Armed Forces Entertainment (AFE), a division of the DOD, provides free entertainment to U.S. military personnel serving overseas. AFE hosts 600 shows each year, reaching more than 400,000 personnel at 200 military installations around the world. They enlisted RCCO to be their agency of record 14 years ago and that alliance continues to thrive today.
Our mission has been to help Armed Forces Entertainment boost morale and provide a taste of home by bringing in first-class entertainment to those who serve overseas.
Building the Brand
No campaign can be successful without accurate intel. In our case, interviews with military personnel and contacts in the entertainment field suggested that AFE had virtually no brand awareness. After putting on our planning hats we recommended a comprehensive marketing, advertising, public relations and social media program designed to put Armed Forces Entertainment on the global stage. The initial effort included a new high concept logo/brand identity package and positioning. A redesigned website, trade publication ads, venue identity package, music trade show presence and public relations/social media initiatives were also deployed in raising AFE’s profile.
Ongoing research revealed that AFE needed greater digital engagement. We focused heavily on social media content and strategy and developed a comprehensive plan that took into account key trends, behaviors and seasonality. By presenting exciting, engaging and relevant content to the target audience, we were able to increase Armed Forces Entertainment’s social media following by over 400% in just two years.
Another essential step in reinforcing the Armed Forces Entertainment brand was updating their website to meet the standards of today’s connected user. We gave the site a fresh, modern look and responsive design that feels organic to the entertainment industry while ensuring a more streamlined and optimized user experience.
Establishing a powerful AFE brand presence at show venues was another key component of the campaign. Onsite branding included stage banners and signage, t-shirts, swag, autograph cards, CD signings, coaching clinics and more – all designed to give service members a little taste of home.
Ads in trade and consumer publications such as Rolling Stone and Billboard Magazine raised brand awareness significantly. As did establishing a major presence at SXSW. These efforts didn’t go unnoticed and played an integral role in helping recruit acts such as The Mowgli’s, Stone Temple Pilots, Shaggy, 3 Doors Down, Big and Rich, comedians Rob Schneider, Adam Devine and George Lopez, as well as numerous coaches, NFL players and cheerleaders.