Change That Attitude

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Everyone has attitude but for marketers, they focus on your brand attitude. An attitude is a learned predisposition to behave in a consistently favourable or unfavourable way with respect to a given object (Algie 2014) – in this case, a brand – thus, brand attitude.

Think of a brand you really like – here you have got a positive brand attitude. Now, think of a brand you don’t prefer – here you have a negative brand attitude. If you compare your brand attitudes with someone else, you might find they have a different brand attitude. Brand attitudes though, can change and it is the job of the marketer to increase or maintain a positive brand attitude – after all, no brand wants a negative brand attitude. This is especially a case after a public relations ‘disaster’.

Below I have given two examples of how two brands help trying to restore their consumer’s brand attitude. The brands – Ford and Holden – are both from the car industry and have a generally positive brand attitude in the community.

Ford Australia

Nearly one year ago, Ford Australia said it will close its Australian manufacturing plants in October 2016, with the loss of hundreds of jobs (2013). This caused a shift in their generally positive brand attitude to a negative brand attitude as a result of this news so Ford Australia immediately begun the work to return it to a positive brand attitude.

Their marketing efforts were very little noticed as they probably decided to continue their marketing campaign as per normal but in October last year, I did notice they made a subtle attempt to make consumers’ change their attitude of Ford Australia back to positive.

It is possible to alter attitudes towards companies and their products by pointing out their relationship to social groups, events or causes (Algie 2014) so about 4 months later, Ford Australia signed a sponsorship deal with last year’s International Fleet Review in Sydney by providing live sites for spectators to watch the ceremonial fleet review, air displays and fireworks & light show spectacular via large screens located around Sydney Harbour.

'Royal Australian Navy International Fleet Review Spectacular' Online Video Screenshot

The made an association with the International Fleet Review in their advertising through a Twitter hashtag ‘#FordSalutes’, their own exclusive YouTube broadcast of the event as well as taglines like ‘Proudly Supporting Our Australian Heroes’ and ‘Committed To Australia’. The last tagline is what was there to change consumers’ brand attitudes back to positive after they made the manufacturing plant closures announcement.

Some people did notice what they were trying to do but a majority of the public didn’t and with 250,000 people at their live sites and 2.8 million people viewing their exclusive YouTube broadcast, they certainly achieved their brand attitude strategy.

Holden Australia

A few months later in mid-December, Holden was now in the same situation – Nearly 3,000 Holden workers are set to lose their jobs over the next four years as the iconic manufacturer winds down its Australian manufacturing operations (2014). The brand attitude shift from positive to negative for this brand was even stronger as they were the ‘national’ car manufacturer leaving their own country.

They too immediately begun reversing the shift in consumers’ brand attitude from negative back to positive but unlike Ford, it did not work just as well. In fact, for most people, it made it even worse.

The video above is how Holden responded to the brand attitude shift – the ‘We’re Here To Say’ campaign – but the marketing message they communicated was interpreted the way they intended to as people read it as a clear lie as they are not staying but in fact, leaving. This is true in regards to Holden’s car manufacturing divisions but Holden intended the audience to see that they are staying to sell vehicles and other services in Australia even though their car manufacturing divisions are leaving the country.

Tthe fault in this campaign was that Holden didn’t focus on their vehicle selling divisions etc. – they just focused on the tagline ‘We’re Here To Stay’ and so the audience just instantly related their campaign to the car manufacturing divisions since they were, at the time, recently announced to be leaving Australia in the next 4 years. This also points out another fault – unlike Ford who waited about 4 months to start their campaign, Holden started their campaign immediately.

Holden’s campaign may have backfired on them but it shows the power of advertising in influencing consumers’ brand attitudes. Hopefully with these two examples, you have been able to see what brand attitude is and how marketing can influence your own brand attitude.

References:

Algie, L 2014, ‘Attitudes and Attitude Changes’ powerpoint slides, MARK217, University of Wollongong, viewed 1 May 2014

Holden, 2013, We’re Here To Stay, online video, 19 December, YouTube, viewed 6 May 2014, <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XZndLtBfoU&gt;

2013, Ford Australia to close Broadmeadows and Geelong plants, 1,200 jobs to go, Australian Broadcasting Corporation News, weblog post, 23 May 14:01, viewed 6 May 2014, <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-05-23/ford-to-close-geelong-and-broadmeadows-plants/4707960&gt;.

Imagination 2014, Royal Australian Navy International Fleet Review Spectacular, online video screenshot, Vimeo, viewed 6 May 2014, <http://vimeo.com/89403647&gt;.

2013, Holden to cease manufacturing operations in Australia in 2017, Australian Broadcasting Corporation News, weblog post, 14 January 17:37, viewed 6 May 2014, <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-12-11/holden-to-cease-manufacturing-operations-in-australia-by-2017/5150034&gt;.

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