Firefighting's Marketing 'Challenge'

"There are Fortune 500 Companies that would kill for the marketing advantage the American Fire Service has, and that's mainly due to the fact that the public trusts us."


The Firefighter Combat Challenge is experiential marketing at its best, not to mention that its potential as a social marketing platform is staring American society in the face: the model of the firefighter's physical health to show society how to combat childhood obesity. One of the most effective ways to satisfy the objectives of message retention, discussion and action is kinesthetic learning in an environment conducive to receiving the message. This is the kind of learning that comes from manipulating something in a format that makes education and entertainment seamless.

The human being can only process one thought at a time. There are three ways to grasp a thought: aural, visual and kinesthetic. Scientifically conducted surveys show that kinesthetic learning yields 85 percent of retention while aural (listening) and visual are just over 50 percent, and diminishing. The other key factor is message reinforcement. This is can be done quite effectively in small groups -- family groups -- playing games. However, this is not enough. As effective as this planned communication mechanism may appear, it is still just potential by itself.

Brand Reputation And Trust

There must be three other key factors. The first is brand reputation. It is easy to project and market a brand's image. That is an inside-out job, and in the end, it can be meaningless. This is espeially true in light of public cynicism and the proliferation of brands. John Gerzma in his seminal book, The Brand Bubble, notes the loss of brand loyalty as more brands continue to proliferate. It is the image and the reputation of Scott that has enabled it to continue to flourish. That reputation is comprised of the precision and effectiveness of the product in life and death situation for which it was designed. Reputation is also comprised of honest and thoughtful actions: integrity by the company and its representatives. Reputation (and all effective marketing communication) is an outside-in job.

It is at this point that we add the third crucial ingredient: a compelling story. Humans understand their world best through story telling. The story, the image and the reputation of the American firefighter is the epitome of an effective story - one that many people want to be a part. The fourth and final part of this effective equity is the Firefighter Combat Challenge itself. Here is the point which demonstrates the efficacy of the product at the point of trial and sale. It is the perfect combination which delivers the result. It has been proven time and again that people make decisions based on their emotions and use facts to justify those decisions. The value of the Firefighter Combat Challenge represents one of the highest quality, effective interactive sponsorships of its type in any industry. Quality of product, brand reputation, integrity of the company and the firefighting profession create the demonstrable results that we can all admire.