As audiences tuned into the first episode of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” CBS this week, they may have expected to see a new side, apart from the character he had played for 10 years on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report”. But, because Colbert’s brand was unaltered before the start of the new show, the old character seemed to be working alongside the late night host.
In an interview with “CBS Sunday Morning”, Colbert said that he understood why people have a hard time deciphering his personality from that of his Comedy Central persona.
“I mean, I worked really hard to be that other guy for 10 years. …” Colbert said. “I hope they’ll find out pretty quickly that the guy they saw for 10 years was my sense of humor the whole time.”
The first episode of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” was reminiscent of “The Colbert Report” as he interviewed Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush. The interview included a jab at candidate Donald Trump and could have easily been a segment on his Comedy Central show.
Tom Dougherty is President and CEO of Stealing Share, Inc., a company that provides corporate branding, marketing strategy and brand positioning.
“To make a rebrand work, whether we’re talking about a TV personality or a company, you must align yourself with the most emotionally intensive trigger that captivates your audience,” wrote Dougherty.
He added that in order for “Colbert to keep his current fan base while in a state of change and attract new fans, he must represent something that is more important than what he presented before.”
Even though many audiences appreciate Colbert’s talent and humor, his future career could still be harmed if he fails to rebrand himself quickly.
Should Stephen Colbert have undergone a more drastic rebranding before becoming the host of The Late Show? What could be the strategy behind carrying his alter-ego into the future?