ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Aug. 2, 2013) --Type in "Army logo" in any search engine and hundreds of images will appear. While the Army star logo dominates, individual command, agency, organization and program logos also turn up. Is that a problem?
According to research by both the Joint Advertising Marketing Research and Studies group, or JAMRS, and the Army Marketing and Research Group, known as AMRG, a diluted brand has an impact both on the image of the Army and how it is perceived by important audiences, including the American people and service-aged youth.
To that end, the AMRG, charged with overseeing the national advertising, marketing and research analysis for recruiting and accessions, has revised regulation 601-208 "The Army Brand and Marketing Program," to strengthen the Army brand and highlight the Army's transition to an enterprise brand strategy, i.e. a consistent and Armywide adherence to existing branding policies.
"The Army is a large and diverse force with an incredible history," said Mark Davis, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for marketing. "Somewhere along the way, we lost sight of how powerful it is to speak with one voice; be identified as one service; and be recognized for all the good that we do as a total force -- active and Reserve Component -- in the eyes of our key audiences."
While inside the Army individual unit and organization logos are well known, research has shown that external audiences don't make that distinction. In fact, outside of communities that surround Army forts or Reserve centers, audiences are hard pressed to distinguish amongst the armed services, let alone individual Army commands and units.
"The Army brand is more than a logo or tag line," said Davis. "It is the reputation of our service. It is the collective story that everyone knows about us. No matter the place or circumstance, it is the first thing someone thinks of when they see an Army Soldier. We, as a force, do a disservice to our heritage and the Army story when we fail to identify ourselves as Army first, and whatever subcomponent we might be, second."
The revised regulation outlines the objectives of the AMRG, which are to educate and promote Army opportunities to service-aged youth and their influencers and oversee an enterprise brand strategy that ensures the Army experience is consistently and effectively communicated. The regulation also outlines the role of every Army organization when it comes to the Army brand, i.e. the creation of local logos and one-off 'brands' is not authorized.
The revision publication comes at a pivotal moment. Strong and consistent brands are more effective and efficient and increase propensity for service in the Army, in both the uniform and civilian components. This enables the Army to reach accessions, commissioning, and civilian staffing goals with fewer and better-targeted resources.
"A strong Army brand is cost-effective," said Col. John Keeter, AMRG deputy. "If Army organizations from the strategic to tactical level clearly identify themselves as part of the larger Army when communicating externally, we all increase understanding of the Army, which in turn, helps to attract quality youth to the Army. No matter our size or our mission, we will always need top-quality youth who can adapt to any situation and be both leaders and innovators."
"With the publication of the revised regulation, we look forward to working with commands to ensure the Army brand and marketing policies are understood at every level so that we continue to tell the Army story with a strong and consistent voice," Keeter said.
The revised AR 601-208, which was formerly called the "Recruiting/Reenlistment Advertising Program," transfers proponency from the Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1 to the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs), or ASA M&RA, and identifies the establishment of the AMRG as a field operating agency of the ASA M&RA.
Army Regulation 601-208 prescribes responsibilities, objectives, and policies for the U.S. Army's Branding and Marketing Program to recruit Active Army, Reserve, and Department of Defense Civilians while addressing influencers who support and encourage potential recruits to serve. Additional policy has been added to the regulation to make AMRG the Army proponent responsible for the alignment of an enterprise Army Brand strategy between the Commanding General, U.S. Army Recruiting Command; the Commanding General, U.S. Army Cadet Command; the Commanding General, U.S. Army Reserve Command; the Commander, U.S. Army Medical Command; and the Director, Civilian Human Resources Agency.
Other key changes include: the addition of the U.S. Army Brand Portal website www.usarmybrandportal.com; the Army Trademark Licensing Program; and discussion of the Partnership for Youth Success (PaYS) Program. PaYS is a Secretary of the Army initiative that provides an additional recruiting incentive for new recruits and Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) cadets by partnering the Army with civilian corporations. This incentive offers eligible Active and Reserve Soldiers and ROTC cadets the opportunity to interview for a job with a PaYS corporate partner after completing their Army service.
For more information visit www.apd.army.mil/pdffiles/r601_208.pdf.