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Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.: Corporate Brand Identity Essay


Introduction to the Organization

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. is an entertainment company located in Burbank, California. The original company was created by four brothers Warner. While the company was one of the lesser-known movie studios in the 1920s, it quickly gained the attention of the wider public. Over the next few decades, the company pioneered sound and dialogue in the film, expanded into music publishing, was one of the first companies to start filming movies in color, and created a series of highly successful cartoons.

The company experienced a lot of changes due to various historical events, internal struggle between the owners, and a multitude of failed projects. Nevertheless, Warner Brothers is a company name that is known worldwide due to their involvement in movie adaptations of such franchises as Harry Potter, Batman, The Hobbit, as well as a number of highly successful and syndicated television shows.

The wide reach and power of their brand can be seen in its international presence, including a highly successful branch of the company in China, which provides a large portion of the company’s revenue. Currently, the company is a division of the Time Warner Corporation and is considered one of the largest American movie studios (“Company History”). It is possible to say that their brand as a division is more popular than that of the parent organization.

Brand Name

The brand name of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. has more than a hundred years of history attached to it. Since its inception, the company was extremely vocal about self-promotion. During the studio system in Hollywood, it was almost impossible to create a new brand that could rival large studios such as MGM. Since theatres were owned by the studios themselves, it took a lot of risks to establish a new brand name in the industry.

However, through a series of successful films, the company was able to promote itself as a legitimate competitor to the larger studios. Early success also enabled the company to spread out into the music industry, and subsequently, television. The brand name of “Warner Brothers” always appeared in their branch companies and began to be immediately recognizable regardless of the product the company was producing.

Even after the company changed ownership and the Warner family was no longer present in the company, the name stayed. It is rather unusual that despite the name of the family is prominently displayed in its name, the actual people who founded it are almost unknown to the present audience. It is possible that they became obscure due to the difficult relationships that the brothers had with each other. Straining from the unpleasant history of the organization’s founders helped keep the brand associated only with the products the company produces. The brand name is still strong and highly recognizable.

Company Logo

The Warner Brothers logo changed multiple times over the years, mostly as a result of buyouts and changes in the aesthetic trends. However, the current logo only slightly differs from the one that was introduced in 1929. The logo originally depicted a large shield with the letters “WB” embroiled on it. Subsequently, the name of the company began appearing in a ring-shaped banner across the middle of the shield. After the introduction of the color film, the colors of the logo were defined.

The outline and the letters were golden, while the background of the shield was a glimmering blue color. Another consistent element of the logo is a backdrop of clouds present in the majority of its incarnations. The shield is currently wider than its original incarnation, but all the elements of the original logo are present in the current one. The company uses this logo in all of its films, television shows, and music releases. However, some releases feature a custom version of the logo to fit the theme of the product.

The striking colors of the logo and the sunny backdrop that it uses elicit positive emotions in the viewer due to the harmony of the colors, the shining appearance of the shield, and the peaceful imagery of clouds. The fact that this logo remained mostly unchanged for a century also adds to its level of recognition. People of all ages may recognize the logo because the company releases content for the majority of age demographics (“Warner Bros. Logo Design Evolution”). The logo is inseparable from the name of the company, and their combined power as a brand is very strong.

Corporate Colors

The colors of the company are the same as the ones used on the logo for the majority of cases. The combination of blue, gold, and white, can be seen throughout their promotional material, as well as the company headquarters. The color palette is pleasant, and the colors mix well with each other. The golden yellow on the deep blue color is associated with sunshine, fun outdoor activities, and freedom. The combination overall creates positive emotions and fits with the majority of settings where the colors may be used, such as stores, offices, theme parks, and other properties owned by the Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

However, these are not the only colors that the company uses. For more formal purposes, such as contracts, documents, and stamps, a simple black and white version of the logo is used. The black color replaces the gold, and all the other colors are omitted in such versions. The shape of the logo is still recognizable, however, and should not be mistaken for any other company. A slightly rarer color pallet is used for special releases such as films that pay homage to the 1970s. During this time, a completely different logo was used, which was designed by a famous designer Saul Bass. The logo featured a stylized white “W” in a rounded black square positioned in the middle of a red background. These colors create a more intense feeling in the viewer. They are bold and create a sense that the product is more gritty and dangerous than the standard ones. All the palettes fit their purpose and are associated with their brand.

Quality of the Product

Due to the fact that the Warner Bros. brand is present in a variety of industries, the quality of the product may vary wildly. However, the primary product of the company is a film, and therefore, it will be evaluated in this section. Over the last hundred years, the company has amassed a large catalog of highly regarded movies, both from a critical point of view and the commercial one.

Warner Bros. brand is closely associated with some of the most successful movie franchises of all time, including Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Batman, The Hobbit, as well as such popular films as Inception, It, Gravity, and many others. While the commercial viability of their products is very high, especially in the international market, the quality of some of the recent projects has shown a decline. The superhero franchise based on the DC Comics universe has only recently started getting a positive response from the critics with the release of the first Wonder Woman movie. However, none of the new superhero films have gained the recognition that the previous Batman trilogy received from both critics and the public at large.

The Hobbit films were also heavily criticized and performed relatively poorly in North America. The most recent company success was an adaptation of Stephen King’s “It,” which became one of the top-grossing horror films of all time. The company brand is currently on a positive trajectory, and it is likely that it will continue its climb by examining issues that caused recent movies to underperform.

Advertising

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. utilizes almost all primary forms of advertising. The primary type of advertising is trailers for upcoming films. Trailers are used in a variety of places. Most often, they are seen as previews before the start of the movie in a theatre. Showing them in the same environment that they are made to be experienced makes them especially effective. The second most common place for trailers is online streaming on sites like YouTube and Facebook.

By uploading the trailers online, the company allows millions of people to see the trailer as many times as they want. In addition, film-related channels often create their own advertisements by uploading their own version of the trailer with additional elements such as analysis or discussion of its contents. This type of advertising is starting to enter the mainstream arena as YouTube begins to support videos that contain paid promotions.

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. is now capable of sponsoring a video on a popular YouTube channel to attract the audience that is subscribed to it. Lastly, trailers are still shown on TV during commercial breaks. However, due to the majority of people skipping advertisements, this method is less effective than it was years prior. In addition, audio advertisements on radio and internet podcasts are still a possible method of promoting the product. Consistently released trailers show the company as one of the industry leaders with a powerful brand.

Social Media

In modern times, a company can build or destroy its brand based on its use of social media. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. has a very active online presence with multiple social media accounts dedicated to various projects of the company. Accounts designed to promote a film franchise operate in a relatively conservative fashion by regularly posting the promotional material and engaging users in small conversations designed to increase the visibility of the product.

More important products with larger promotion budgets often employ more complex strategies with specialized content created with the goal of going viral. For example, for the release of Batman v. Superman, a special “comedy” version of the trailer was created and saw more attention on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook than the standard version of the trailer. The main accounts of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. are used almost exclusively for professional announcements and trailers with no attempt at creating a “personality” for the company. While it may seem like a missed opportunity, the relatively simple approach that the company takes allows it to attach its brand to a wide variety of genres and tones for its products.

None of the company’s actions on social networks have brought negative attention to its brand, which is commendable as many others have been involved in minor to major scandals due to the unprofessional behavior of the people running the accounts. Overall, the social network presence of the company is positive for its brand.

Presentations

The majority of the company’s most successful projects of the last 18 years have involved fantasy and science fiction properties. One unique factor of producing long-running series of genre films is that they create a loyal following that may be capitalized upon if they are properly marketed towards. One of the promotion tactics for this type of audience is creating presentations at a comic book, science fiction, and fantasy conventions.

In recent years, they have become highly popular, with some creating regional versions of conventions in order to satisfy the majority of people interested in related hobbies. Properties like Batman and Superman are especially suitable for this type of promotion due to their comic book origins. Such presentations may be organized in a variety of fashions. The most expensive type would involve creating a panel of the actors or key creative members of the project with a prepared speech and an interview section during which the audience may ask questions about the project. A less expensive presentation might include an exposition of movie props, models, or concept art from the upcoming film. Lastly, the most economical version of the presentation involves a limited screening of the new film.

These presentations are usually visited by the most loyal fans of the properties and journalists that cover films. This combination often results in a positive response from both the public and the press. For example, the first Justice League trailer was met with positive reactions, despite the very messy production that the movie went through (“Internet Reacts To”). This shows the benefits of presentations to the brand of the company.

Word of Mouth

In the current media climate, the public is not as susceptible to standard types of advertising and usually follows the word of mouth rather than promotional content. The previously mentioned presentations are only one of the possible ways to spread a positive word of mouth about the project. It is difficult to control the public perception of the project because it is more controlled by either authority of the critics or the quality of the promotional material.

While the promotional material may create a positive word of mouth, it may disappear as soon as more trusted voices start releasing negative contentment about the project. This is especially common with recent Warner Bros. superhero films that initially gather positive buzz, but lose it as soon as negative reviews are released. This is why a more complex approach may be more beneficial.

The company should create early screenings for people who previously had positive reviews of their projects to increase the chances of positive reviews appearing earlier than negative ones. This strategy was used previously by Warner Bros., but with mixed results. The number of positive reviews that the first attempts provided was too little to overcome the negative ones that came soon after. The same tactic on a larger scale could be sufficient to maintain a positive word of mouth even on the more troubled projects to preserve the brand identity of the company.

Promotional Material

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. tends to utilize traditional forms of promotional material in its marketing campaigns. Aside from the previously mentioned trailers and convention appearances, the company provides a variety of behind-the-scenes video features. They often show how the various special effects are created, movie sets, filming techniques, and other technical elements of production. Another type of material is interviews with the actors, screenwriters, and directors.

They may be pre-recorded with specific questions that show the movie in a positive light or be done live on talk shows and radio. Talk shows are one of the more effective avenues for such content due to their popularity and positive brand identity. When performing interviews, it is important to allow actors, directors, and other members of the project to behave naturally. Modern promotional interviews are expected to be conversational, light, insightful, humorous, and especially pleasant.

Projects produced by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. utilize this method of promotion often because it humanizes creators and performers of the film, and if the interview is especially successful, it may create positive word of mouth about the project. However, this tactic may turn from beneficial to detrimental if a poor interview becomes viral. During the interview, an actor or another member of the project may express an unpopular opinion or act in an unprofessional manner, which may result in negative word of mouth. One of the prominent examples is Will Smith’s interview, during which he stated that “fear is a choice,” which attracted negative attention to the film he was promoting. While this technique is generally safe, it is important to consider possible negative consequences.

Merchandise

As it was previously stated, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. is associated with the production of some of the largest film franchises of the last decade. Their focus on science fiction, fantasy, and superhero films allowed them to associate their company brand with a wide variety of properties that can be successfully merchandised. The company employs a very powerful merchandising strategy to further monetize its projects.

It includes many products of different types, each of which increases awareness of its brand. Ownership of the DC Comics license allows the company to produce shirts with some of the most recognizable logos in the industry, such as the Superman symbol and the Batman symbol. Toys, statues, and costumes based on the Warner Bros. properties are also extremely lucrative. Another type of merchandising comes with their fast food partnerships (“WB Shop”).

Before and during the release of the movie, the partnering fast food restaurant chain often provides special collectible promotional items to their customers, as well as menu items thematically connected to the product. The company also continuously utilizes its classic properties, such as the “Loony Tunes” characters in various promotions and merchandise. Due to their high degree of public recognition, the classic brands may be licensed out to promote projects of other companies. By doing so, the company may create new partnership opportunities and cement the positive image of its brand name. While smaller and more serious films often do not produce any merchandising opportunities, the popularity of products based on the company’s blockbuster films is high enough to make up for it. At the same time, the company avoids being associated only with big summer films.

Conclusion

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. has a very powerful, recognizable, and engaging company brand identity. Their logo is known worldwide due to a century-long history of the company and its focus on producing expensive films based on popular franchises. In the first decade of the 2000s, the company established itself for the new market by producing such a popular series of films as Harry Potter, The Matrix, Lord of the Rings, and Batman.

The quality and popularity of these films allowed the company to stay recognizable in the eyes of the public, while also gaining positive attention from the media and critics. The brand identity of the company allowed for the brand equity of its products to rise and make Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. one of the three most powerful media companies in the United States. Such brand longevity is rare in the entertainment industry, but through careful promotion, innovative approaches to filming, and dedication to the production of long-running series of blockbuster films, the company stayed in the public perception in a positive light.

While in the last five years, the quality of its products lowered, as a series of less than successful projects damaged some of its products, the company management is paying close attention to criticism and is willing to correct the mistakes made on earlier projects. It is likely that the brand identity of Warner Bros. Entertainment inc. will remain positive and even improve in the coming years due to this approach.

Works Cited

Warner Bros., 2018. Web.

Comicbook. Web.

The Movie Title Stills Collection, 2018. Web.

“WB Shop.” WB Shop, 2018. Web.

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