Multnomah County Health Department Communications and Marketing
Senior Communications Strategist: Social Media & Digital Marketing Specialist
ACE INDUSTRIES BRAND CAMPAIGN
Part of my concept for the rebrand of Ace Industries was to use social media to reshape public perception of the company. In the past Ace had very poor presentation. Their marketing materials looked unprofessional, hodge podge and thrown together which didn't do justice to their very talented and skilled workforce. As a company, they otherwise had a great reputation. It was my mission to give them cohesiveness, industry authority and credibility. (Left: I shot this photo of "Doc", manufacturing foreman in Braselton, GA.)
Social media is perhaps the best driver of public perception of any company or institution. Where people may be a little more forgiving of a poorly designed website, because of the increasing sophistication of social media and its massive amount of users on a daily basis, there is an expectation that a company's social media project the exact image that represents them. This is why I spent a lot of time crafting Ace's public image on social media.
Ace exists in a highly competitive niche industry with lots of attempts by competitors to undermine their business. What was most important to me was to focus on their market differentiation. The competitors made it easy. Crane industry advertising design is rife with cliche, mostly depicting exactly what you'd expect: the same images of cranes and the same images of technicians fixing cranes existed on all competitor sites and social with an emphasis on their technical prowess and corporate attitude. The copy and images could easily have been copied and pasted from one company to another.
What really made Ace different was its very humanistic, very dedicated customer-first policy. Ace would even absorb huge expenses, thousands of dollars, to avoid the customer having to deal with them should a problem arise. Ace is a third generation, family owned business who really care about people and who always want to do the right thing. So I wanted to show the humanity of Ace and show them as real salt-of-the-earth, come-as-you-are people whenever possible. I also wanted to stress "hard work" as a theme because I found in this culture, working hard at a tough job is the highest possible value. I also showed the technicians' trucks at times because they were of a highly coveted make and model, a status symbol that was good for recruiting purposes.
On-going in rotation with other types of posts
ROLE IN SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN
Concept, copywriting, digital design, photography, video, video editing
To craft the public perception of Ace as human-oriented, relatable, hard-working real people that do great things, via all social media channels with the intent of inspiring trust, and establishing authenticity, positivity and confidence as brand characteristics
Create a series of brand social posts with positive inspirational messages that highlight the humanity of the subjects, typically an Ace technician or other staff, or representative vehicle or worksite and depict the values of the company
Sample People Posts
Operating as messaging slowly building up in the consciousness of Ace's audience over time, the success of this campaign was self-evident. People paid attention. The follower rate on LinkedIn began to climb rapidly and exponentially. When I began with Ace they had a little over 1,500 followers. When I left Ace five+ years later they had over 10k+ LinkedIn followers, leading competitors by astronomical leaps and bounds (the average competitor had around 2,500-3,000 followers). The images and concept of the brand campaign were so disruptive to what Ace's competitors and the rest of the industry were doing, it stood out, and the message was clear. Competitors on every level began trying to copy the formula but because they lacked nuance and understanding of how to implement brand in a way unique to the character of their own brand, it did not carry the same impact.
Sources of Pride
One thing that happened was that new hires started announcing on LinkedIn (and tagging Ace) when they got a job at Ace. That had never happened before the brand campaign! The tone was one of excitement to be part of an amazing organization. There was a lot of internal pride in the marketing at Ace under my tenure. Employees for the first time began repeating the company messaging and internalizing it. In essence, the branding started to shape the company culture. The other was that I started to hear from competitors. One direct competitor's Marketing Manager messaged me to ask for advice on how to do her own social media. I said I would not offer a competitor advice! But we spoke and became friendly. The best compliment I ever received during my time at Ace was when she told me: