate about music - this comes across in how we communicate to our users. Consumers connect with brands that have soul and integrity. Freedom to access music gave MP3.com it’s beginning and without music or something else meaningful to access at its center, there will be an end. Walk away from this foundation and pay the price. 6
The Paradox • There is mystery and mystique attached to the MP3.com brand. This is rooted in the brand’s connection to the emerging artist community it has so effectively served. It is unclear what MP3.com does or stands for since MP3.com has purposefully not defined itself in the past. The company has chosen to make technology the focus and business strategy for the future and due to lack of focus on maintaining the brands essence, it has ‘sterilized’ the MP3.com brand. Yet today, despite the importance of this vital component in the brand’s makeup, music or what it means to consumers is not a significant focus at MP3.com. It is important to understand that music and what it means to consumers is at the very center of what attracts employees, consumers and the other vital brands/business partners to seek an association with the brand. The brand will not survive without a soul. 7
Planning for the Future - Key Questions • What do we focus on day to day? Search declines? MSP strategies? • We’re a technology company, but what does that really mean? How do we bring it to life while taking into account what drives the perceived value of the brand? • We know we need to integrate internally. Where do we start? What’s the plan? • 6 months out what do we want the consumer experience to be? 8
Planning for the Future - Key Questions • We know there’s a mega-vision which needs translation into an achievable action/results focused operating plan, how do we do that? • How do we service and take advantage of the relationships with our new business partners and develop marketing programs of value? • What is our real intent with the artist community? Just how important are they to the future of the brand? 9
Branding Objectives • Define a “brand platform” that enables products and corresponding branding, messages and marketing to be designed in such a way that it reinforces the MP3.com brand rather than developing unique product branding for each individual product -- which weakens the MP3.com brand. • Develop a branded umbrella for MP3.com’s B2B programs, including the MSP Partner Program, that can support the MP3.com brand and capitalize on the current equity in the name. • Protect, build, strengthen, clarify and better project the MP3.com brand in its various evolving forms to build equity and shareholder value. 10
Branding Objectives • Increase the effectiveness of all marketing strategies. • Provide a framework for consumer and business productization. • Strengthen the MP3.com brand by eliminating and simplifying product names and building an overall brand platform vs. separate product branding. • Provide a clear and captivating MP3.com story communicating the “MSP Vision” to consumers, businesses, artists and investors. 11
Branding Objectives • Re-position MP3.com from a music destination web site to a technology pioneer that enables businesses worldwide to provide consumers with anytime, anywhere access to music and eventually, other media. • Address the current consumer, press and business confusion regarding the MP3.com brand and site. 12
What is a “Brand”? • It is not only: • The MP3.com logo. • The name or the MP3.com url. • It is mostly: • The experience. It’s what people know MP3.com to be combined with what the user remembers about their experience/interaction/value/take away. • Brand Drivers: • It can be changed/altered/improved over time. • You can not dictate it to people. • Only actions that change the experience can change the brand, words alone create an empty experience. 13
Comparative Brands • Companies with similar brand opportunities and structures: • Microsoft: consumer, B2B structure, universal apps. • Yahoo (broadcast): structure in connecting main brand. • Intel: “powered-by” branding, creating consumer demand through a technology “seal of approval”. • Apple: renegade regarding industry and invention. • IBM: many products, unified brand, clear segmentation. 14
What is the Status of the MP3.com Brand Now? • Excellent perceived name recognition. • Confusion about what MP3.com is/does with many consumers and businesses. • Random structure and design palette within the site. • Poor segmentation between products/audiences. • Current internal confusion on what the company priorities are and how they fit together. What is our destination site today and how does it fit in with the MSP Strategy of the future? • Disconnect between expectations and reality. We set expectations that we are a technology company in the press and other communications but the MP3.com web site is still a destination web site. 15
High Level Brand Recommendations • Operate from a unified “brand platform”, focusing only on programs and strategies that fit within it and eliminate those that distract from the goal. • Re-organize the company and site from the perspective of the various user groups MP3.com serves: • Listener/User • Artist • Business Partner • Developer 17
High Level Brand Recommendations • Make MP3.com synonymous with the freedom to access music/media anytime, anywhere. In order to achieve this, the following must happen: • B2B: Our messaging must be clearly defined in order to ensure our partners understand the technology and then become champions of the MSP category and its uses. • Consumer: Our partners must deploy the technology and the right consumers must adopt and embrace its uses. [MP3.com must control the perception of its brand, developing strong cobranding guidelines to drive value and understanding of the brand, to add value and attract partner and consumer awareness and understanding (a seal of approval)]. 18
High Level Recommendations • The MP3.com site becomes the place that tells the complete story. It becomes the primary destination to educate and deploy these technologies and resources. • MP3.com becomes the first choice for access to music by consumers - and the “must have” business partner of any company wanting to deliver music -- by driving acceptance and understanding. • Become known as the experts with the right attitude -- the magic touch through clearly communicated brand personality. 19
Lighting the Fuse: Action Items • Design and redesign segments of the MP3.com web site with a brand/product offering that is truly relevant to consumers and businesses respectively by re-organizing the site/products with clear purpose, segmentation and cohesive design. Tell the MP3.com story to business, artists, consumers and investors. • Shift understanding of the brand from a destination music site to a worldwide provider of access to media by implementing an integrated marketing and communications program that delivers a compelling story and brand personality. To include: • A road show. • A focused PR program. • Integrated Marketing Plan with focused advertising/messaging on and off line -- Look what it did for Intel and Yahoo! 20
What Makes MP3.com Tick? • Our Brand Equities - our personality traits: • Visionary: entrepreneurial (seeing the future and making it happen). • Practical Genius: empowering people by providing access through technology and tools; creating magic behind the scenes. • Relentless Innovator: first to market; generating momentum at high speeds; constantly re-defining what’s possible. 22
What Makes MP3.com Tick? • Technically Relevant: creating technology that gives people freedom to access music/media anytime, anywhere. • Revolutionary: a company of destiny; synchronicity. • Amorphous: constantly changing form and evolving. • Passion: about freedom, music and the artist community. 23
The Brand Platform • Corporate Positioning: • MP3.com is the leading enabler of freedom to access music and entertainment anytime, anywhere. 24
The Brand Hierarchy • To clarify brand messaging the following chart clearly communicates the organization and structure of the MP3.com brand and it’s various business units. 25
Position Corporate: MP3.com is the leading enabler of freedom to access music and entertainment, anytime, anywhere. (MP3.com is about anytime, anywhere access to music and entertainment) Business: MP3.com is the leading provider of technology and infrastructure that empowers its partners to improve their business models, generate revenue and grow their brands by more effectively delivering music and other digital content to their customers anytime, anywhere. (MP3.com is about profitability) Messaging MP3.com is the premier music service provider (MSP), delivering tools, technology, infrastructure and services that enable artists and business partners to deliver music and entertainment, anytime, anywhere. MP3.com is the premier music service provider (MSP). We are a technology company providing tools, technology and infrastructure that empower businesses to improve their business models grow their brands and better deliver music and other digital content to their customers anytime, anywhere. We give you the tools you need to provide music to your customers. If you aren’t an MSP, we make it easy for you to be one or add to the functionality to your existing business. 28
Position Digital Artists: MP3.com empowers artists of any genre to embrace the digital revolution. We provide artists with free tools and services to actively promote their music, enabling fans to access their music, creating global exposure and unlimited opportunities to generate revenue. (MP3.com is about being discovered and the freedom to create success your way) Developers (future): MP3.com provides developers with technology solutions for storing, managing and delivering personalized music content and music-related services. (MP3.com is about leading-edge technology.) Messaging Become an MP3.com Digital Artist and you’ll receive free access to all the tools you need to turn your local audience into a global fan base via the Internet. Many of the tools offer you the freedom to discover new opportunities and ways to earn money. Go digital, get heard and get paid. MP3.com adds value to your application, hardware or web-based service by providing personalized music services that translate into increased revenue potential. The MSP Platform includes built-in security, access and leading-edge technology. 29
Position Web Site users: MP3.com provides the freedom to access your music and entertainment anywhere, anytime. Messaging MP3.com gives you access to a variety of music services. The My.MP3.com Music Center gives you access to your music anytime, anywhere. MP3.com web site services give you personalized recommendations and event notification via email, the ability to create custom radio stations, and more. MP3.com gives you access to your music and entertainment anytime, anywhere. 30
MSP is NOT the Brand, it’s the Strategy for Differentiation. Capture and Articulate the MSP Vision and it will Ignite the Brand.
The MSP Vision • MP3.com’s MSP Vision is defined by the wide acceptance of MP3.com’s proprietary technology - the MSP Platform - which is an operating system to deliver music and entertainment to consumers and business anytime, anywhere. 32
How to Define the MSP Category • A Music Service Provider (MSP) is a company that develops products or technologies for the distribution of music and entertainment content. • Today, MSP is a vision shared by few. To become a relevant mass-adopted reality, the MSP Vision needs to be translated into a story with a well defined action-driven strategy. • Develop a simple, concise and easy to implement branding strategy with a “seal of approval” that will support the category and drive consumer adoption. • MSP will become a category once participating business partners actively deploy the technology and tell the story, and consumers adopt and use the technology. 33
Why a new mark as a Seal of Approval? • Develop a simple brand graphic that becomes the universal symbol for “anytime, anywhere access”. • It allows us to transcend the web to devices - access through a button. • It communicates a consistent brand endorsement of something specific - when “MP3.com” means so many things to so many audiences. • It builds a stronger trademark case for MP3.com and our technology “a unique mark vs. type face”. • It provides a foundation for the MSP Vision. 34
The MSP Vision MSP Partners Consumers
Branding our Technology • Developing a powerful and widely recognized identity for the proprietary technology at the center of the MP3.com brand is key to building deeper value and greater demand for the products/services delivered as a result of the technology. • “Intel Inside” is a perfect example of a widely recognized technology that has built consumer demand for Intel’s principle business partners, thus increasing the monetary and practical value of the Intel brand. 37
Co-Branding through our MSP Partners • By developing a powerful identity and an effective co-branding program we will ensure our business partners perceive a premium value in our technology and insist on showcasing it on products and services provided to the consumer. • Intel Inside built the defacto-standard for chips adding significant perceived value to their own brand and business partners brands through a well orchestrated co-branding program. 38
Consumer Recognition & Understanding • By branding our technology with our MSP Partners we will build the equity and understanding of our brand by connecting our technology to both our partners and our own consumer products. • Failure to brand our technology effectively will reduce the barriers to entry for competitive providers. • The effective recognition and understanding of our technology by our various target audiences and the consumer in general will serve to increase shareholder value. 39
Communicating the MSP Vision • Use MSP as a business descriptor and part of the brand language. Communicate how MP3.com enhances/re-defines the MSP experience rather than simply describing the category. • Define the category with technology and focus on defining what makes MP3.com “premier” (ubiquitous access and amazing content). • Provide MSP Partners with the tools and messaging guidelines to promote the MSP category. 40
Exploding the Brand: The Next Steps • Develop a focused Brand Platform • Translate the MSP Vision into an action-driven strategy • Develop a clear B2B Strategy • Develop an Artist Relationship Strategy • Develop a Consumer Experience Strategy • Develop an Integrated Marketing Plan 42
Branding Recommendations • Articulate, chart and map the vision with actionable plans that focus on clearly communicating the following brand hierarchy and MP3.com’s universal symbol for music anytime, anywhere. • Develop an action plan for implementation of branding and the re-development/evolution of site programs. • Develop very specific creative briefs/MRDs for implementation. • Develop Messaging Guides and Branding Guides for each and every Product and Service. • Develop and articulate the MP3.com Brand Story. 43
B2B Brand Recommendations • Demonstrate conviction as a serious business partner with clearly defined and organized programs. • Reorganize business programs under one umbrella and segment partners by industry/audience. • Develop a B2B brand personality that can extend to all B2B programs while being connected to the consumer personality, serving to build one brand personality not two. • Develop/update co-branding guidelines to ensure wide acceptance and implementation. • Communicate the reach of the MP3.com brand to investors by developing a powerful and cohesive communications system. 46