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Corona Extra: “Find Your Beach” Campaign Powerfully Delivers Brand Positioning

CoronaInsert_0612.inddFor a brand that has built its reputation as an ocean vacation in a bottle the move away from shore would have seemed unthinkable until numbers and sales started slipping. Modelo Group, founded in 1925, is the leader in beer production and distribution in Mexico. Its main headquarters are located in Mexico City and it currently brews and distributes 13 brands, including Corona Extra, the number one Mexican beer sold in the world. Corona Extra, the long-standing number one imported beer brand in America, has owned the beach for many years. But, after 25 years, Corona Extra became typecast as only the beach beer. Corona Extra biggest asset became their biggest liability. The company was losing too many occasions to new competitors, which leads to a decrease in sales. To aid the growth in international markets the concept of the beach was modified to a state of mind regardless of a consumer’s physical place or daily situation.  It became a challenge for Modelo Group to break the identity of being an only beach beer without breaking the brand.

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Find Your Beach Campaign

Muzellec and Lambkin’s (2006) model made significant contributions to the understanding of corporate rebranding. The model gives a clear goal for every corporate rebranding exercise. Without a clear goal and objective the whole process of corporate rebranding will be desultory. Corona Extra needed to take back the other, non-beach occasions from their competitors. The brand introduced a new call to action: “Find Your Beach” with it came a new approach to advertising. This call for action illustrates the main objective of the “Find Your Beach” campaign: make a connection with the beach and the laid-back beach state of mind to change views of Corona as an all occasion beer. The “Find Your Beach” campaign aims to make a connection with the beach and the laid-back beach state of mind. Corona Extra wanted that to show consumers that a beach is not always made of sand with the intention to make the brand more open to more people in more occasions. The campaign evolved from focusing just on beaches to showing how Corona Extra can help transform everyday into a vacation. In other words, the objective of the campaign was to get consumers understand that Corona Extra is great beer for the summer, but it is also a great beer in the winter because it gives people that beach state of mind.

Corona’s “Find Your Beach” campaign began in 2010. The ongoing campaign and new work were created by the long-time agency Cramer-Krasselt, based in Chicago, Illinois. The updated tagline for the communication message is “find your beach.” The primary target audience: age 21- 35, males, college education, and semi-professional career making around $50k a year, who get identify with the lifestyle aspiration Corona represents. The secondary target, would be the U.S. Hispanic population, men, 21-35, Southwest region, speak Spanish, high school education making less than $50k a year. Both target audiences are confident and fun people.

Corona Extra launched several different ways to advertise the “Find your beach” campaign including print ads, commercials, buses advertisements, billboards, bus stop advertisements, taxi tops, Twitter, through a Facebook page dedicated to the cause, and even iPhone and Android applications. Consumers could download an iPhone or Android phone application where they could enter their email address onto 1979http://www.CoronaWinYourBeach.com to find a code inside to win many prizes. Prizes included football game tickets, concert tickets, or $3000 gift certificate redeemable toward any Sports Travel and Tour destination travel package. A total of 80 grand prizes were awarded. This type of advertising gets customers actively involved with the brand.

gameIn addition, Corona Extra created the “Find Your Beach for the Game Promotion”. Corona Extra teamed up with the ESPN commentator and Super Bowl-winning coach Jon Gruden to showcase the top 30 United States football beach destinations in the “Find Your Beach for the Game promotion”. Football fans of legal drinking age could logged on to Corona’s Find Your Beach for the Game app on Facebook or sent a text (“FOOTBALL”) to 75327 to have a chance to win all-inclusive trips to one of Gruden’s top football game-day destinations, including New Orleans, San Diego, Pittsburgh, Ann Arbor, and Knoxville.

Using all these communications channels was important for bolstering the Corona Extra campaign and rebranding process. Public relations provided exposure to key audiences using key messages to reinforce the overarching revised brand strategy. Social media efforts integrated language and tone that aligned with the authenticity that the rebrand sought to create. Social media were able to reinforce the company’s desire to be perceived as contemporary and young, while also building on consumers the beach state of mind.

Culture’s efforts

Thanks to a highly creative, comprehensive and well-planned marketing campaign called “Find your beach”, Corona Extra was able to not only rebuild its image but also obtained the targeted sale increase they hoped for. Corona overall profits have increased significantly from negative in 2009 to positive in 2013 (Media Buzz). Corona Extra integrates a communication mix in their campaign plan that allowed them to reach a broad audience and spread the campaign. The communication campaign plan included media and digital advertisements, public relations Kick-off event in New York City’s Times Square to build media coverage and consumer excitement, and on-premise and off-premise POS (points of sale).

The campaign was divided in four cultural event stages. The first one was the Cinco De Mayo from March 19 until May 5, the second one was Corona Summer from May 16 until July 31, the third one was Labor Day from August 15 until September 30, and the last one Feliz Navidad (Christmas) from November 1 until January 2. By doing this, Corona Extra divided the campaign advertisements and plan in four different weather season, that support the campaign message; Corona Extra is a beer for every moment and occasion. Additionally, each of the stages represent an important cultural holiday for the key targets. For example, Cinco de Mayo is an important cultural holiday for Mexicans. Labor Day is an important holiday for Americans. Feliz Navidad is a special holiday for every culture.

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Consequently, Corona Extra included in its plan cultural events that represent each of their target audience. Finally, the Summer stage in a season that apply to the whole audience and that represent the brand. Beyond ethical concerns, public relations efforts also centered around presenting the company’s appreciation for cultural aspects. These public relations strategies reinforced the company’s image as a respected partner for culture. As well as communicating the obvious, public relations campaigns need to bring brands to life by dazzling consumer senses, touching their hearts, and stimulating their minds.

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The strategies implemented seem appropriate to achieve the campaign’s objective. Effective public relations campaign strategies describes the point of engagement between a brand and its consumer. If executed correctly, it generates short-term behavior change and builds an emotional connection that creates a profound relationship and ultimately a rational response to brand and product purchase (Muzellec & Lambkin, 2008).

Corona Extra for their television commercials use a song that perfectly reflect the Corona state of mind, unrestrained by time or pressures, and that perfectly fit with the campaign message. A song called ‘Secret Sun’ by Jesse Harris:

“Meet me by the sea again. Past the point where the shoreline bends. Where the sand is soft and warm. And hangs upon your golden arm. And time won’t move at all.”

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Good Campaign delivers values

Overall, the strategies implemented in this campaign seem appropriate and ethical. Corona Extra overcame its challenge by breaking the “rules” of beer marketing. Those rules maintained that sex and women sell beer (Sankrusme, 2012). Corona Extra and the agency teams did not agree. The brand ultimately found its success by identifying and remaining true to a distinctive set of values and a unique brand personality. The brand uncovered a set of values important to its consumers, found a way to communicate those values, and committed to never waiver from what makes the communication work, no matter what the category rules of the day might dictate. Corporate rebranding therefore is a continuous recombination of values or their extensions in an attempt to be selected for survival by the environment; the most important of which are the customers (Tevi & Otubanjo, 2013).

Corona Extra has been building a strong brand image over time as a result of wise and precise public relations plan, sales decisions, strategic marketing, and consistent actions. From product quality and pricing to public relations plan and advertising message, multiple components contribute to the formation of a brand image and are therefore critical towards its success and worthy positioning within the market. Public relations practitioners can build meaningful brand, product, or service differentiation, image and equity with the right positioning foundation and public relations plan that bring it to life.  Corona Extra’s “Find Your Beach” campaign is a poster example.

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Weakness

Even though Corona Extra divided the campaign in four cultural event stages, the campaign was present just in English. The secondary target was the United States Hispanic population; consequently, the campaign designers should launch the campaign in both Spanish and English. For future campaigns targeting Hispanics in United States, it is recommended that the Spanish and English language should be both included because there are Hispanics who are not billingual.

References

Muzellec, L., & Lambkin, M. (2006). Corporate rebranding: destroying, transferring or creating brand equity?. European Journal of Marketing, 40(7/8), 803-824.

Muzellec, L., & Lambkin, M. (2008). Corporate rebranding and the implications for brand architecture management: The case of guinness Ireland. Journal of Strategic Marketing, 16(4), 283-299.

Sankrusme, S. (2012). Marketing strategy of imported beers before liquor liberalization. International Journal of Marketing Studies,4(3), 45-57.

Tevi, A., & Otubanjo, O. (2013). Understanding corporate rebranding: An evolution theory perspective. International Journal of Marketing Studies, 5(3), 87-93.

A Perspective from a Public Relations Practitioner

AliaI interviewed Alia Lamborghini, the regional vice president of Millennial Media, whose major responsibility is handling the public affairs of the company. At her young age she has extensive experience in global corporate communication and public relations. As a vice president she handles the public affairs and the internal communications of Millennial Media between United States, London and Singapore offices. A woman who is passionate about traveling to different countries to understand other cultures with the aim of learn how to communicate with the world “the more you are exposed to other cultures, the more you are able to relate with cross-cultural people.” For Lamborghini understanding how to communicate efficiently is the key for a successful public relations practitioner. As Muller (2011) reiterates “international marketers and advertisers must recognize the pervasive influence of culture” (p. 154)

Lamborghini has to daily exposure to local and global communications, as she believes as one of the most complex and necessary activities of human beings and organizations. Moreover, she is one of the six founders of Digital Divas. Digital Divas is a network that encourage women to learn, grown, and lead  in the digital marketing and advertising space,  looking to raise the role of women in a global digital environment. Digital Divas perform educational panels and networking events with professionals speakers, which are considered “Authentic Voices” in order to lead women into the digital marketing and advertising field.

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Lamborghini studied Journalism and Public relations at University of Maryland. In 2002 when she got graduated she started working at advertising.com as an account manager. During the eight years working for that company Lamborghini continued with her educational training to help her excel in her work. A stage that Lamborghini refers as “the principle of the successful professional.” For Lamborghini, the first years of a recent graduate are very important because they define the career of each person, which is why even finished college people must continue educating themselves with the purpose of compete in the globalized world. Lamborghini states that this continued education led her become the regional vice president of Millennial Media.

Millennial Media is a mobile advertising and data platform that offers advertising for the mobile industry to worldwide mobile audiences. Through smart phones now companies can advertise and reach a desired audience at scales, across the world, and in minutes. Reaching audiences anytime and anywhere in the world, is one of the biggest advantages of the mobile industry. Lamborghini considered extremely important that “effective public relations practitioners delivers the right message to the right person at the right moment.” For this reason she considers important that public relations practitioners must be aware of the audience culture, in order to develop the right message. As Anholt (2000) said “advertising is not made of words, but made of culture” (p. 5)

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Moreover, Lamborghini emphasized the importance of a global public relation practitioner to inculcate the philosophy of social responsibility in the organization. An organization will have stronger relationships with their publics when working for the development of the worldwide community. An organization can shape behaviors and human lives through social projects. In Millennial Media there is a very strong philosophy of social responsibility. During the year, employees volunteer for social causes and participate in social campaigns for the community. A global organization requires successful and socially responsible executives. Lamborghini thinks that the world can not think of leaders who are unaware to social issues and to the welfare of the community.

Lamborghini advises all public relations practitioners preparing for a global career to travel and experience other cultures. That the best way to respond to consumer needs is knowing them thoroughly. Understand and respect differences in culture allow communication to successfully accomplish its main objective. Moreover, Lamborghini advises that excellent global leaders have a huge social responsibility heart, who works for the welfare of the community.

References

Anholt, S. (2000). Another One Bites the Grass: The trouble with words. New York: John Wiley & Sons

Mueller, B. (2011). Dynamics of International Advertising: The cultural environment. New York: Peter Lang.

Corporations, Social Responsibility, and Public Relations

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

In today’s competitive economy, selling a good product or service is no longer enough to attract today’s socially conscious shoppers. Finding the cheapest price is no longer what always matters to consumers. Instead, consumers expect companies to operate in a socially responsible manner. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is now a very important part of the consumer purchasing decisions (Sharma & Mehta, 2012). Indeed, today customers are likely to switch to brands that support a good cause, given similar price and quality. Nowadays, many organizations are no longer solely focused on turning a profit. A top priority for many organizations is corporate social responsibility (CSR), which focuses on how businesses deal with their environmental, social, and economic impacts.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is the commitment by organizations to behave ethically and contribute to economic development, while improving the quality of life of the local community and society in which they operate. Over the last years an increasing number of companies worldwide started promoting their business through CSR strategies because the public expect them to act sustainable as well as responsible (Valentine & Fleischman, 2008). The goal of CSR is to embrace responsibility for the company’s actions and encourage a positive impact through its activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders, and all other members of the public sphere. CSR gives public relations a substantial opportunity to build mutually beneficial relationship with public, which is emphasized as the ultimate goal of public relations. Consequently, public relations practitioner’s role in CSR is to make sure that the practices of the organization are well communicated between the organization and its different public. Moreover, public relations practitioners must research a company’s public to learn what particular values are most important to them, thereby maximizing the impact of the CSR.

Toward a Professional Responsibility Theory of Public Relations

Public relations has moved beyond persuasion to negotiation and mediation. The purpose of public relations is not to simply influence publics for the good of the institution, but to help organizations and their publics accommodate each others’ interests to establish a mutual benefit relationship. Public relations is been defined as an ethical communication management between the organization and its publics. Public relations practitioners develop and manage corporate social responsibility principles to fulfill ethically  its functions. However, others argue that persuasion remains at the heart of public relations work and that CSR is antithetical to sound business practice and serves to dilute its focus on wealth creation. However, organizations are considering CSR as essential for successful business operations.  Matthew Rochte is the PR and CSR article said “Companies who do not understand that CSR is about business sustainability and integrity as much as it is about social programs, often make the mistake of making CSR a marketing or PR program/problem.”

Two-way symmetrical model is a public relations theory of ethics that rests on principles of mutuality proposed by Grunig and Grunig. It is important to understand that social responsibility means first that one recognizes, accepts, and acts responsible to one’s society. Based on Garriga and Melé (2004) CSR can be classified in four groups. Firstly, the instrumental theory of CSR as a mere means to the end of profits. Secondly, the political theory in which the social power of corporation is emphasized in the responsibility in the political arena. Thirdly, the integrative theory which consider that business ought to integrate social demands. Lastly, the ethical theory that leads CSR to an ethical perspective where organizations understands that the relationship between business and society needs to have ethical values. Today, public relations professionals agreed with the ethical theories based on the need for enhanced social responsibility, mutual beneficial organization-public relationships, and improved community relations. CSR represents the new millennium challenge and a truly paradigmatic shift for business corporations. Consequently, CSR is being treated in terms of the evolving public relations profession that has moved from a focus of persuasion to a focus on ethics and relationship management.

Companies that has Social Responsibility at Its Core

TOMS is a notable example of a company that has social responsibility at its core. The shoe company donates one pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. This innovative idea resulted from a trip to Argentina where BLake Mycoskie, the founder, saw an overwhelming number of children without shoes. Toms Shoes recognized that consumers want to feel good when buying its products. In just four years, Toms Shoes has donated more than 400,000 shoes in 60 countries, showing as evidence that consumers have clearly embraced Tom Shoes’ cause. As it is stated on Tom Shoes Website “we believe we can improve people’s lives through business.” Like many great companies, TOMS grew out of a vision to make the world a better place, which make it won the Secretary of State’s 2009 Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE). Image

DTAC is another notable example of a company that has social responsibility at its core. DTAC  is the second largest mobile phone provider in Thailand and is owned by a Norwegian phone company called Telenor Group. Back in 2010, DTAC released “Disconnect to Connect” advertising campaign. Nowadays, people around the globe are becoming addicted to using the internet and mobile phones to interact, that have been neglecting the ones beside them. Thailand’s DTAC telecommunications company released “Disconnect to Connect” campaign, as part of their CSR projects, telling their customers to put cell phones down for face-to-face time with friends and family. This is an excellent example of CSR, of an organization that wants its publics to buy and use its telecommunications services and cell phones, but at the same time, encourage them to turn off their devices to spend more mindful time offline.

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Social and environmental problems sometimes become great opportunities for public relations practitioners that see CSR the ethical way to increase an organization’s profits. Do you think that a corporation do well financially by being socially responsible? or How does an organization best serve society?