Masters in Branding at The School of Visual Arts
Head of Program: Debbie Millman
Thesis Advisor: Bret Sanford-Chung
Team: Olivia Barry, Ryan Beickert, Salka Fernandez and Sarah Fudin
The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) is America’s largest public media station with strong
branded programs such as Sesame Street, Downton Abbey, Antiques Roadshow and Masterpiece. However, it has faced several challenges including a lack of relevance to a millennial audience, as well as its current audience failing to associate its content with the brand of PBS. The brand caters to both ends of the age spectrum in terms of its offerings, but has suffered a lack of relevance amongst a millennial audience, often referred to as "the lost generation."
The brand's offerings seem cluttered and disorganized, having struggled thus far to thrive in the digital space. Furthermore, the proliferation of new media platforms such Netflix and Hulu, and other international public broadcasting competitors, such as the BBC, threaten to steal PBS’ target audience.
In summary, PBS faces many challenges as it struggles to keep pace with contemporary culture and the new digital age.
The Process
Phase 1 | Brand Immersion, Design Brief, Competitive Audit, Market Research and Insights Gathering.
Initially we fully immersed ourselves into the brand, learning about its history, successes and failures, and deep dived into programing, financials, target audience and key competitors, among other relevant information. We redefined the challenge to be solved by writing a Creative Brief while identifying objectives and success criteria.
We continued our investigation by conducting two quantitative market research surveys to determine what the Brand PBS stands for in consumer’s minds, and what were the barriers of engagement.
After gathering all this information, we created a SWOT analysis to identify opportunities and threats and conducted a brainstorming session to identify possible strategic paths to reposition the brand.
Phase 2 | Defining the Strategy
Although this illustrious brand faces challenges, there is prime opportunity to reenvision a strategy through a positioning of “Curating Lifelong Learning”. As identified in our investigation, nowadays with an overwhelming amount of information available, there is a need for trusted source to provide focus and clarity on recommended content. Through positioning itself as a Curator of Lifelong Learning, PBS can establish itself as a trusted source of education, news and entertainment.
There also exists the potential for the brand to truly embrace digital platforms, thus rendering itself relevant to a millennial audience - the lost generation. As media consumption among this generation shifts from the traditional TV viewing to online, PBS needs to embrace the digital world in a clear and focused way.
Video the team developed to showcase the PBS target audience: Life Long Learners
Phase 3 | Marketing Tactics and Brand Identity Refresh

Keeping the positioning of curating lifelong learning in mind, the overarching theme of executional ideas was to bring further focus and clarity to everything, from a logo refresh, to an advertising campaign, to a curated online streaming service, and much more. The common thread linking these ideas are all to position PBS as a trusted curator of meaningful content.
Proposed new logo, inspired by the strategy of 'focus' and bringing 'clarity' to the identity,
while capitilizing on the current recognize PBS brandmark.
On the left: Sample of current local public channels logo and how the new identity
could bring consistency and clarity to the nationwide communications.
On the right: To maintain some consistency with the new proposed identity,
PBS kids logo proposed evolution.
Proposed marketing campaign: "Clearly PBS" showcasing the award winning programing,
while communicating the message in a simple way.
"Clearly PBS" teaser video which would be played during commercial breaks.
On the left: Sample of current local stations websites.

On the right: How the new identity could drive consistency yet variety
to different local stations websites
Facebook as a home base for al PBS social media assets
Introducing new channels, such as a PBS learning center
Introducing new channels, such as the creation of a PBS badge as a stamp
of approval to a variety of products.
PBS Badge could be assigned to different product in different outlets
Reorganize current streaming service in a single site, for a easy of use
and improve the expirience, while making all the award winning programing avalable.
Closing video summarizing our recommendations for PBS
Team PBS
PBS - Masters in Branding Thesis | 2014