Corporate Branding Campaign of the Year 2008

Honoring the most outstanding use of PR in the launch of a new company, or in a corporate rebranding initiative. The chosen entries demonstrate effective recognition beyond mere brand-name recognition to show an appreciation and understanding of key message points among the target audience

GolinHarris and the Society of Actuaries: Actuaries - Risk is Opportunity. The Revitalization of a Profession's "Brand"

At a time when organizations were confronting a complexity of risks, including global competition, the dramatic bottom-line effects of mass Baby Boomer retirements, and spiraling healthcare costs, the Society of Actuaries (SOA) had to do an extensive rebranding among businesses and societies to change the perception that actuaries were merely technical analysts who were adverse to risk.

SOA called on GolinHarris, and its internal communications arm, Insidedge, to create a fresh approach that would maintain actuaries' leadership strength in "traditional" fields, such as insurance, retirement, and employee benefits, and reposition actuaries' qualifications for broader leadership roles.

The PR team conducted qualitative and quantitative research to gauge just how employers and clients perceived actuaries. They interviewed more than 20 actuaries, a dozen top executives, the profession's key leaders, and reviewed 2004's client and employer surveys.

The strategy took a tiered approach to unveiling the brand positioning statement, the tagline, and communication platforms: economic and social change, real-world solutions for complex problems, and future leadership.

The team used a multimedia event, including a video with energetic member testimonials to debut the brand at SOA's Annual Meeting in October 2006, preceding a "Living the Brand" workshop for ambassadors. The team then featured actuarial stories, examples, and case studies at an "Actuaries in Action" speakers bureau in 2007.

A "Longevity & Retirement" campaign positioned actuaries as leaders of the retirement system dialogue through an SOA program that brings together key stakeholders with an interest in developing new retirement systems. The team reached external audiences with an in-person, desk-side media tour in Chicago, New York, and DC. It also launched a "Risk as an Opportunity" campaign to educate clients and employers about business risk and actuaries' qualifications for leadership in the category.

The initiative also included a new Chartered Enterprise Risk Analyst credential in 2007, targeting actuaries, employers, and students interested in risk management, accompanied by media briefings.

Media strategy and aggressive outreach generated interest in the new credential - over 175 high-profile placements and 160 million media impressions. The PR team managed to communicate the diversity of actuaries' value, as evident in press coverage of all three platforms.

"The PR team took on a great challenge and redefined a category," said one judge. Another noted, "They took a potentially dull profession and gave it some life."

Honorable Mention
Tesla Motors: Tesla Motors brand launch campaign

Silicon Valley start-up Tesla Motors built a company and product brand in the alternative fuel vehicle technology, despite recent failures to launch American car companies, consumer and media skepticism, and a limited time period and budget. Tesla's internal PR staff faced the challenges of reaching investors, traditional and new media sources, and a wide consumer base - including one who could afford the $100,000 car. A strategy to communicate clear brand attributes - Design, Performance, and Efficiency - allowed Tesla to build awareness of the brand, and excitement around the product offering. The team organized a high-profile launch event on July 19, 2006; created a virtual sales brochure and press kit on the company Web site; posted blogs by high-level execs; and conducted extensive media outreach. The team also used viral and non-traditional marketing, including YouTube videos, free placement in a Microsoft xBox car racing game, and entertainment and charity auction tie-ins. The branding initiative generated significant media coverage and sold out Tesla's total production for 2008. Judges agreed that the team did a lot with a limited budget.

Finalists 2008
GolinHarris and Nintendo of America Nintendo's Market Disruption
GolinHarris and Toyota Motor Sales USA Toyota Goes NASCAR
GolinHarris and the Society of Actuaries Actuaries - Risk is Opportunity: The Revitalization of a Profession's "Brand"
Tesla Motors Tesla Motors brand launch campaign
Weber Shandwick and InterContinental Hotels Group Changing the Game: Bringing IHG to the US

Sponsor: Manning Selvage & Lee (MS&L) is one of the world's leading global communications firms. It has 54 offices throughout North America, Latin America, EMEA, and Asia-Pacific, and an extensive global affiliate network. MS&L provides best-in-class services in consumer marketing PR, healthcare PR, corporate communications, and technology communications, as well as industry-leading work in digital communications. The firm won PRWeek's Best Use of Internet/New Media Award in 2006 and 2007.

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