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Focus on Brand, Lazarus Tells CTAM Attendees

Jul 25, 2005  •  Post A Comment

To better position themselves against a backdrop of an increasingly competitive market, multiple system operators must think of themselves as brands and begin taking steps to infuse that brand in everything they do, a top advertising executive said Monday.

Speaking to a packed convention hall at CTAM Summit 05 in Philadelphia, Shelly Lazarus, chairman and CEO of Ogilvy & Mather, told the 3,100-plus cable executives attending that in the face of stiffening competition it is crucial for them to build their brands.

Ms. Lazarus’ speech was part of a series of Monday morning general sessions that emphasized the importance of carving out a branding strategy at a time when the cable industry is facing an onslaught of competition. In addition to the threat from satellite operators, the telephone companies are spending billions to upgrade their systems in order to offer video by year-end.

“A brand is the most valuable asset a company has,” she said, adding that having a well-known brand helps consumers to sift through a plethora of choices and bond with a company.

She noted that creating a brand goes beyond simply tasking the marketing department with the duty of creating a brand. Ms. Lazarus said it is equally important that the operations side of a company be inculcated with the company’s branding philosophy.

Indeed, she noted that in many cases, most customers’ sole exposure to an MSO is through customer service. However, from her vantage point, MSOs “have not done a lot to reach out to the customer.”

“[A customer service representative] answers the telephone and I feel like I’m imposing on them,” she said.

Ms. Lazarus suggested that companies refine their brand and then go after the customers who are loyal to the company, rather than chasing after new customers.

“Loyalty goes to the bottom line,” she said.