Framing the Challenge:
Norfolk Southern, and the freight rail industry in general, has a huge positive impact on the economy. But thanks to dated perceptions and a shifting political landscape, many community activists and legislators want to over-regulate them. We needed to change the conversation from one of tracks and crossings to a bigger story about all the great things Norfolk Southern makes possible in order to influence our target audience of policy makers and opinion leaders.
Everyone loves trains as a kid. But most adults barely notice them, until something goes wrong or they have to wait for one at a crossing. If we could rekindle that love among our target audience, we could make an emotional connection that would allow our message to resonate.
We captured the spirit of childlike wonder with a new tagline “One Line, Infinite Possibilities,” allowing Norfolk Southern to transcend the narrow definition of a transportation company and reach its audiences with a unified, optimistic voice. We launched high impact television spots and digital content that brought the brand to life, challenged dated perceptions and showcased the far-reaching economic impact of Norfolk Southern.
Viewers were driven to a responsive website that was developed to better engage a new generation of concerned citizens, policy makers, investors and potential shippers. Once there, users were served relevant content around key issues like job growth, economic development, sustainability and infrastructure investment. All of which helped position Norfolk Southern as a thought leader while building connections between the company and its audiences.
According to a Millward-Brown study, Norfolk Southern’s Aided Awareness rose +24.8% and Brand Favorability increased +23.7%, which is 5 times more effective than the average cross media campaign.