Tags: nra | branding | marketing

Is It Good Business for Major Brands to Drop the NRA?

Is It Good Business for Major Brands to Drop the NRA?
Merchandise for sale is displayed at the 2015 NRA Annual Convention in Nashville, Tennessee on April 10, 2015. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)

By Wednesday, 28 February 2018 02:37 PM Current | Bio | Archive

As companies line up to end their NRA marketing programs, the question must be asked: Is it good business?

Brands have always been careful to avoid alienating customers. This was especially true in the golden age of advertising (1950s and the 1960s), when programs attracted much larger shares of audience and viewers could only switch among the three networks.

With CBS, NBC, and ABC ruling the airwaves, saying or doing the wrong thing could do irreparable harm to one’s promoted product or service.

Yes, the world was simpler and so was interpreting what the needs of a given audience were or what customers wanted from their advertisers.

Marketing today is challenging because target markets are scattered among different media outlets — online, on-the-air, and in print. In addition, social media, which skews to a younger demographic, creates another factor in the decision-making matrix as to how best to reach customers.

So when different political groups call upon brands to take up their cause, marketers must decide their position be based on one and only one thing — how will it affect their customers buying behavior?

This delicate balancing act of satisfying the “expressed” needs of conflicting market segments is seen in the recent decision of some companies to rethink their relationship with the National Rifle Association (NRA).

The list includes:

  • United Airlines
  • Delta Airlines
  • TrueCar, a car pricing company
  • First National Bank of Omaha
  • Symantec, the anti-virus software maker and owner of Norton and LifeLock identity theft protection service
  • Enterprise Holdings, the parent company of car rental brands Enterprise, Alamo, and National
  • Hertz
  • Avis and Budget
  • MetLife
  • SimpliSafe, the home security company

It’s important to remember that companies first and foremost must always be concerned about their customers and satisfying their needs. With that said, the chances are that after doing some primary and secondary research, marketers at these organizations concluded that most of their customers would better be served by severing the relationship with the NRA. And here’s some cursory data as to why this decision could have been made.

One would think that the five million NRA members are older white guys who are not purchasers of the brands mentioned. This may be only half true. From a demographic perspective, recent data shows that NRA membership is now 40 percent women, 40 percent minority (mostly Asian and Hispanic men and women.) The member’s average age is down from 60 to between 40 and 45 years of age.

However, the challenge here is that brands that are severing their relationship with the NRA are targeted to younger Millennials. The brands cited are mostly airlines and car rental companies, which target a younger demographic.

According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, a total of 631.9 million passengers boarded domestic flights in the United States in the year 2010.

From a cost-benefit perspective, the cost of losing 5 million customers (amounting to about three-quarters of one percent), compared with losing an activist NRA customer, is not something that needs a whole lot of deliberation.

From this data, we can glean that we have entered a new period in business where public relations is no longer the norm. It’s rather “Targeted Relations.” This means — “who cares what the public thinks? It is your customers and what they think or want that counts.” Welcome to the new world where segmented groups drive the strategy, rather than what attracts the “hoi polloi.”

When using this model, perhaps the brands mentioned above are not doing the politically correct thing. What they are doing is making the smart marketing and branding move. And just maybe NRA members should do the same — avoid the brands that have cut their promotional ties with the organization that shares their values.

And when one considers these factors, it’s another reminder that it is always easier when you have marketing and branding in mind.

Dr. John Tantillo is a marketing and branding expert, known as The Marketing Doctor. JT utilizes his doctoral skills in applied research psychology to analyze the issues and personalities of the day utilizing his marketing and branding lens. This provides his readers with additional insight needed to understand the “new normal” in politics, news, and culture. Dr. Tantillo is the OpEd writer for Political Vanguard. He is the author of "People Buy Brands, Not Companies,” and the Udemy course "Go Brand Yourself!" You can follow him on Twitter @marketingdoctor and at Facebook.com/dr.johntantillo. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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As companies line up to end their NRA marketing programs, the question must be asked: Is it good business?
nra, branding, marketing
Wednesday, 28 February 2018 02:37 PM
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