Broadcast Design Today: Being Left to Your Own Devices

Historically the discipline of broadcast design has been relegated to a more subjective mode of fashion, where personal preference and intuitive solutions have been predominant — a dysfunctional attitude and approach, supported by vast amounts of design work. But like the marketing world, there are new realities for the broadcast world. Proliferation within the competitive marketplace has significantly changed the environment. Both local and national broadcasters must contend with a thoroughly internationalized consumer who self-navigates to get the information they want, when they want it, on multiple distribution formats (mobile, streaming, etc) — all over the world.

We have entered a post-television era where once-autonomous disciplines of communication are converging and augmenting each other to satisfy a more individualized audience appetite. The consumer audience has long since taken control: empowered through technology, the audience is increasingly defining their preferences — redefining the channels and outlets from which they draw their news and information. They are deciding how, when, and where they will interact with your brand, and for how long. Most importantly, they are deciding who they will engage with in an internationalized marketplace.

I want to discover for myself why your brand is relevant to me.

The audience demands:

• personalization
• lifestyle recognition
• relevant storytelling
• sustained interaction
• emotional connection
• membership + access

This is the emerging landscape of the broadcast industry — pointing not to the development of “Broadcast Channels” but more to the evolution of “Media Brands.” To answer the call for creating an audience-relevant “Media Brand,” organizations must understand the intended role of design as one of strategic partnership — not one of creative fancy, hubris, or even intuition.

In turn, it is now incumbent upon designers to implement creative practices that extend far beyond defining the aesthetics of look and feel. Form follows content — demanding that design solutions present more than just appearance. Here, please remember the distinction between giving form and assembling a collection of forms into a more profound meaning — the unique attributes of each brand, in each geography, must be extended in an architectural vocabulary that is both instantly recognizable as the brand’s own and relevant to the audience. The solution needs to support and reinforce on-air content delivery — on all consumer devices.

Therefore, the same strategies typically more recognized in a marketing context apply for effective differentiation within the marketplace. A successful “Media Brand” must now also seek to strategically assemble individual points of audience interest and interaction into a media offering that provides more touch‐points, deeper meaning, and relevance, all of which will yield an enhanced consumer experience.