Sunday, April 6, 2008

Siemens Corporation (A) Corporate Advertising for 1992

Executive summary

It is very diffi­cult to be credible when talking about how friendly and helpful a big corpo­ration is in the abstract. Siemens had some problems from setting objectives to implementing the ad campaign while trying to be perceived as a unified entity in the US and a leader in high-tech industry through a corporate advertising campaign in 1992. Anyway, it’s a necessary investment for the future in a very big and important market. Siemens’ corporate advertising should convince its stakeholders that it is a US-based unified entity and a leading company in high-tech. To achieve the objective, some modifications for Siemens to appropriately set objectives, plan and implement the campaigns are proposed. Rather than relying on one type of advertising, it should seek for a combination of methods available in marketing communication, especially cheaper but effective tools such as corporate advertising and PR to maximize return on advertising and the effectiveness of ad campaigns. If the can show how it touches people's lives it can make its advertising more relevant and credible.

Situation Analysis

Siemens might be seen as a foreign entity that comes to the US to exploit business opportunities and make profits. For those target customers, domestic suppliers such as GE, AT&T might receive some preferential. Siemens has put efforts to change the general public perception toward Siemens as a US-based company which brings benefits to the US and jobs to US citizens. The campaign message does include content in an attempt to solve this concern.

Siemens needs to build a strong image of a unified corporation with a solid base in the US. The matter is that US-based operations has largely various businesses in different industries with more than 50 Siemens companies but only more than a half of them carry Siemens’s name. The company awareness in business customers may be higher than general public but it might be the awareness of Siemens’s specific brands instead of the awareness toward Siemens as a multi-industry company with largely diversified businesses. The idea of positioning Siemens as a leader in high-tech might be helpful.

Analysis of the current campaign “That was then-This is now”

The campaign has 2 objectives: “to position Siemens as a strong, unified entity with a solid base in the US, to establish the company as a leader in high technology electrical and electronic engineering”. This support for the goal and intend to address political issue by stressing commitment in US market and expand awareness of Siemens’s businesses. In the 2nd objective, the word leader shows an ambitious objective and electrical/electronic engineering might not bring benefits as well as good awareness to energy and transportation business area. The combination option like “to position Siemens as a strong, unified entity with a solid base in the US and as a leading company in high-tech” might be preferable.

These objectives of the ad campaign are translated to the goal of increasing awareness of Siemens’s businesses to its target audiences. However, this goal should have a specific measurement/target to evaluate effectiveness of the ad campaign after it is launched. For example, the goal should be “to expand awareness of the company’s businesses to its target audiences by 25%”. The goal also should be set based on primary data analysis, past experience review and budget constraint. The second goal is somehow abstract and the implementation in TVC and print ad does not express clearly what commitments Siemens take. For this goal, the implementation should be modified, otherwise, the goal should be revised (e.g: attached to a more concrete details such as job creation, US stakeholders’ benefit, pleasant workplace and safety environment for the public).

The corporate advertising campaign with positioning purpose should reach a selected target market, not the general public. Siemens has the specific target audiences and it seems to fit with the 2nd objective of leading in high-tech. However, the target audience for the first objective Siemens has not determined well enough. If the assumption is that protectionism is applicable to general public also (e.g boycott against Siemens), then they should be included in the target.

Problems with mass media communication tools in details of implementation

The problem with TV ad is word choice. One of the objectives of the campaign was to offset protectionism in US. But at the end of the TV ad, it said: It’s just the one more way the people at Siemens are creating, the technologies to keep America, and the world moving on the right direction. This may arouse American’s antipathy if it be explained as that America and the world need Siemens to keep them moving on the right direction.

The print ad also has some problems. The brand name is printed in a small letter at the end of the text so it does not capture the attention of reader. The text reflects well the objectives but wordy and uninteresting to read. The pictures are not interesting enough to attract the readers’ attention. The pictures of a factory, a scan of skull and cars on the road can not effectively build a good image of Siemens as a high-tech company.

Measuring the effectiveness of the campaign

Readership and increase in awareness are suitable forms of measurement for print and TV ads. Based on the Starch Readership Score Report, the increase awareness in print ad is different campaign by campaign but never achieves more than 8% increase (Appendix 01) and the current campaign has a moderate performance. However, the TV advertising showed a better result in increasing awareness with netted 21% increase in awareness in 1988 and 32% increase over the initial benchmarks.

These methods are not suitable to measure attitudes toward Siemens, the main objective of the current campaign. We suggest that Siemens should do attitude survey for better measurement and conduct focus group studies by laboratory method to support corporate advertising’s effectiveness.

An investment for the future

As many other corporate advertising, this campaign does not ask for/lead to a purchase as well as not carry persuasion message to investor. The message carried by mass media communication tool in this campaign might not attractive to all audience. However, total expenses for the campaign are about 0.12% of sale. US is really a big market, at this moment, sales in US-based companies are 10% of Siemens worldwide turnover, and it deserves to be a strategic market with crucial role.

Anyway, there is room for improvement in the current campaign implementation and there are some other cheaper ways to effectively deliver the message to target audience and achieve the goals, objectives. The followings are some concrete recommendation for Siemens in order to be more successful in corporate advertising area:

1. Keep TV advertising but change the words used in TV ad as mentioned earlier.

2. Redesign/modify print ad (Details in Appendix 03).

3. Use public relations together with TV advertising (Appendix 04). Employ more public relations professionals and experts to make its ad campaign more effective and use effectively PR.

4. Sponsorships: keep the current sponsorship to PBS programs; increase sponsorship in events, charities, sports etc.

5. Launching CSR (corporate social responsibility) part.

6. Consider outsource art work, creative job from a high-quality ad agency to make ads more effective.
Appendix 01: Starch Readership Score Report Analysis

The exhibit 3 shows some report categories provided by Starch Readership Scores. Among those categories we choose the associated percentage to assess awareness because this is the percentage of readers who not only noted the ad but also saw or read some part of the ad that clearly indicated the brand name or advertisers. Overall, we can see that the increase of awareness is fluctuated dramatically overtime.

Campaign Name

Fiscal year

No. Ads Starched

Associated percentage

Change in associated rate vs. previous year

That was then





We’re Siemens





Statistical (new format)





Statistical (old format)





The Name is Siemens




Appendix 02: Corporate Advertising Cost and Benefit Analysis



- Costly

- Difficult to measure result

- People are not interested in this form of ad

- May generate a negative thinking that the company is in trouble

- People are not interested in corporate advertising

- Questionable effectiveness

- A waste of money if advertising is not effective

- Good vehicle to position the corporation

- Reach selected market

- Build corporate image when being used together with PR

- Used to attract employees

- May increase employees’ morale

- Establish an identity for Siemens

- May help to generate financial support

Appendix 03: Recommendations on redesign print ad

Add brand name and/or big logo in every picture; reduce context and just highlight the most important fact and numbers; use pictures which is easier to associate to the high-tech nature of Siemens like the pictures of high-tech products.

Appendix 04: Role of PR in Siemens’ ICM

- PR can help Siemens achieve the objective with much less expenses

- PR is more credible to solve the political issue

- PR can help to keep favorable relationships between Siemens and its general public for long time

- PR can help increase the effectiveness of TV and print advertising

- PR can influence the target audience such as opinion leaders, engineers, government official decision makers etc

- PR is a suitable vehicle for building corporate image

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