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Despicable Them: Rising Above a Rotten Reputation

by Kimberly Smith  |  
May 10, 2011
  |  7,346 views

In this article, you'll learn...

  • How to clean up a bad brand reputation
  • One shining example of a brand launch that defied its industry's bad image

Company: AIA
Contact: Eric Granof, Chief Marketing Officer
Location: Calabasas, Calif.
Industry: Bail bonds
B2B/B2C: B2B
Annual revenue: Confidential
Number of employees: Confidential

Quick Read

Guilty by association. That's a tough place to start when you're trying to launch a new brand, particularly the first major brand in your category. But that's exactly where AIA, the nation's largest and oldest network of bail bond agents, found itself when it set out to differentiate its agents from the rest.

Though relatively unbranded in the traditional marketing sense, the bail bond industry is a long way away from being completely unbranded. Images of Dog the Bounty Hunter and other interesting characters have made certain of that. More than simply launching a new brand, the challenge for AIA became how to overhaul that perception.

Through an amusing online and offline campaign, consumer education, community events, strategic partnerships, personable content, and a healthy dose of search engine optimization (SEO), AIA is demonstrating how it is possible to rise above an undeserved reputation in a relatively short amount of time.


Challenge

Quick—describe a bail bondsperson. Do the adjectives "friendly," "helpful," or "trustworthy" come to mind? Do you visualize a "family man" or "community advocate"? Is this someone you would want and choose to turn to in a time of need, and not because you have no other choice?

Horror stories and media portrayals have long plagued the reputation of the bail bond industry. But if you look at the real men and women who provide these services, some interesting trends emerge that challenge popular opinion. For example, in the AIA network, which comprises 6,000 bail agents across the United States, most are active members of their communities, and more than half are female.


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Kimberly Smith is a staff writer for MarketingProfs. Reach her via kims@marketingprofs.com.

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Comments

  • by Spencer Broome Wed May 11, 2011 via web

    Lessons Learned:
    The commitment to and the right choices in marketing and advertising can give any business a second chance.

    Really like the idea of the microsite; when you can humorously embrace your "public portrayal" and actually distance yourself from it in doing so, it is awesome to see.

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