As an advertising executive, Charlotte Beers admitted that she had “little in common” with the panels of TV, movie and music executives at yesterday’s Variety/Wertheim Schroder Entertainment Business Conference. But the Ogilvy & Mather chairwoman’s “vocabulary lesson” on brand identity actually dealt with a hot topic in the entertainment field — how to reach audiences in these difficult days of fragmentation.

Beers said the “explosion of choices” makes brand recognition and loyalty as important to entertainment media as to advertisers.

The key, Beers said, is to turn a product into a brand. If consumers associate status, trust, reliability or shared experience with a brand, they are more likely to be loyal or pay a premium.

For example, she said, CNN’s slogan of “the world’s news leader” reflects what the product does, but does not exploit the potential of brand association people have with the network — that it is a link to home and provides history as it happens. Beers then presented a spot that O&M had put together reflecting the brand concept that “CNN is our planetary theater. Staging … as it happens … the DRAMA of our lives.”

This would make the “dialogue so intimate” that CNN viewers would feel a connection.

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