Heading up these marketing efforts is Senior VP Chris Stephenson, the first-ever dedicated marketing executive at House of Blues.
The chain of clubs plans to introduce several new music and media properties next year, including:
"Gumbo TV," a syndicated weekly series to be distributed by Columbia/TriStar Television that will focus on music and larger pop culture trends.
"Mojo TV," a miniseries about the roots of music that will spawn books, a compilation record and home videos.
A sub-brand based on its annual Smokin' Grooves urban music tour, with a syndicated radio show, album and one-shot magazine planned for next summer.
Two new tours, including one that hops on the ska and swing music revivals.
Sponsors are being sought for all these ventures. The announcement of at least one is scheduled for late January at a temporary House of Blues venue in San Diego for Super Bowl XXXII.
Mr. Stephenson said the blues part of its name has hindered the company's efforts to be recognized as a broad-based music brand, and it will rely less on the Blues Brothers (actor/comedian Dan Aykroyd is a board member) as a marketing engine. It has no plans to tie into next year's Universal Studios film "Blues Brothers 2000."
House of Blues is testing new logo treatments that would push its HOB initials, much in the same way Kentucky Fried Chicken moved to KFC to duck the "fried" part of its name.
"It's a complex brand. House of Blues is about a whole portfolio of music, not just blues. That's what we need to communicate to consumers," said Mr. Stephenson, recruited last spring from MTV Europe, where he also held the title of senior VP.
The strategic shift comes after five years of moving at a breakneck pace to build venues (there are currently six), create brand awareness and push the brand into new businesses like music tours, licensing and new media.
The vision came from founder Isaac Tigrett. But in October, House of Blues' board voted to move Mr. Tigrett from chairman-CEO to chairman emeritus. The board reportedly was interested in an initial public offering. No one was named to succeed Mr. Tigrett.
STRUCTURE AND STRATEGY
"Isaac created this concept and thinks five years ahead of everyone else. We still consult him all the time," Mr. Stephenson said. "What this new management team is trying to do is put more structure and strategy around this creative, entrepreneurial company.
House of Blues will rely on media products like "Gumbo TV" to communicate that it's more than just a theme restaurant/concert venue. It's also trying to advance that message by convincing record companies to use House of Blues' media resources to promote their artists.
The company's vision is for artists to play at its locations; cybercast those performances via its www.liveconcerts.com or the Web sites of promotional