Belk: Fashion, Not Politics, at the 2012 Democratic National Convention

Belk and Luquire George Andrews / Charlotte, U.S.

BUSINESS NEED/OPPORTUNITY

In late 2010, Charlotte, North Carolina-based Belk Inc., the nation’s largest family-owned and operated department store company, with 301 stores in 16 Southern states, launched a campaign to refresh its visual identity with a new corporate logo, color palette and tagline—“Modern. Southern. Style.” The new brand represented the first significant change in the company’s identity since 1967 and communicated what Belk wanted to represent to customers nationwide through its stores and website. Since then, Belk has continued to identify ways to bring the new brand positioning of modern style with Southern charm to life in consumers’ hearts and minds. So when Charlotte took center stage for the 2012 Democratic National Convention (DNC) 3–6 September 2012, bringing more than 35,000 delegates; media, business and political leaders; celebrities; and other visitors from across the country, Belk and its public relations agency of record—Luquire George Andrews (LGA)—jumped at the opportunity to leverage the high-profile national event in Belk’s headquarters city and build the company’s brand.

Belk’s community ties to local event organizers opened the door for coveted access to visitors and media, including branded promotional items in high-traffic areas and tickets to major convention events. LGA was charged with developing a media relations campaign with creative angles and media outlets that could promote Belk’s “Modern. Southern. Style.” brand during a national event focused on politics.

LGA conducted a media analysis to determine: 1) the extent of fashion coverage at previous political conventions; 2) how the coverage was being framed; 3) what messages were being communicated; 4) who was identified and quoted in stories and 5) which reporters and outlets were covering fashion. The research confirmed that while many national media outlets, such as The Wall Street Journal,

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