New avenues of outreach tell a record-breaking tale

One of the biggest challenges for today's marketers is the rapid pace and total change in the consumption of entertainment media.

This digital revolution has provoked a battle for people's time and attention. Entertainment and businesses are more accessible and portable, now available 24/7 in the palm of one's hand.

Despite the buzz and opportunities offered for successful promotional marketing, core traditional marketing tools are needed: a quality product or service attractively priced and packaged for a defined target audience. Social media and new high-profile partners can enhance a campaign or introduce a new message or audience, but they are not a substitute or a quick fix if you don't have a core foundation.

The acceptance of this change and willingness to adapt PR and marketing strategies are directly related to the pace of recovery from the economic slump in different countries.

Global campaigns still offer brand cohesion and economies of scale, but can be most successful with one strong message or idea that can be localized in more than one territory to make it more relevant, and thus deliver a much stronger message with lasting resonance. In choosing the idea or partner, it's the shared brand values and creating a new emotional connection with the audience that can cut through and deliver above the media noise.

And equally critical to standing out is engaging in new avenues of outreach with less than traditional partners.

Kaiser Permanente, a healthcare company, sought a new way of promoting overall well-being and first approached Guinness World Records to do a single record attempt last fall for the most vaccinations given in eight hours. With more than 6,000 people receiving vaccinations, they decided to turn this single experience into a full prevention campaign for 2011. They are now attempting a record each month, raising awareness for the prevention of heart disease, colon, cervical, and skin cancer.

Estée Lauder's Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign illuminated 38 global historic landmarks in pink lights over a 24-hour period, setting the record for the most illuminated landmarks for a cause. This generated more than 92 million media impressions.

Remaining relevant is top of mind for the Guinness World Records brand itself. A sales and marketing team of 12 in the US and UK implements global PR and marketing plans around core products, publishing, record breaking, digital, live events, TV, and licensing.

There's never a dull day when you're marketing a brand with a 98% prompted brand awareness rate, but the challenge is to maintain this positive perception and expand visibility beyond our annual book. As a 55-year-old brand, we need to make sure we stay relevant to our audiences, who are primarily families with a focus on young boys aged 7 to 14.

With a database of 50,000 records and 1,000 new record proposals weekly, we're adapting content to a variety of digital platforms such as our website, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube channel, as well as our new eBook and app.

While the brand resonates primarily with boys, celebrities appreciate record recognition. Michael Jackson came by our offices unexpectedly in 2007 to collect his 12 Guinness World Records certificates, and Charlie Sheen recently proclaimed his Guinness World Records glory for the fastest time to reach 1 million followers on Twitter (25 hours, 17 minutes).

Other memorable campaigns include our 2010 book launch and press tour, escorting the new tallest living man, 8-foot-2-inch tall Sultan Kösen from Turkey, through a media blitz in New York City. When he saw the Empire State Building he said, "I love this city, because for the first time in my life I feel small."

It sounds like a cliché, but every day here is different. One day I'm watching 607 Santa's elves gather in Bryant Park to launch the movie Santa Baby 2, the next I'm meeting agencies and retailers interested in licensing and promotional opportunities.

My mother always said, "You will spend your entire life at work, so find something that you love to do." I can't think of a better role, having the opportunity to market an iconic brand and seeing ordinary people doing extraordinary things every day.

Samantha Fay is SVP of global marketing at Guinness World Records.

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