During a time of diminished defense spending, Lockheed Martin approached its 100th anniversary carefully. In late 2011, the company launched new brand positioning that featured the tagline, “100 Years of Accelerating Tomorrow” and sought out The History Factory to help authenticate its messaging.
The centennial objectives were clear: engage and motivate the company’s more than 100,000 employees, and enhance the Lockheed Martin brand as a global innovator among current and future customers, prospective employees, and aviation/aerospace enthusiasts. Lockheed Martin’s leaders faced the challenge of understanding the company’s vast history. Lockheed Martin played a critical role in countless technological breakthroughs in both the aviation and aerospace industries, and earned a legacy as a trusted partner in national defense, providing products and services important to the security of the United States and its allies.
Initially, The History Factory was contracted to identify Lockheed Martin’s 100 greatest moments and compile them in a Story Bank™, an interactive content resource distributed to company leadership, internal communicators, and client advertising and PR agencies. Comprised of quotes, evocative images and brief story capsules, The History Factory organized the Story Bank around key thematic areas, with narratives focused on the company’s people, their sense of purpose, their creative spark and their daring new ways of thinking.
The Story Bank helped build momentum and appreciation for the value of the company narrative among company leaders. It also inspired a print and digital advertising campaign as part of an integrated centennial communications plan, and the Lockheed Martin website was redesigned to feature the 100 historic stories with related documentary videos and historical photographs. Launched in stages throughout the centennial year, the web content also allowed individual Lockheed Martin divisions to promote their respective histories within the broader centennial context.
Based on the success of the award-winning ad campaign and high website traffic, Lockheed Martin sought a more permanent, tangible record of its history. Drawing again from the Story Bank, The History Factory produced a deftly written, richly illustrated centennial book, Innovation with Purpose: Lockheed Martin’s First 100 Years.
Demand for the book was underestimated. The first print run of 55,000 books sold out in two weeks, and to date, more than 80,000 copies have been printed. Seventy-five hundred books were distributed to business development and marketing teams, and a popular digital volume is available for free download via iTunes and Lockheed Martin. The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) recently honored Innovation with Purpose with the 2014 PRSA Bronze Anvil Award of Commendation.
By spending limited resources wisely early in the process, Lockheed Martin built a remarkably effective centennial campaign through a carefully codified and thoughtfully distributed narrative. Ultimately, with help from The History Factory, the company was able to amplify and guide the current brand and future positioning based on a characteristic unique to Lockheed Martin—its history.