I doubt many consumers could identify the parent company of Gannett's newspapers and TV stations. And if they could, they might struggle to pronounce it correctly. (As we know, the accent is on the second syllable in "Gannett.")
Now, I've been told, Corporate is considering a multimillion-dollar campaign to turn Gannett into a true brand name. The tag line, I'm told: "Gannett ... connecting you to your world."
I have precious few details, and this tip is from just one source (albeit one who's been spot-on before), so treat this with a grain of salt. If true, any such brand campaign would be an unexpected challenge to USA Today's role as Gannett's public face in the more than 27 years since the paper was launched. So, why would Corporate back any such initiative?
Within the newspaper industry, it could turn around Gannett's reputation for being a low-cost, low-quality operator of newspapers and TV stations -- an image created despite the hard work of generations of employees on the front line. That would help in recruiting talented workers, when and if they company returns to significant hiring mode. It also could enhance efforts to sell advertising.
In the consumer market, a branding campaign would strengthen the company's network of websites, as younger customers show less allegiance to the older, existing brands: the newspapers and TV stations Gannett has bought or established over the years. In other words, consumers would think "Gannett'' when they look for news and information in their local markets.
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[Image: the cover of Gannett's 2008 annual report to shareholders]