WASHINGTON: The Aluminum Association (AA) has settled on Hill & Knowlton to lead its upcoming integrated branding campaign. Yet it is still far from settled precisely what the campaign will look like.
This is because the AA has taken the unusual step of having management consultancy McKinsey & Co. play a large role in shaping the campaign in an effort to maximize ROI.
At a time when clients seem more interested than ever in tracking and calculating ROI for their PR and communications endeavors, McKinsey has been given the task of analyzing and researching data to determine what sort of campaign would best raise the metal's profile - and even more importantly, drive sales.
"We are now committed to running a campaign," explained Robin King, AA's VP of public affairs. But that will happen only after McKinsey completes a review of past efforts to determine the method most likely to increase actual sales, said King.
Doubts as to whether the AA would ever launch a campaign of any kind had permeated the RFP process, according to King and others closely involved. From the outset, the group had expressed skepticism over the real-life impact of similar industrywide campaigns led by groups such as the Plastics Council, saying they were not eager to spend money on an expensive campaign that would have little impact on their industry's bottom line.
Neither a budget nor a time frame for the campaign has yet been determined, said King. Both will depend on McKinsey's recommendations. Several sources familiar with the situation, however, speculated that the vast scope of the effort, regardless of methodology, would require a substantial seven-figure investment.
Enterprise IG, H&K's sister branding agency headquartered in New York, has also been hired to assist with the campaign. H&K declined to comment on the account.
The AA represents a vast group of aluminum manufacturers whose operations and products often bear little resemblance to one another.
"With a material like aluminum, different customers value different things," said AA's King. "Strength and safety are very important in automotive uses, while fizz and freshness are important in packaging. McKinsey will help us determine a strategy to reach such a complex audience."