Bravo’s Stone: We Want to Be ‘Game-Changing… But Not Take Total Risk’

For Bravo Media, it’s all about buzz, taking trends mainstream, and bringing fashion to the entertainment industry, according to Ellen Stone, SVP of marketing. She gave the keynote address at PR + MKTG Camp East in New York on Thursday.

Stone characterized Bravo’s goal as, “Waking up the entertainment industry to get the conversation started, and wanting the conversation to repeat back.”

She outlined four tenets of Bravo’s buzz model: think in headlines;  partnerships; innovate; measure.

Stone explained that their digital and PR groups prepare headlines in advance for all their projects. She also said the network is a proponent of partnering with other organizations or brands. “When we partnered with Elle magazine, it gave us fashion cred and guaranteed us editorial coverage.”

Bravo was an inaugural partner with Foursquare in early 2010, which Stone said “provided another customer touchpoint.” Bravo gave Foursquare badges and prizes to viewers who checked in at multiple Bravo locations nationwide, and Stone reported that it generated consumer, industry, and tech buzz. Bravo’s Foursquare followers now total 75,000.

In terms of innovation, Stone commented that Bravo wants to be “game-changing and first to market, but not take total risk,” and they still incorporate traditional media.

For “Top Chef Just Desserts Day” in mid-September, they used a range of social media tools. As part of their give-away of free desserts in 20 markets, they partnered with Open Table to sign up 100 restaurants. They also brought in mobile trucks, tweeted their locations and offered discounts on future purchases.

Measurement also plays a key role, and Bravo uses traditional and non-traditional methods. Ratings and traffic to the site are extensively reviewed, as well as print, online, and television coverage. They also use the agency 360i to monitor word of mouth and social media.

Stone concluded by saying that social media won’t overtake traditional media such as magazines and television. Still, she reported that Bravo is planning to expand their social media team.