In a broad move across all of its commercial and non-profit ventures, National Geographic today announced a rebranding effort to unify its offerings and present a more focused strategy. The changes include a redesign of National Geographic magazine’s cover, dropping the word “channel” from its broadcast entities, using consistent fonts across all print and adding the word “Further” to its logo.
The changes were unveiled Tuesday during a presentation at the One World Observatory atop the Word Trade Center in lower Manhattan. They represent the latest moves in the year since National Geographic split into two parts, the non-profit Society and National Geographic Partners, a joint venture with 21st Century Fox, which returns 27 per cent of earning to the non-profit.
“This rebrand has extensions across all of National Geographic Partners and the National Geographic Society,” Declan Moore, chief executive of National Geographic Partners said during the luncheon 102 stories above New York City. “Our clear charge going forward is to reinvent National Geographic for the 21st Century, and in so doing, establish the world’s leading premium brand in science, adventure and exploration. As the current stewards of one the most trusted and enduring global brands, we are mindful of our audience’s trust and affinity in our iconic yellow border and its 128 year history. But as we have elevated our programming, returning to premium, unabashedly smart content, we thought it important that the entire brand at every level, reflect that.”
National Geographic hired New York-based branding agency Gretel to overhaul the look of the two divisions’ products, from the iconic yellow-bordered magazine to the on-air look of their premium-cable targeted programming.
“Rebranding can also be an overhaul of the look and feel, of the visual identity of a company, which this certainly is,” National Geographic Global Networks chief executive Courteney Monroe told Deadline in an interview at the luncheon. “We’re redoing every visual aspect of every media asset that we have. I would call it a new brand positioning, not a changing of the name — National Geographic is too iconic a name for us to move away from. But in terms of a redesign of all the platforms, creating connective tissue so that it feels like one brand across platforms, and developing this new brand positioning in the form of a specific tagline that is also an ideal that governs and guides what we do – maybe it’s new brand work as opposed to rebrand work as opposed to rebrand work.” It will include the magazine, NG television networks, social and digital platforms including nationalgeographic.com and NG’s D.C. headquarters, as well as NG’s kids’ and travel business, live events and consumer products.
The unveiling is timed to the premiere of Mars, the multipart series created by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard that begins next month. “Visually, we wanted a look that was sophisticated, modern, and elevated,” Monroe told the gathering. “We also sought a brand tagline, something that could define us and serve as our North Star. Something that would resonate both internally and externally…’Further’ is a call to arms, a rallying cry, an ever-shifting marker of progress…By definition, it never ends, it knows no bounds.”
Monroe said that to reinforce the notion of one National Geographic, the network will drop the word ‘Channel’ both on air and off all around the world beginning Nov. 14.
Asked whether there had been discussion of using the word “farther” instead of “further,” Monroe replied, “There was. So we did some research. Farther only implies distance. Further, you can further your understanding of the world. You can’t farther your understanding of the world. So we liked the double meaning.”
Early in the coming year, the rebrand will evolve to include a “Further” section in National Geographic magazine, a “Further” web series and more consumer-facing activations to be announced.