Using Social Networking to Help with Re-Branding

Here’s my latest blog for RTDNA:

From the Anchor Chair: Using Social Networking to Help with Re-Branding

Mar 31 2010
By Nikki Burdine, WHAG-NBC

When I first started at WHAG-NBC 25 in Hagerstown, Maryland, we were known as “NBC25.” Every time I was out shooting a story, “Hey NBC25!” “Hey How’s Lou (our weather guy)?” I also heard, “25 Alive!” Which was apparently our “slogan” 1970’s, but not since then. Guess it stuck around.

A few months ago, our station was re-branded. No more “NBC25.” And definitely no more “25 Alive.” It was a complete face-lift. Not only did our name change to just WHAG, but our logo, the signs inside and outside the building, our web site, our stationary, our graphics, our t-shirts, our advertisements, basically everything about our station.

The truth is, change was needed. Our revamped look was more modern and simple. Much like NBC’s new look. It’s cleaner and more colorful. But although we were very excited about our new look, our viewers weren’t so quick to jump on the bandwagon.

This is where social networking really came into play. Our Facebook fan page was the source of most of our feedback regarding the switchover. Wall comments and messages inundated our web producers. Most viewers simply wanted to know why we changed? What was wrong with the old look? And what was going to happen next?

Facebook was the perfect platform to get the word out. Our re-branding isn’t really a “newsworthy” item, so it obviously wasn’t something we included in our 5 o’clock show. The changing of the actual Facebook Fan page was simple – create a new page under our new name and logo, and invite old fans to join.

Here’s how we handled some of the Facebook feedback:

Art Chenoweth: why the logo change?

NBC25: It was time for a change. With the switch to digital, channel numbers don’t have much meaning anymore. So we took the opportunity to go all out with a new set, logo and graphics. I would encourage you to become a fan of WHAG, as this page will soon be deleted.

Our status updates were usually something like this:

“NBC25 WHAG is the new face of NBC25! As we make this transition, we’re asking all of our Facebook fans to join us on our WHAG page! The station made the change because we’re not channel 25 on all systems, both cable and on satellite. In the near future, we’ll be phasing this page out, so you can find all the latest news in your area on our WHAG fan page. Thanks for watching!”

I also posted on Twitter, “What do you think of our new look? We’d love your feedback!” Most of it was positive, and it was a great way to reach out from behind the anchor desk to the viewers.

And that’s not all: We are (finally!) switching from linear editing to non-linear, digital and tape-less editing. Yes, it’s been a long time coming. Hopefully that transition will be just as smooth as our Facebook switch, doubtful though.

So become a fan of ours on Facebook, and even if you’re not in our viewing area, let us know what you think of the new look. We love feedback 🙂

But please, don’t scream “25 Alive” when you see us out. Thanks.

Nikki Burdine is the anchor and producer for the noon and 5pm show at WHAG in Hagerstown, Maryland. Nikki is a southern belle, hailing from East Tennessee, who has a passion (er, obsession) for the news and social media. She writes a bi-weekly column for RTDNA. Follow her on Twitter: @NikkiBurdine


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