Showcasing the First Command and Leadership Story among Military Audiences
Nobody denies the importance of supporting our troops out in the field. Equally important, however, is providing assistance to military members and their families off the field—including coaching those who serve in their pursuit of financial security.
For First Command CEO Mark Steffe, making lifelong financial security possible for all military families has become a career-defining mission. To communicate that mission, First Command partnered with The Harbinger Group (THG) to cement Steffe as a leading voice in the military financial space and develop an earned media strategy capable of reaching a wide array of high-profile media outlets and military families.
Military families already contend with a great deal of uncertainty in their lives. Unfortunately, financial insecurity is another uncertainty many service members must contend with—a problem First Command has worked to solve by shaping positive financial behaviors through coaching with hundreds of thousands of client families.
In order to reach a greater audience and further ensure financial literacy among their clients, First Command needed to develop a crystal-clear market message that provided impactful media insights while simultaneously resonating with its specific audience.
Developing this message required a twofold strategy: First Command would need to elevate CEO Mark Steffe as a trusted authority in the financial military attitudes, behaviors and intentions marketplace while also creating tailored earned media opportunities that established the company as a go-to military financial resource.
This strategy, developed by longtime First Command partner THG, has since secured Steffe as a prominent military financial leader, while also differentiating First Command from competitors in the earned media space.
At A Glance
Unlike other agencies, THG relies on a proven, research-driven media process, the Brand Activation Marketing Model (BAMM), to establish ownable, unique and relevant market positions for its partners. Through this process, THG created the following CEO thought leadership and earned media opportunities for First Command.
CEO Branding & Thought Leadership
While THG has worked with First Command for nearly two decades, Steffe recently transitioned to the role of CEO in 2020—two weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic upended normal business operations everywhere. While many organizations sought to avoid disruption during uncertain times, Steffe and THG took a bold approach, developing an all-new CEO branding and thought leadership playbook to help Steffe serve as an authoritative figure in a turbulent market.
The playbook included:
A specific focus was placed on creating contributed content to be shared through the Forbes Finance Council, as well as other targeted media outlets—such as Military Federal News Network and Military Spouse Magazine—that directly connected Steffe to First Command’s unique, military family audience.
For nearly two decades, THG has helped create interesting and relevant media angles to secure ongoing exposure of First Command in the media. In 2020, THG began identifying additional media positions to bring Steffe front and center and establish greater authority for First Command throughout the military financial attitudes and behaviors space.
After conducting a thorough analysis of Steffe’s CEO brand, THG recommended a higher-profile, targeted media opportunity approach that has since been extended to the First Command executive leadership team (ELT)—four members of which have now been trained to serve as First Command Speakers Bureau spokespeople.
In detail, recent earned media opportunities have included:
As a result of its dual CEO branding and earned media strategy, THG has helped First Command earn the following results:
With the help of THG, First Command is cementing CEO Mark Steffe as a leading voice in the military financial space while also developing an earned media strategy capable of reaching a wide array of high-profile outlets and military families.
From improving First Command’s CEO branding and social presence to garnering hundreds of earned media opportunities and millions of views, THG was able to not only increase First Command’s marketplace presence—it has strengthened the organization’s sacred mission of providing lifelong financial security for those who serve.