How do you build a digital brand?

How do you build a digital brand — one that lives up to digital’s potential for immersion and personalization?   The following two recent Razorfish client launches highlight the roles of creativity and technology — and demonstrate some of the nuances of branding the digital way.


Billboard posed an interesting challenge to the New York office of my employer Razorfish: reposition a brand for a consumer audience.  Through its event business, digital presence, and print media, Billboard is known primarily as a business-to-business brand.  The company asked Razorfish to inject more of a consumer-oriented look and feel to the website.  Although is a consumer website, Billboard’s reputation as a B-to-B brand contributed to a general assumption that is not for consumers.  Billboard saw an opportunity to make “behave” like a consumer site with improved interactivity.  The Razorfish approach:

  • Retain the Billboard name.  The B-to-B reputation notwithstanding, the Billboard name is so well established (115 years old) that we saw little need to adapt the name for a consumer audience.
  • Completely revamp the website.  Throw out the model of providing just basic information about top-selling songs and artist background via the flat website that existed until now.  Instead, turn into a playful destination where consumers can listen to and purchase music, vote on their favorite songs, and learn a ton of information about different artists, including their chart history and biography.  A new “Visualizer” feature makes it possible for you to see a chart that shows album sales throughout an artist’s career.  Playing around with the Visualizer unveils layers of detail such as peak positions for particular songs.  Moreover, with an easy click you can share content to social destinations like Twitter.

Exclusive video content available on

Using the Visualizer to track the remarkable 251-week Billboard chart run for Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon

For more about the redesign, go here.

Channel [V] Australia

The challenge for Channel [V] Australia was different: launch a new brand online.  Channel [V] Australia is a cable TV channel that broadcasts musical content for a Gen Y audience.  Channel [V] wanted an online presence.  The solution from Amnesia Razorfish in Sydney:

  • Create a brand name for digital, [V] Music. We felt a new name was necessary for a few reasons.  First, Amnesia Razorfish wanted to more strongly associate the company with music because the digital experience is supposed to be the “source of all things music.”  And the name [V] Music would work better from an organic search standpoint.
  • Create an immersive experience so that consumers have a destination to explore music, including a video library that houses 1.3 million artists.  Enable personalization (via a My Music feature).  Moreover, a video player created by Amnesia Razorfish called “the Slider” allows you to watch videos continuously while you browse the website.  (Unfortunately because of Channel [V]’s licensing agreements, the videos are viewable only in Australia.)  The site also posts concert listings and links to special [V] Music accounts on Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook.  Amnesia Razorfish built the interface in Ajax to allow the page to dynamically update content as you slide across the page in real time (an effect seen only in Flash).

Through the [V] Music rebranding, Channel [V] now has an opportunity to expand its presence into music and even open up content overseas should the company elect to adopt different licensing models.

A taste of [V] Music

For more information on Music [V], check out this post.

For more Razorfish insights into digital branding, please review Joe Crump’s point of view on Digital Darwinism.

What does a digital brand look like, and sound like, to you?

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9 Responses to How do you build a digital brand?

  1. Pingback: How do you build a digital brand? « IT News

  2. Pingback: Youtubeblog » Archive » Posts about music as of August 14, 2009

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  4. Can\’t believe it! 115 years old…

  5. Jim Joseph says:

    Nice work. Welcome to the \”group\”!

  6. Leona Laurie says:

    David, I love the thinking on making more distinct from I actually used Billboard as one of the two major sources for my master\’s thesis because of its brand profile and longevity, so kudos also on maintaining the name.

  7. tibia gold says:

    Your article is nice.Thanks for your sharing,it helps me more.I will look forward to your more wonderfull articles.Have a good time.

  8. Pingback: distinct brand

  9. Brian says:

    The Visualizer is pretty, but as a method of quickly getting any useful information, it fails on almost any criteria. It\’s confused, chaotic and unclear, there are numbers flying around, and the left and right arrows result in data fields flying around, overlapping each other in a way that is annoying and serves the data poorly. Pink Floyd is probably the best example of this. Clicking right from DSotM brings me to the later album Momentary Lapse of Reason, to the later album Delicate Sound of Thunder, one more time, and we\’re to The Wall. Seriously?

    As a design experiment, that\’s fine, because when experiments fail, you still learn something. As a user interface for data, it\’s frustrating.

    Billboard has interesting, rich data. I hope the Visualizer is the first step on liberating more of it to a clear data visualization system, but a first step is all it is.

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