Sparking connections between creatives; educating and inspiring entertainment marketing professionals; leaning into the future.
That is the symbolic force behind the forward slash of the “X” in Promax as part of creative agency loyalkaspar’s rebrand of the global entertainment marketing association. Meanwhile, the backward slash of the “X” represents the 63-year-old organization’s existing community, providing an anchor to the past as it evolves in step with the industry.
As a whole, the letter serves as a visual shorthand for what the global association for the entertainment marketing industry stands for, while also operating as a functional graphic used strategically across the company’s marketing and branding.
“The part I love the most is how we’re able to the take the concept of the ‘X’ as a multiplier,” said Promax President and CEO Steve Kazanjian. “As an association, our job is to multiply connections, inspiration, professional development; we have the ability to use it that way.”
Dropping the BDA
With the rebrand came the decision to drop the long-standing “BDA”—which stands for Broadcast Design Association—from the company’s name.
“It was a very difficult decision,” said Kazanjian. “We were holding onto the BDA because we were paying homage to the past, but it was making it much more complicated to market to prospects in the digital world.”
Just as the industry has shifted from broadcast to cable, it’s now shifting from linear to digital, with even traditional TV players launching their own OTT services, said Kazanjian. Promax has spent the last year researching ways to meet the new demands that have emerged as a result.
“Members today need very different things than members 50 years ago,” he said. “They’re not looking for a white paper. They’re not looking for someone to come down from the mountain with tablets. They’ve grown up in an environment of crowdsourcing, and the association they want to be a part of has to be the same.”
With that in mind, Promax—well known for its annual conferences and award ceremonies—has been expanding many of its other year-round offerings. These include more networking events such as Game Changers presented by CSM LeadDog, Promax Direct, a new program that will provide member companies with customizable in-depth workshops, and increased professional development opportunities, such as its Transition Assistance Program (TAP).
Focused on providing out-placement and transition support tools throughout the year, TAP will feature curated content, live and on-demand webinar training series and eventually one-on-one coaching to help members transition from one sector to another within their current organizations, or pursue new positions with emerging digital entertainment and OTT companies.
The organization’s first TAP workshop will take place on Feb. 22, when executive coach Cecilia Gorman, an advertising industry vet, leads members through a workshop on how job-seekers can build their personal brands on LinkedIn.
In addition, the upcoming online community forum, PromaxConnect, will offer a members-only, expert exchange and knowledge bank where professionals can connect with each other and share best practices along with video examples of their work.
If the entertainment and media industry were an orchestra, Promax thinks of itself as the conductor, said Kazanjian.
“Promax should be the first destination to find resources,” he said.
With its roots in television, the association is also expanding its worldwide membership base by launching a new digital and theatrical unit to attract marketing executives from these sectors by developing genre-specific programs that address their needs.
At a time when many networks boast integrated marketing teams and when Netflix—a streaming service—can be nominated for an Oscar, it’s clear that “worlds are blending more significantly than ever before, and the people who are producing the marketing are blending more than ever before,” Kazanjian said. “If we didn’t look at the sum total of all of that, we would be doing a huge disservice to our members.”
Visual Clarity and Community
During such complex times, Promax Head of Marketing and Brand Jennifer Ball turned to loyalkaspar to make sense of the company’s growth from a visual perspective.
“I’m Swiss, so simple navigational systems are sort of in my blood,” joked Beat Baudenbacher, chief creative officer, loyalkaspar. “Premium brands … don’t need a lot of smoke and mirrors, to have the confidence to state what they want to say.”
Promax’s new logo is clean, modern and unapologetically uppercase, with a classic but inviting typeface that taps into an inclusive, inventive and fun personality, he said.
Baudenbacher honed in on the fact that the first three letters of the name contain curves, while the last three contain all straight lines and angles. That led to the idea of combining the “A” and the “X,” which developed into an entire brand architecture where the forward slash of the “X” becomes a functional activator, visually connecting Promax to its sub-brands and clearly conveying what the company offers.
The forward slash also is used to influence the organization’s overall voice, adding a fun, text-based design to the way Promax talks about itself. That playfulness is enhanced through the repetition of text, along with secondary elements such as patterns, pictograms and music and sonic branding created by Man Made Music.
“Using these connected, almost knit-together patterns represents the idea of community and connection between the different members,” Baudenbacher said.
He also chose a palette of “pacific,” a light and airy blue, as Promax’s main tone, reducing the brand to one recognizable color that’s displayed in different shades. It’s complemented by the warm greys of “pebble” that come in handy for creating consistency in instances where, say, an orange Nickelodeon logo needs to appear next to a red Netflix logo.
“The neutrals are very important because we need to be able to live with a lot of other brands—networks, partners and sponsors—that we can’t control,” Baudenbacher said.
Together, those elements establish the Promax brand as fun, defined and community-focused.
“The other thing is to not take ourselves too seriously,” Baudenbacher said of both the organization, and work its members do. “It’s not brain surgery and we all love it.”
‘We Love What You Do’
That statement essentially serves as the inspiration behind Promax’s marketing campaign around it’s new tagline: “We Love What You Do,” co-created by Promax through a unique collaboration of Promax members including executives at loyalkaspar, A+E Networks and BPG Agency.
Playing into the “X,” the teams developed “XOXO” to serve as a sort of signature, like something that would appear on a card to a friend, and then tapped into Valentine’s Day to launch the awareness campaign around “We Love What You Do,” which replaces the old tagline, “Create What’s Next.”
“This, to me, this clearly and boldly celebrates the community,” Baudenbacher said of the new phrase. “It has more heart.”
“Create What’s Next” was a sentiment that made sense five years ago when the industry was at a massive inflection point, but now, “what’s next” has essentially arrived,” said Kazanjian.
“We’re there,” he said. “We’ve made that transition and we as a community, together, are the ones that are shaping the future.”
As the industry continues to change, there’s been a collective shift from the mindset of “the sky is falling,” to “we are in the golden age of television,” he added, and Promax’s updated tagline celebrates entertainment marketers as the “proverbial purveyors of pop culture.”
“We get to be in a space where we’re passionate about what we do,” Kazanjian said. “We love what we do. Let’s relish in that. Let’s learn from each other.”
“I’m excited to witness this latest chapter in Promax’s evolution,” added Ball. “We work in this creative universe of entertainment marketing—and are part of an inspiring, global community in which competitors encourage other members to raise the bar just as colleagues would. It is important to celebrate the amazing work being done at a time where the sheer volume of great content and increased choices requires the support of great, strategic marketing.”