WASHINGTON (Oct. 2, 2012) -- The United States of America exists because there is a United States Army, which is arguably the best land force in the world. The U.S. Army is an institution founded on values and a bedrock of trust between it and the American people it serves. The U.S. Army Soldier is professional, trained, disciplined and reflects the best of the country he or she serves.
Today's Soldiers are strong, decisive, technologically savvy and morally and ethically steadfast. Soldiers get things done -- no matter where or how difficult, Soldiers always accomplish the mission. Not everyone can be a Soldier -- they are unique, selfless, patriotic, physically fit and driven by duty, honor, country and the desire to a part of something greater than themselves -- but all Americans can be proud of the American Soldier.
Is this what the average American thinks and feels when he or she sees a Soldier?
Over time, through periods of transition and potential negative events, is this the underlying truth the nation continues to believe about their Army? Do Soldiers, civilians and Army families believe and communicate this about themselves and the institution? How should the Army leverage this credibility to encourage and attract high quality men and women to serve? And does the American Soldier, what they do, how they do it, how they interact with the public and the way the Army is marketed to the Nation reinforce the Army's commitment to the American people?
The answers to these questions and how the Army is explained to the American public are vital to ensuring the Army sustains its connection with the American people and receives the support it needs to deliver on its promise to defend the American Constitution and American way of life, according to Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Marketing Mark S. Davis, and director of the newly formed Army Marketing and Research Group, or AMRG.
Created by order of the Secretary of the Army in April 2011, the AMRG marked its full operational capability status with a ceremony Oct. 1, hosted by Thomas R. Lamont, assistant secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, or ASA-M&RA.
"Our number one enduring mission in the Army is to recruit and sustain the all-volunteer force," said Lamont. "And the tip of the spear of that effort is right here at the AMRG. We are grateful for your service to our Soldiers and their families."
The AMRG, formed from efficiencies gained by the inactivation of the U.S. Army Accessions Command, is tasked with connecting the Army with America through a strong Army brand and establishing the Army as the desired opportunity for service for the most qualified candidates.
"The Army brand is really the ongoing dialogue we have with the American people -- it enables our communication and marketing efforts," Davis said. "Brand is what is believed and what is believable about an organization -- both internally and externally. And what is most believable is what you are able to see and experience without the filters of the media, entertainment, etc; hence AMRG's mission to make the Army more transparent to the American public; explained in a way that is accessible and shows how truly extraordinary the U.S. Army and the American Soldier are."
While the size of the Army is decreasing, the mission to recruit the best qualified candidates in an ever-decreasing pool of eligible prospects has not changed, which requires a strategic brand marketing and communications plan that includes and addresses the entire Army.
"We, as an Army, don't often speak about ourselves in the collective -- we often differentiate by component, command, branch or military occupational skill which dilutes the message of who we are and what we do," said Davis. "That's not how the American public sees us -- they see and understand us in the collective, as one Army. The more we expose the public to our Soldiers, civilians and family members in that way, the stronger our brand becomes, the more our story is understood and believed, and the more comfortable influencers and potential prospects are in recommending or serving in our ranks."
While AMRG exists to build a strong national marketing campaign, conduct market and accessions research and build an enterprise brand across the Army, it is the total Army force, including Civilians, and Families, former Soldiers and veterans who create brand equity and solidify what the American people think about their Army, Davis said.
To accomplish this, everyone must understand the enduring storylines of the Army and communicate them to a wide variety of audiences over time. Part of the vision for AMRG is better coordination with all of the Army's communication proponents including Army Public Affairs, Legislative Affairs, Recruiting and Cadet Commands as well as the Army staff to ensure the core Army story is synchronized through all communication channels -- marketing, advertising, recruitment, public and legislative affairs.
"AMRG, an efficiency created from existing structure in the Army, represents the incredible hard work and coordination of former Army Accession Command personnel, the ASA-M&RA, Army G1, TRADOC, Recruiting and Cadet Commands, just to name a few," Davis said. "It is an exciting time to be in Army marketing and branding and I know the team is eager to move the enterprise forward during this critical period for our Army."