What is a brand?
A few comments on Polsat's rebranding

This topic may not be the most up-to-date, as the wave of information swept through the industry media almost half a year ago. However, for certain reasons, we would like to go back to the topic of Polsat's rebranding and the branding of the Polsat Plus Group. However, our goal is not to evaluate the identity system or the aesthetic and creative aspects of this strategic move. It seems to us that the substantive weight of such judgments, even if formulated by the greatest authorities in the industry, is small and unfortunately often has little to do with marketing success or failure. There are too many factors determining the success of a brand to analyse any branding element in isolation. Although we mainly focus on visual identity - creating logos that meet the needs of the brand or packaging that suggests a tangible connection with the abstract entity that is a brand - we try to think about the brand somewhat detached from aesthetic and graphic issues.

The big merger

It is in this context that we bring up the example of Polsat. For those who are not familiar with the topic, about half a year ago, the Polsat Plus group, offering an almost infinite range of telecommunications services through the combination of a television platform with telephony, changed its visual communication system. Those accustomed to the somewhat dated and infantile sun logo may be surprised by such a strong rebranding move. The sun was replaced by a whole family of spherical shapes with diverse colours and consistent typography. In the same branding universe, the brand PLUS was also placed, which was distinguished by a completely different aesthetic until now.

Branding by chance

Let's start with a word that has been used several times here in almost all possible contexts: rebranding. Yes, we are indeed dealing with rebranding, but do we all understand the word equally? Rebranding is, in simple terms, re-marking, if we assume that "brand" means "sign." But it can also mean "re-labeling," which introduces additional meanings into our considerations. After all, a brand is much more than just a mark; signs are manifestations of a brand, they are individual "letters" that build it.

All the letters of branding

With such an assumption, rebranding understood as a change of logo or identity is not "true" rebranding. By changing the graphics, we change only one letter, but what about the rest? A brand consists not only of a logo but also of associations with the brand, its world, its perception, personality, essence, values, mission, positioning - in short, the entire brand strategy. So the question arises: Is the change in Polsat's identity consistent with the brand's identity? Has "something" changed or "everything"?

A new message?

We cannot answer this question without an in-depth understanding of the concept of changes. The new slogan, "Choose your everything," combined with "You're in charge," seems like a vague promise. While the modernization of the identity could suggest repositioning, the wording of this promise does not imply it. Perhaps we are still confined to the familiar old world of Polsat - a brand for the so-called masses, excluding groups claiming elitism. "Your everything" represents the entire universe of the current target group but doesn't seem to expand it. "You're in charge" offers a sense of control and, in a way, appeals to the archetype of a ruler, which somewhat corresponds to the brand's span and position, and certainly its aspirations.

Brand architecture

A much more interesting aspect of the changes is the issue of brand architecture. So far, it has been a type of house of brands - the Plus brand and the Polsat brand were separate in terms of visual identity and brand concept. Certainly, the image of Plus was strongly influenced by the campaign featuring the Mumio comedy group - later actions, despite the use of celebrities with broader reach, did not create a legend (without a legend, there is no brand), but rather maintained the brand's level of interest, with probably fluctuating audiences. PLUS was a separate brand alongside Polsat, representing the entire family of sub-brands. Indeed, separate television channels should be considered at least as sub-brands, if not as supported brands (endorsed brands). They usually have different offers, different target groups, different promises, and both literal and metaphorical faces.

Masterbrand without a common name?

After the rebranding, the fusion of Polsat and Plus reached a much higher level. We are essentially dealing with a masterbrand strategy, a so-called branded house, although at the naming level, there are still two brands. The visual coherence is noticeable, but it applies to general forms and style because they are still different symbols in detail. We are therefore dealing with a situation opposite to an umbrella brand (not to be confused with a masterbrand). An umbrella brand usually encompasses several strategically different entities connected by a common symbol. A good example is Mitsubishi Motors and Mitsubishi Electric - two companies with a common owner, sharing one brand and two completely different strategies. In the case of Polsat and Plus - despite similar, but still different symbols - we have very similar communication strategies, which can be observed even in the visual presentation of TV commercials.

Brands are abstract

It is hard to find a better example that illustrates how much a brand is an abstract concept, distant from the mere symbol or even the name itself. We have two symbols, two names, but one brand, which is an idea suspended among others. This idea is not only about the similarity of form (two spheres and the same font) but also the guiding principle. Of course, it seems almost certain that in the not-too-distant future, such a strategy must lead to the consolidation of the entire idea under one symbol and name. However, we do not know the intentions of the management of the Polsat Plus Group.

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