As the new conductor behind the legendary Soul Train brand, media titan Kenard Gibbs has focused his efforts on reviving “the hippest trip in America” for a new generation as it celebrates its 40th anniversary. Since 2008, Gibbs has been the CEO/Partner of Soul Train Holdings and has brought a vast amount of media experience, having served as the former group publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines, former President of VIBE magazine and co-founder of Madvision Entertainment. Expanding upon the solid foundation built by founder, Don Cornelius, Gibbs has established SoulTrain.com, mobile game applications, merchandising deals and The Soul Train Awards, which aired on Centric last night. BlackEnterprise.com hopped aboard the train for an express business course as Gibbs shared his most essential tips for rebranding an iconic product like Soul Train.
Get to Know Your Consumer
Prior to Gibbs’ acquisition of Soul Train, the company had never completed any traditional consumer research, which left Gibbs with questions that needed to be answered before he could strategize his rebranding efforts. “I was curious to find out from consumers what does the brand represent,” he says. “Is it viewed as entertainment, a family-oriented brand or viewed as being an authentic platform for new music?”
Buy The Best of Soul Train on iTunes
Therefore, without first discovering how your brand is perceived any efforts at rebranding will be counterproductive since you may overlook key needs and desires of your core consumer. “Have a very clear understanding of the core audience for your brand,” Gibbs advises. “Inclusive of that is doing some consumer research so that in rebranding efforts you can look to maintain consistency in terms of what the consumer believes your brand represents and what you are trying to tell consumers your brand represents.”
Change Has to Be Authentic
The legacy of the Soul Train brand is built upon the pillars of dance, music and fashion. For Gibbs every brand has its own set of values, which must be expanded upon without compromising integrity. “Consumers now are savvier than ever and you have to be authentic and deliver to them what your brand value is unless of course you are looking to change that,” he says. Gibbs’ strategy includes honoring Soul Train’s musical past while reflecting contemporary pop culture. “Music is our lane but that doesn’t mean we can only show artists that were a part of the iconic past. Our perspective is that Soul Train is and will continue to be the home to the biggest artists in popular music,” he says. “We want to contemporize and reach a subset of our consumer, which is a younger consumer—with the rebirth of the brand.” Read More>>
This excerpt is courtesy of BlackEnterprise.com