I had this talk with a potential client in the context of a possible re-branding project. The discussion was around the idea of Firefighters being at the same time emergency heroes, sexy dudes, and dudettes, kind persons.
Of course, they are…
Wait a minute! Think about it. Let’s take the other public service categories:
Note: This is an exercise – I am using contrast to bring up arguments that support my thesis that Firefighters as a brand metaphor are stronger than other service metaphors. It is “The firefighter of the internet” versus “The cop of the internet” type of branding battle. All good persons in all public service are to be admired, thanked and respected.
Not necessarily a good branding nowadays. The rotten apples stood up, for some reason, in the media attention. Globally, and not significantly only in the U.S., they still beam out respect but with some fear, not with love. Have you ever heard of a firefighter taking a bribe? You got my point.
ER/ Ambulance crew –
You get scared for some reason when you see an ambulance running on the roads. More than when you see a Fire Engine. Perhaps because you know that in some cases that Ambulance is competing with Death. They’re trying to outrun Death. That is scary!
Garbage/ Sanitarians (?)
Personally, I met some of the nicest people. Especially in the U.S. These guys are so hardworking and positive with their workload that, in another context, they would be my role model. I would easily go nuts when I would see furniture that was thrown away and me having to put that ALONE in the garbage truck. In spite of my perception, people don’t see them as heroes (until they stop coming on Tuesdays).
They are “too” invisible. Super essential but people will only remember them when the Amazon package doesn’t come.
I will stop to these.
Back to the Firefighters
These are the brand value items that I think they communicate best:
- Camaraderie – these guys work, eat, live together as a true team.
- Saviors – they are at the top of mind when “shit hits the fan.”
- Good souls – when firefighters get involved in convincing people to help their causes with money, people participate. Those boots get filled quickly.
- Sexy – the Firefighters calendars are my single argument.
The powerful aspect of branding is that you can close your eyes, say the word “Firefighter, ” and all these values plus others pop into your mind as one, while they fill your soul with something warm and positive.