The Army is taking a long, hard look at how it sells itself to potential recruits, including a possible new tagline.
“Army Strong” has been on the decline for the past few years, all but dropping out of recruiting commercials and posters. Now, according to the service’s top enlisted soldier, a replacement could be on the way.
“I think we’ve got to change our marketing strategy as an Army, and we’re taking a look at that now,” Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey told reporters on Monday.
In general, he said, the Army is grappling with how to appeal to not only 18- to 24-year-olds, but their families as well ― because children of veterans enlist at a fairly high rate, but the numbers are dwindling for anyone else.
Research has shown that American kids are much more likely to join the Army if their parents are enthusiastic about it.
“I think we’ve just got to arm the influencers in America with the right information about what it is to serve in the Army, and I don’t think we’ve been doing that,” Dailey said.
A new marketing strategy will have to explain the breadth and depth of what the Army offers, he added, while still appealing to a young person’s sense of adventure, and even danger.
“I think we’ve tried things in the past, and we were criticized for them as well,” he said. “You know, ‘Army of One’ didn’t go over well.”
Even “Army Strong” has fallen by the wayside, as recruiting commercials stopped touting the logo in 2015, because research found it didn’t connect.
Meanwhile, the Army Marketing and Research Group itself is undergoing a face lift.
The civilian-led organization fired its in-house marketing director earlier this year, following an investigation into an inappropriate relationship with an employee from a civilian advertising agency.
And in April, members of the House Armed Services Committee proposed a freeze on part of the group’s budget until it demonstrated improvement in its strategies.
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.