Saturday, August 09, 2008

Telling “How”

Clients have wanted to tell a variety of stories recently. I’ve had the chance to help them identify those stories, trying to come up with new ways to tell their stakeholders about various facets of each brand.
We learn by example. Click on and you can find out how one major corporation is doing it…online, with video, with TV commercials. (Not each one is equally successful: The “Environment” commercial doesn’t measure up to the company’s far more interesting story; its print advertising is consistent but not as compelling.) Every element of Lockheed Martin’s “How” campaign is structured around 12 words.

Between the idea and the achievement, there is one important word: How.

One of the site’s newest videos explains the development of the F-117A Nighthawk, the world’s first operational stealth fighter….again, based on the word “How.”

I know not every company has Lockheed Martin’s wealth of stories, especially about things that go bang. I also know Lockheed Martin has been in the news lately in a not-so-great way. Still, weapons systems are hardly the only arena in which Lockheed Martin is involved and branding efforts are even more critical when other, more positive stories need to be told.

For a large company like Lockheed Martin, it doesn’t matter whether the focus is on it first-class environmental efforts or US military airpower research. What’s key – from a marketing perspective – is consistency of brand messaging and story-telling style.

It is observable that the company has kept to an unswerving brand story. (And the stock price is up about 20% in the past year, too.)

So: How do you marshal your own brand stories? How do you commit to presenting them in a variety of ways? How do you keep the pressure on your own organization to help you deliver the many facets of your own corporate narrative?

Lockheed Martin notes: It is the how that makes all the difference.

Nighthawk photograph © 2008, Lockheed Martin Corporation.

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