Rebranding NATO: A SpinMute consultation document
Hari Kunzru

Executive Summary:
As a long-term PR strategy, the current NATO campaign in the Balkans(TM) has its drawbacks. As a brand, NATO's long term prospects look bleak unless a serious reappraisal of its mission and values is undertaken. Thus Mute's corporate presentation analysis wing (SpinMute) has produced the following strategy document, aimed at improving NATO's damaged consumer profile

Current brand values:
When surveyed, a representative sample of NATO core consumers (defined as upper income genetically-pure Western European tax-payers) identified 'war' 'bombing' 'imperialism' and 'fear' as primary NATO brand values. This is obviously unacceptable, since outside certain sectors of the youth market these attributes are not perceived as benefits, or as likely to lead positive purchase or endorsement action.

Interestingly, the US-owned fashion brand 'TheWest', whose market segmentation is in many ways congruent to that of NATO, received a largely positive evaluation in the same survey. 'Freedom', 'Air Max' and 'consumer electronics' were marked highly in relation to 'TheWest'. In line with this, it can be seen that recent cross-marketing initiatives between NATO and TheWest have yielded positive benefits, especially when NATO sales activities have been presented using TheWest branding, promotional style and look. We recommend that these activities be extended through every media channel.

One possible strategy for diluting the current negative appraisal of NATO in the global conflict marketplace would be to extend the brand into other related segments. Social service provision, work with the disabled, light entertainment and a possible clothing brand are all potential areas into which NATO might successfully move. By raising brand awareness, particularly in the youth and female clerical sectors, major perceptual shifts could be accomplished. One possible scenario might include the production of a NATO telethon, the proceeds going to aid victims of conflict, with the dual aim of launching a range of blouson jackets, caps and record bags. Positive responses would be generated by the donation of a nominal percentage of the retail price ofsuch items to NATO approved non-political charities.

Total Rebranding
Brand stretch will only partially solve the image problem created by collateral damage sustained in NATO's recent aggressive marketing campaign. It is suggested that the widest possible positive response would be generated through a coherent strategy of rebranding, including serious work on corporate identity and presentation. Possible avenues of approach include changing the name 'NATO' with its downmarket retro acronymic feel, to something more in line with current lifestyle trends. 'Peaceforce 2000' and 'WestLove!' have been suggested as potential starting points for discussion. The current dark blue colourway and compass-point logo are also problematic areas, being identified too heavily with an ageing conservative market. Lilac, or this season's ecru colour schemes might yield valuable results, especially if accompanied by logo shapes based on feminine, soft lines. [See accompanying images 'lilac bunny', 'lilac daisy' for reference]

Presentation techniques employed by NATO sales and PR representatives in recent media briefings have been poor. Downbeat language and low quality graphics have done untold damage to both share price and brand identity. It is suggested that certain basic substitutions might redress the balance. For 'air strike' the phrase 'peace sprinkling' should be used. 'Refugees' are ' unforeseeably mobile consumers' and 'tanks' should be referred to as 'monster trucks' if NATO equipment, the word 'tank' being reserved solely for PanSlav (TM) vehicles. Weaponry of any kind, if in the hands of NATO troops must not be referred to in a disquieting fashion. A good general guideline would be to employ the imagery of a benevolent gardener, sowing the seeds of love and understanding in the receptive soil of the Balkans (TM). Thus 'guided missile' goes to 'precision seedling' etcetera.

NATO has an excellent chance of maintaining its market share well into
the twenty-first century, as long as it takes care to follow best PR
practice and sink a significant portion of investment into rebranding
and corporate presentation

[This communication was framed by Hari Kunzru, director SpinMute, a unit of Mute Media Group Ltd, wholly owned subsidiary of BigCorp Worldwide]

Hari Kunzru
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