Philips' fitness device helps tell corporate story

NEW YORK: Philips Electronics is using the promotion of its Direct Life fitness tracker to further position itself as a corporate leader in health and wellness.

NEW YORK: Philips Electronics is using the promotion of its Direct Life fitness tracker to further position itself as a corporate leader in health and wellness.

The company launched Direct Life in October 2009 to consumers, but increased communications leading up to the Consumers Electronics Show and the release of a status report on American's health and well-being in January.

“In the US market where competition for attention [and] funding is one of the most intense globally, we need to find different ways to stand out,” said David Wolf, senior director of corporate communications for Philips Electronics North America.

Philips is working with One Voice, the network of Omnicom Group agencies that won the company's global PR account last year, on the campaign. Ketchum provided support for Direct Life, an electronic fitness tracker that monitors an individual's daily activity, and the index report.

“These two projects reflect some of the work we're doing to help Philips broaden their brand,” said AJ Goodman, associate director for the media group at Ketchum. "The one thing that people really don't know Philips for is the health and wellness element that they really have a long-standing history in."

Philips has focused on events, top-tier business and consumer lifestyle media outreach, and employee ambassadors to raise awareness about the fitness tracker.

“The first challenge was to turn our employees not just into ambassadors but into promoters,” said Wolf. “That was a key goal for our entire communications.”

The company gave trackers to all of its 25,000 employees in North America, encouraging them to use the product and talk about it with friends and family, and turned to its corporate leaders to act as spokespeople in the media.

It also provided samples to some journalists, like David Pogue at The New York Times, who tweeted about the product, as well as staffers at Fast Company.

“In addition to talking about the actual device and the service, it opened up other doors to talk about how our business is progressing overall,” said Wolf. “We're really trying to build on things over time and over time change people's perceptions of Philips.

It also announced the creation of an online think tank called The Philips Center for Health and Well-being, which produces reports like the index. Media outreach for the index targeted the Associated Press and Reuters.

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