World Aids Day Event
The Worlds AIDS Day began in 1988 as a World Health Organisation program in response to issues pertaining to HIV/ AIDS (NPR 2011). The World Health Organisation, UNAIDS, State-based entities and non-governmental organisations need innovative strategies and models to enable the Worlds AIDS Day brand to serve their mission, contribute to its social impact and stay aligned to generally accepted values and cultures. The global strategy on HIV/ AID is designed to guide the health sector’s response to HIV. Its key goals and global commitments are to contribute in the achievement of health-based Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and their related targets; to achieve global access to HIV care, diagnosis, prevention and treatment for all in need (United Nations 2013). Current paper discusses the conceptual framework meant to help the Australian government and other relevant stakeholders to achieve it. This framework entails brand theories, brand strategies, brand ethics, brand integrity, brand affinity and brand democracy.
World’s AIDS Day (WAD) is one of the most recognised global campaign or events. It is held on 1 December annually (United Nations 2013; Wyk 2007). In the same context, World AIDS Day is a global brand that raises awareness about the issues pertaining to HIV/ AIDS. On this day, people show their support for the infected and affected members of the society. As of this writing, the global theme for the immediate World’s AIDS Day was getting to Zero. This entailed zero discrimination, zero AIDS related deaths, and zero new HIV infections (Australian Department of Health and Ageing 2013). In Australia, the aim of Worlds AIDS Day is to create awareness of HIV/ AIDS. In addition, the brand is meant to encourage Australians to take part in prevention and reduction of HIV transmission by promoting safe sex practices. In addition, the brand is meant to encourage Australians to ensure that the infected people participate in the community activities, free from discrimination and stigma (Australian Department of Health and Ageing 2013).
As either individuals or as a community, there is much that can be done in relation to HIV. Through partnering with the infected and affected people, members of the community are encouraged to understand the transmission of the virus. Additionally, people can be supported to access diagnosis and treatment because realizing HIV infection at early stages leads to better health results. Moreover, strategic branding of WAD raises awareness that people infected and affected with HIV/ AIDS have the right to take part in social activities without stigma and discrimination. According to Sharma (2006), the Red ribbon associated with the day symbolises the commitment to challenge the prejudice and stigma surrounding HIV/ AIDS.
Throughout the years, the World AIDS Day has focused on communications. Most entities believed that favourable positions and increased visibility in reference to competitors, as well as reception in the public domain would result in brand’s success. Branding has been the subject and tool for fundraising and communication (Hampf & Lindberg 2011). In contrast, the modern day paradigm portrays WAD branding as being broad and strategic in the core performance of entities such as UNAID, WHO and state-based health agencies. One of the central theories surrounding branding is that, as the internet bandwidth increases, the content will also increase, translating to increased branding (Ritson 2008). World AIDS Day needs rich media, which needs bandwidth. With the advancement in the internet technology, messages can be conveyed to the targeted audiences through (Sharma 2006) means including social media and websites. The future branding model will be driven by wireless and mobile applications (Hampf & Lindberg 2011). This has the capacity and capability of providing highly focused messages. Given that recipient can recieve such message anywhere and anytime, they will also be in a position to filter the messages they receive, pertaining to the brand.
The other theory is that branding entails emotional and rational, practical and theoretical connections to create a sustainable competitive advantage. Some of the key competitors that use this theory include the World Redcross Day and the pink Ribbon Day. The World Redcross Day is held annually on the 8th of May around the globe. This brand is commemorated through blood donations. It aims at alleviating suffering, protecting life and upholding human dignity. The Pink Ribbon Day is held annually on 27th October. It raises funds intended to assist women suffering from breast cancer. It also supports diagnosis, prevention, treatment and support of cancer patients. The theoretical framework in this discussion emerges from the pride in shared values, participatory processes, key partnership and social mission. In addition, it is built on the unique role that the World AIDS Day plays to create cohesion in the society. The Red Ribbon should be maintained to indicate the moral responsibility to eliminate stigma and discrimination (Australian Department of Health and Ageing 2013). The strategies outlined captures the most striking issues outlined in researches and conferences pertaining to HIV/ AIDS as well as the future brand of WAD.
According to Anheier (2014) and Burke & Cooper (2012), brand integrity implies that an organization’s internal identity should conform to its external image. Internally, the Australian Department of Health and Ageing connects its mission to its identity of giving staff, volunteers, members and trustees a common sense of the reasons behind its support for the World AIDS Day. Externally, Worlds AIDS Day captures the departments mission and deploys that image as clearly articulated strategy.
Brand democracy implies that the entities involved in branding WAD will trust its members, participants, staff and volunteers (Anheier 2014; Burke & Cooper 2012). This aspect will eliminate the need to closely monitor how World AIDS Day is potrayed or presented. The need for brand democracy is motivated by the growth of social media and content marketing, which makes policing the Worlds AIDS Day complex. It is nearly impossible to signle-handedly control a brand on social platforms.
Brand ethics implies that the World AIDS Day and the way it is conveyed reflects the core values of the entity involved (Anheier 2014). The brand should avoid images that are racial and gender biased. That is, it should not dehumanise the society it wants to help. Pitiful images often used to lure donors in non-profits entities should also be avoided. The moral superiority strategy has been implemented by Google, and it has proven to be one of the most effective branding strategies (Ritson 2008). The moral superiotity strategy has been implemented by Google, and it has proven to be one of the mosst efffective branding strategies (Ritson 2008). The affinity of the World AIDS Day means that it should be a team player and work alongside other brands. The brand in itself should increase collective interest and share credit and space generously (Burke & Cooper 2012; Cheney, Kent & Debashish 2011). The Australian Department of Health and Ageing should promote brands of its partners alongside the World AIDS Day.
The basic rules of branding keep on evolving with time
According to Stine (2013), content marketing, social media, demographic shift and thought-leadership are some of the issues that are challenging brands to undergo a transformation. Creating awareness and sustaining loyalty has become more complex than ever. With the competition for people’s attention, building relationships with the community has become more challenging. Therefore, an innovative, purposeful, community centric, relevant and inspiring brand is needed to make the community pause, listen and be attentive (Ritson 2008; Stine 2013). People tend to evolve with brands linked to products that give their life meaning and significance. For example, more and more people associate themselves with the World AIDs Day because it gives their lives meaning and value. From this end, there are various strategies that should not be ignored by chief marketing officers. Generally, brand strategy is a long-term marketing strategy and support for a brand centred on the characteristics of the targeted audience (Bastos & Levy 2012; Stine 2013). In this context, the World AIDS Day serves as a brand and at the same time as a product. In essence, the activities of the day constitute the product (NPR 2011). Therefore, the brand strategy of the World AIDS Day entails the understanding of the community’s preferences or expectations from the brand.
Brand Strategy 1
WAD has branded itself as one of the events that is most recognized across the globe and aims at increasing awareness regarding the issues about HIV/AIDS. WAD is dedicated to people who want to show support for others who are living with HIV as well as commemorating people who died as a result of AIDS. It is evident that this approach to brand is consistent with Doug Holt’s theory of iconic brands, which posits that brands achieve the status of icons if the brands operate at a cultural level. Essentially, theory of iconic brands hypothesizes that brands that provide solutions to problems facing the society can gain a significant market share. Iconic brands take part in solving cultural issues affecting a society does not place a lot of emphasis o conventional benefits; this is achieved through advocating for an ideology (Holt 2004). There is no doubt that the WAD is a fit with the theory of iconic brands. The WAD, in itself, is positioned to address a socio-cultural problem in the society, the menace of HIV/AIDS. In this regard, the theme for WAD draws upon providing a solution to people suffering from AIDS. For instance, its theme is “Getting to zero: Zero new HIV infections. Zero discrimination. Zero AIDS related deaths.” The WAD in Australia has the objective of encouraging Australians to increase their awareness of HIV/AIDS, encourage them to take action aimed at reducing HIV transmission rates using safe sex practices, and make sure that people with HIV/AIDS are able to fully take part in the community without discrimination and stigma. Through this, WAD in Australia is using the cultural branding strategy outlined in the Doug Holt’s theory of ionic brands in the sense that is advocating for an ideology (Holt 2004).
In this strategy, a brand with structures that communicates hope and inspires people is created (WHO 2011). Worlds AIDS Day brand should communicate hope and encourage people to ensure that the brand message and impact are sustained. Some of the brands that have implemented this strategy include Coca-Cola (Coca-Cola Journey) and Target. These brands recognise that to create or sustain the existing relationship entails the ability to communicate, educate and inspire the public about the totality of the brand in question. In other words, the brand should communicate, inspire and educate the community about what it stands for or represents. Since the inception of the Coca-Cola brand, Coca-Cola slogans have reflected both the brand and the times. For example, the 2003 campaign which turned to slogan – “Coca-Cola...Real,” reflected the authentic, genuine life moments and the role the brand played in them (Converation Staff 2012). Slogans provide simple and straightforward way to communicate about a brand. This approach can be induced in the World AIDS Day brand to make the event and brand relatable in terms of theme and time. Slogans can concentrate on diagnosis, treatment and care services. In addition, the slogans can concentrate on inspiration and hope for the people living with HIV/ AIDS. In the modern world, people expect more from the WAD brand. That is, they not only consider the message it conveys, but also how the message is delivered (Stine 2013). This explains the importance of social media and content advertisement which must be executed flawlessly to ensure band efficiency. In this approach, content is humanised. This is subject to the fact that people tend to align with content that is real and not fabricated. For example, the Australian Department of Health and Ageing should allow as many people as possible.
Brand Strategy 2
The second strategy adopted by WAD involves the use of social media marketing, which can be analyzed through the lens of Muniz and O’Guinn’s theory of brand community, which emphasizes on the connection between culture, individual identity and brand to create a brand community that shares values, a sense of moral responsibility, traditions and rituals. A brand community is not geographically bound and draws upon social relations existing between admirers of a particular brand (Muniz & O’Guinn 2001). Therefore, having a loyal and strong brand community plays a pivotal role in ensuring the success of the brand. In addition, this theory draws on the presumption that the owners of the brand are the people in the market place and not the organization. In the context of WAD, the brand community is developed using social media through platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Google +, Pinterest and StumbleUpon among other platforms, where those supporting the cause advocated by WAD can share their experiences. A case in point is the social media campaign launched by Durex in partnership with WAD, whereby Durex has agreed to donate a condom for every usage of hash tag (#1share1condom) on Twitter or a share of the WAD Image on Facebook. In addition, through the social media communities of WAD, fans, advocates and enthusiasts of the WAD event can spread the word on behalf of WAD through evangelism marketing.
Overall, a brand is the identifying, mark, words or symbol that distinguishes an entity or product from its competitors. Typically, brands are registered with regulatory entities. For most entities, branding is a critical part of marketing. The highlighted brand strategies are equally important and interlinked to create and sustain community loyalty. In this line, all the relevant stakeholders should be prepared to undertake such an ambitious devotion, and maintain it to understand the community. To keep the momentum of the brand and its relationship with the community, stakeholders should be accountable to the needs of the community. For example, the annual event, both at the institutional or national level should be organised and managed with transparency. Other key strategic elements that should be considered in branding include brand integrity, brand democracy, brand ethics and brand affinity. If these strategies are implemented efficiently, the Worlds AIDS Day brand will emerge as a power brand and global event for the modern day community. The WAD has been globally successful, which implies a strong brand equity. However, a weakness of the brand relates to difficulties in spreading information to marginalized and poor countries where HIV/AIDS is prevalent. Some of the opportunities fir WAD include advanced medical treatments and increased attention and information to community. The potential threats of HIV relates to the increase in the prevalence of HIV among teenagers. Therefore, it is recommended that use targeted campaigns that place emphasis on targeting teenagers and raising awareness of the events throughout the year such as constantly and actively being involved in social media campaigns in days and months leading up to the WAD event. Future research on the topic should focus on how organizations can exploit such events like WAD to brand themselves; for instance, since WAD is a global event, just like the World Cup and other mega events, does sponsorship create branding opportunities in the case of WAD?
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