Pulse of the Profession

Friday Five: Brands Reach New Audiences with Creative Strategy

Brand identity is critical in influencing opinion, maintaining solid engagement with a selected audience, and retaining awareness in the marketplace. What was once an easy objective – get people to like you and have a brand advocate for life – has become far more challenging in the age of social, digital and mobile technology. Brands must now connect with their audience visually as well as emotionally to garner brand loyalty. Brands are now being forced to tackle the big issues, turn obnoxious customer reviews into a strategic play and sometimes rebrand completely as a way to stay fresh with younger generations.

In this week’s PRSA “Friday Five” post — an analysis of the week’s biggest public relations and business news and commentary —we take a look at what some brands are doing to remain relevant and the creative strategy they’ve employed to reach new audiences. We look at the concept of brand loyalty and explore the challenges brands face to remain in good graces with consumers.

Is Brand Loyalty Dying A Slow And Painful Death? (Forbes)

Forbes contributor Steve Olenski discusses the change in brand loyalty over the last few decades. He describes a time, 20 years ago, when most people wouldn’t dream of switching providers for just about any reason because that was time when customers remained loyal to a brand. Today, with social media and high-speed internet, brand loyalty seems to be a thing of the past. Customer service interactions occur at a higher volume and are spread across more platforms. Depending on the level of satisfaction, customers are ready to cancel their subscription immediately and find a new place to spend their money. Based on findings from an Ernst & Young study, brand loyalty continues to decrease over time among American consumers. Olenski predicts that mobile devices will only continue the decrease in brand loyalty. Findings from a survey sponsored by AisleBuyer show that 75% of consumers would switch brands if offered real-time discounts. It is no wonder brands are always scrambling to come up with a new gimmick to hang onto their current audience.

What Coke’s New Ads Mean For Brands And Consumers (Fast Company)

This week, Coca-Cola launched its new “Together for Good” campaign, in an attempt to join the nation’s fight against obesity. The beverage company will air two minute commercials on CNN, Fox, MSNBC and during the Super Bowl to highlight its efforts to address the growing concerns around obesity. In two different commercials, Coke brings attention to impact of all calories (not only those from sugary drinks) and offered ways to burn the calories in Coke. While some public interest groups saw that ads as a way to deflect responsibility for their part they play in the obesity epidemic, Fast Company’s Cheryl Davenport believes that these type of situations offer consumers opportunities to “influence the path of companies like Coke.” For more on how to take action, get a look at Davenport’s suggestions here.

Maker of Stupid Banana Slicer Thrilled by Sarcastic Reviews on Amazon (AdWeek)

Amazon.com has fostered a culture that supports users’ sarcastic and snarky online reviews of what some customers consider the “stupidest products” on sale. This week, the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer is the newest target of these snarky Amazon reviews. While Amazon.com users may have initiated these online reviews as a joke, they actually helped product sales soar. Marketers are never happy when a product page is hijacked, but Hutzler showed that laughing at a joke at their own expense can be profitable and gained immensely from it.

American Airlines Revamp Hopes to Revive ‘Wonder of Travel’ (AdvertisingAge)

American Airlines is showing off its new look and new logo with hopes to reinvigorate the ‘Wonder of Travel.‘ This is the first rebrand for American Airlines in almost 45 years. The airline is working its way out from Chapter 11 bankruptcy and growing pressure from major unions to merge with US Airways. They are also replacing their aging fleet with new aircrafts, two of which go into service on Jan. 31. The brand is working with FutureBrand on design changes and developed a new 60-second commercial featuring a familiar voice, “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm. The goal of this new spot, entitled “Change is in the Air,” is to make people see that the wonder of flying is having the opportunity to board an aircraft and go anywhere in the world.

Aflac Duck Injury Spurs Online Card Generator (ClickZ)

Alfac’s latest promo features a press conference being held at a hospital where the infamous spokesduck is being treated after an unfortunate accident leaving him with injuries to his wing and beak. As part of this new campaign, the commercial offers an interactive social component where the doctor treating the Aflac duck asks the public to send their “get well soon” virtual cards via the duck’s Facebook page or through a new website created called GetWellDuck.com. In just two and a half days, the duck received more than 4,050 cards. While Aflac commercials have focused on the benefits of the plan and any added bonuses that the providers offer while one is out of work due to illness or injury, this new campaign focuses more on the view from the policy holder’s perspective. As Aflac manages changes in creative direction, the brand wants to maintain consistent messaging and that is that Aflac has their members’ backs.

Nicole Castro is the public relations associate at the Public Relations Society of America.

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