In October 2013, the director general of the BBC, Tony Hall, spoke of his intentions to transform the BBC’s music presence into a brand of its own.
Hall said: “The BBC broadcasts a huge amount of music across radio and television. But I want to be recognised for what we do – for BBC Music to be a brand that stands proudly alongside BBC News or BBC Sport.”
To develop the brand the BBC would raise awareness through content streams such as the BBC Music Awards and running talent schemes such as the BBC Introducing, Young Musicians.
Eighteen months on and Hall’s vision has been realised but, as latest figures show, there is still some work to do on awareness. YouGov’s BrandIndex, shows that out of 50 brands BBC Music is in 27th place for ‘Index’ score and 38th for ‘Buzz’.
BBC Music’s ‘Index’ score – which looks at overall brand health and measures consumer perception of quality, satisfaction and reputation – is currently 6.5, which is higher than well established brands such as Sky Sports, Virgin Media and BT Sports.
The brand’s ‘Buzz’ score – a metric that looks at the amount of positive or negative things a consumer has heard in the past two weeks – is currently 1.1 higher than ESPN, ITV 4, YouView and Magic FM.
Current awareness of the brand is in part due to BBC’s TV campaign in which the corporation remade the Beach Boys classic ‘God Only Knows’ featuring a range of music stars such as One Direction, Coldplay and Pharrell Williams to celebrate “diversity and musical passion found every single day throughout the BBC”.
Neil Caldicott, director of marketing and audiences for BBC Radio and BBC Music, told Marketing Week that the music video reached 41 million viewers on TV, 28 million through radio and had a combined social reach of over 30 million. The video also became the most viewed content on BBC’s YouTube channel in 2014.
How to continue growth
Caldicott told Marketing Week that he will continue to promote the brand through the BBC’s own channels for 2015.
“Given the great reach and multiple platforms that we can engage our audiences on through the BBC we always tend to favour our own channels- it’s the most cost effective way of reaching the audiences.
“For BBC Music we’re always looking for opportunities to use the great relationships we have with artists and labels to spread the word further,” he adds.
God Only Knows was just one example of BBC Music using its existing relationships with artists, which Caldicott believes led the video to be seen editorially as a music video rather than a promotional marketing trail.
Claire Jullien, head of marketing for BBC Radio 2, 6 Music and BBC Music told Marketing Week that one of the core strategies to continue growing brand awareness will see BBC Music highlight its commitment in finding and nurturing new talent through 16 music schemes the BBC currently offers. This includes the BBC Young Musician of the Year, and Radio 2’s Young Brass Award and Young Folk Award.
A campaign highlighting emerging talent will break across BBC TV, radio and social channels on the 25th of April.
A spokesperson for one of BBC Music’s creative agencies, Somethin’ Else’, told Marketing Week that the brand is also looking to launch the second part of ‘Ten Pieces’, which looks to inspire children to engage with classical music.
The executives will measure brand awareness across 3 years with “tough” measurement tools.
The brand’s growth will be measured by a quarterly BBC panel and also by an Ipsos commissioned quarterly tracker. Reach across radio, TV and online will be measured through Rajar, Barb and unique browsers as the executives look to maintain audience appreciation.