The U.S. Army has taken steps to energize its recruiting machine, but the service may still be many months away from unveiling a new slogan to replace "Army Strong."
It's been just over four months since Sergeant Major of the Army Daniel Dailey floated the idea that the Army might come up with a new slogan that's as powerful as "Be All You Can Be" was to the Army at the end of the 20th Century.
But when the Army unveiled the service's new recruiting strategy earlier this month, senior leaders made no mention of a new slogan or tagline, designed to appeal to 18- to 24-year-olds across America.
The reality is that "Army Strong" may be around for another six months or more while marketing officials and data crunchers craft the right catchphrase, Under Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy told Military.com on a recent recruiting trip to Philadelphia.
"It takes about a year to 18 months to really do the comprehensive analysis and what matters more than anything ... is, how you roll something out is almost more important than what you say," McCarthy said.
The Army's brand will likely carry a different message than the new recruiting ad campaign "Warriors Wanted," a series of short, dynamic videos that feature soldiers from units such as the 75th Ranger Regiment and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault).
"The tagline of your brand is different than the types of things you do in campaigns," McCarthy said. "Like this new commercial, Warriors Wanted. That's not the tagline of the U.S. Army, it's a campaign."
The effort to develop a new slogan has sparked the interest of many Military.com readers -- from current service members to retirees to family members.
McCarthy has seen the same passion in meetings he has attended.
"We get a lot of personal interest and emotions, and I am the guy in every one of the meetings that says 'we will let the data drive what we do,'" he said.
McCarthy noted that the target audience for the new slogan may be motivated by different messaging than that which appeals to senior service leaders.
"What's interesting to Ryan McCarthy? Well, I was in a Ranger battalion in the Army. I'm the under secretary of the Army. Clearly I really like the Army, so it's not me that I would invest a dollar to market against. Because the odds are, you are going to get that guy," he said. "It's the person on the edge that you want to invest the dollars on because those are the ones you really need to pull across -- because those are ... the hardest to convince."
But to McCarthy, other recruiting tools may be just as important.
"Get the website updated, and make it a decent website so that you touch a set of eyeballs and know how you attract them ... it takes about six touches before you can get in front of a kid and talk to him," he said.
Investing advertising dollars into the right medium on social media, such as YouTube or Snapchat, is also critical, McCarthy said.
"All our money was going towards TV," he said. "They were recruiting guys like you and me, but they already got me.
"Find the right digital platform and then once you do that and touch some eyeballs and get their information ... package a lead to hand to a recruiter."
-- Matthew Cox can be reached at email@example.com.