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Brandonomics from Savage - Glenn Taylor

Glenn Taylor

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One hundred years is a big deal; how can you say it all? Robin Tooms chats with Glenn Taylor, chief marketing officer for the Houston Symphony.

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Robin: Hello. And welcome to this edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies. I'm Robin Tooms, vice-president of strategy at Savage Brands. And my guest again today is Glenn Taylor, chief marketing officer at the Houston Symphony. So Glenn, so glad you're back on Brandonomics.

Glenn: Thank you, Robin.

Robin: Well, I know that this year is the centennial year for the Houston Symphony, and I want to hear about how you're promoting this really important milestone. So could you share that with us?

Glenn: Absolutely. Well, you know we started with a big bang when we announced the season - had a big party at Jones Hall with all of our constituents. You know we followed that with some media to really try to announce to the city, "Something's new at the symphony. Have you heard about what's new?" Not only our centennial, but our new website, our new brand. I did indeed. But the big, real kind of peak point that we focused on was June 21st, which was the day of our 100th birthday, actually.

Robin: Okay.

Glenn: So we planned a concert at Miller Outdoor Theater, and kind of looked at this as the event that we wanted to capitalize on. It's hard when you've got a whole 100th year of season to keep that level of awareness and excitement up. So we focused on that event and really invited all of Houston out. And we're really excited and happy to have some great strategic partners. We partnered with Channel 13, and they came onboard and really wanted us to spread the word even broader. So we live-broadcast the concert on Channel 13, which was a huge advantage, had - gosh - close to 20,000 people at that concert, which was a new record for us kind of outside of the July 4th crowd, which is always a big crowd. But then as we entered into the season proper, how did we continue that message? We came up with a centennial moniker, if you will, that sat in with our brand identity on collateral pieces to continue that identity with the centennial season. We've used that throughout all of our communications during the season.

Robin: Well, I'm glad you mentioned the kind of centennial mark. Because that reminds me. You know with the rebrand and everything, how did you address the fact that you have these other important messages to communicate throughout the year for different reasons, but you don't want to water down kind of the rebrand itself? So how do you address that?

Glenn: Yeah. And we actually had some interesting conversations about that right before we launched the brand. Because you know we have a full color palette, but we've got our kind of flagship color - the orange, a kind of orangey-red color. And we thought, "Well, how much should we use these complimentary colors?" Because we're just rolling out the brand. We really want to be very clear with the public and really make it strong. You know? "Here's what it is, and we're being consistent about it." So we actually consciously decided to not emphasize a lot of those other colors as much. And similarly, because we're baring our product mix to attract new audiences, we've got a video games concert, and we've got the music of Led Zeppelin. And we've got pops concerts, classical concerts. So you know we've got a lot of imagery that could take us down the path of something very different from our birth. And so we had to figure out - "How do we keep it all locked up and in the context -?"

Robin: In a good system?

Glenn: Yeah. In the system of the brand, while also, through imagery, bringing out the fact that there are a lot of different experiences you can have at the Houston Symphony.

Robin: Okay. Well, it sounds like you struck the right balance there.

Glenn: We hope so.

Robin: Yeah. Well, thank you so much.

Glenn: Yeah. Thank you.

Robin: This has been another edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies.

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