USAREC ramps up in-house marketing production
May 17, 2013
FORT KNOX, Ky. -- On a mission to gather stock photos and video to be used in future public relations and marketing ventures for Recruiting Command, USAREC's marketing chief Steve Lambert spent three days in mid April selectively snapping photos of members of an Army Reserve Combat Support Hospital (CSH) training at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
He'd spent the week before shooting video and still footage in Puerto Rico interviewing members of an Army Reserve engineering company and filming footage of their participation in multiple community building projects.
The stock photos Lambert gathered at the Mayo Clinic will be used to produce print ads in support of the Medical Recruiting Brigade (MRB) recruiting effort. Photos will also be used on websites and in advertorials, brochures, fact sheets and flyers.
The footage shot in Puerto Rico will be used to produce a public service announcement showing how Army Reserve members give back to the Puerto Rican communities in which they live. The goal is to educate Puerto Ricans about the Army Reserve and help establish brand identity in Puerto Rico.
Designed to reach the masses, the public service announcement will be run in movie theaters throughout summer.
These marketing products are important, said Ward Wood, USAREC's director of Marketing, Education and Outreach, because the command is projected to miss this year's Reserve mission and have continued challenges in the coming years.
"Since this is a priority mission for the command, we're trying to do all we can to boost up our Reserve marketing material so we can farm it out to all the units or digitize it so it can be dispersed electronically," said Wood.
MRB commander Col. Karrie Fristoe and Martin Stubeda, USAREC's director of health services, worked with the commanders of Army Reserve Medical Readiness and Training Command and the CHS to coordinate the photo shoot at the Mayo Clinic.
"I always look for opportunities to highlight good news stories and gather stock photos to be used in future MRB marketing ventures," said Stubeda.
The Puerto Rico PSA will be designed to help establish brand identity of the Army Reserve, said Lambert.
"A brand equity analysis found people on the island don't see the distinction between the Army Reserve, active duty and the National Guard," said Lambert. "They think anyone who joins the Army goes straight to Iraq, and they also don't realize that in Puerto Rico, most of the time it's the Reserve that helps communities deal with disasters, not the National Guard."
These are just two of a number of in-house marketing products USAREC has produced during the past nine months. With the draw down on the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and the stand down of Accessions Command (AAC) a year ago, Lambert expects his workload to continue to grow.
"During the GWOT days and when AAC was around there was a bigger pool of resources, both in terms of a large amount of money to push to the agencies to produce products and in AAC's manpower to manage projects. But since AAC has inactivated and GWOT money dried up, dollars are much tougher to come by. However, the workload is still the same, so we have to make those dollars stretch and the command has elected to do that through internal production."
In-house marketing products produced over the past nine months include the following:
• An Army adventure video and another called STEM Challenges. Both were produced by recutting existing footage from MOS videos. STEM Challenges will be used on the STEM van and at open robotics competitions.
The adventure video, showing Soldiers engaged in adventurous exercises and missions, will be used by recruiters and shown on USAREC's YouTube channel.
"When I joined the Army back in the '70s the Army had this identity that we travel more than anyone and see exciting places," said Lambert. "We've kind of lost that brand identity. I wanted to show that the Army is highly challenging physically, mentally and emotionally. If you're a young kid, that's appealing to you."
• Forging America's Strength, a 90-second awareness video about the Army's role in the development of the country. Conceived, written, scripted, directed and created completely in house, it took about six weeks to produce. It's now on the USAREC YouTube channel and will be pushed out to recruiters to use as an opener at chamber of commerce meetings, high school visits, conventions, career fairs, leaders seminars, etc. The video recently won a 2nd place Keith L. Ware, an Army level journalism award.
• A music video about Army Recruiting Entertainment Team (ARET) singer Sgt. Corrin Campbell.
• Warrant officer fact sheets detailing the specifics of each of the 43 MOSs in the officer field to replace the single recruiter publicity item (RPI) about warrant officers.
Even though the increased production means a lot more work for Lambert and his small staff of five, he said there are some pros to doing some projects in house.
"From a time management perspective generally we can produce certain products much quicker and for a tenth of the cost. And producing them in house gives us more control over the end result of the product."
Lambert emphasizes that USAREC and his marketing cell have no intention of replacing the Army's contracted advertising and public relations agencies -- McCann Erickson Worldwide and Weber Shandwick -- which typically produce between 150 and 200 marketing products a year for the command. Those products include everything from writing and public relations work to creating websites and producing commercials, print ads and taking photos.
"There's no way we can do that with our small staff, but the expertise on the agency side is really strategic. We have a local demand that requires the execution of products in a timely manner. Because we don't have to deal with the constraints of contracting, we can often meet deadlines quicker."
Upcoming projects for USAREC's marketing cell include:
• Producing a Special Operations Recruiting Battalion video for use in supporting the command's in-service recruiting mission.
• Building a display and banner-ups for chaplain recruiting.
• Producing desktop calendars listing Army careers and images for recruiters to deliver to high school guidance counselors.
• Producing the high school program guide, a booklet that describes all of the Army education programs for recruiters to deliver to high school guidance counselors.