Karen Jones

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When Karen Jones joined DHL Express USA last year in the newly created position of VP-advertising, brand and promotions, she had to start from scratch to build a marketing department and embark on the company's first U.S. advertising campaign in 20 years.

Her efforts in doing so and the demonstrated success of the campaign have earned Jones BtoB's Marketer of the Year designation.

"When I first joined DHL, the marketing organization was newly formed. My challenge was to rebrand this entire company and begin to change the mind-set of DHL being a small, niche shipping company to a large, significant logistics and shipping company in the U.S.," Jones said.

Under her direction, the marketing department has grown to more than 50 people, with disciplines spanning advertising, promotions, sponsorships, telemarketing and direct marketing.

In 2004, Jones spearheaded the launch of DHL's $150 million rebranding campaign, developed by Ogilvy & Mather, New York. With the tagline "Competition. Great for you. Bad for them," the integrated effort took on U.S. competitors FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service of America. That year, the company spent $120.4 million in advertising.

It included TV, print, online and outdoor, with clever ads establishing the yellow and red DHL trucks as a force to be reckoned with in U.S. shipping.

"It really was breakthrough creative," Jones said. "It didn't disparage the competition, but put us in the same category with them. It quickly established that we were a significant player in the U.S. shipping and logistics industry."

The campaign has had outstanding results. In its first six months, unaided brand awareness of DHL increased from 11% to 56%.

And in the year since the campaign was launched, DHL has had significant growth in new accounts and acquisitions, although Jones declined to reveal numbers.

"The first campaign did effectively what it needed to do," Jones said. "It was a launch campaign."

"We knew the next mission would be to take the brand to the next level, which is asking `What is the difference?' and `Why should I choose DHL?' " she said.

After doing extensive research, DHL's marketing group discovered that a key differentiator for DHL was providing excellent customer service.

So last month, Jones led the launch of the second phase of the DHL campaign, with the theme, "Customer service is back in shipping."

The campaign, a $50 million effort also created by Ogilvy & Mather, focuses on the need to bring excellent customer service back to business. The campaign includes TV, print, online and outdoor, as well as promotional events.

TV spots profile individual DHL representatives, including a courier, a call center rep and a salesperson, showing how DHL is committed to providing excellent customer service.

"The early anecdotal feedback is that we have hit on something pretty solid, not just in shipping, but in business," Jones said.

For example, the DHL ads were featured in mid-October in a segment on NBC's "Today" that discussed the decline in customer service in America.

In addition to leading DHL's advertising efforts, Jones also oversees all brand and promotional activities for the company. A big part of that job is creating sponsorship opportunities for DHL.

Last year she spearheaded a sponsorship of the 2004 Summer Olympics, making DHL the official express delivery and logistics provider of the U.S. Olympic Team.

For the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy, DHL extended its relationship to include the U.S. Paralympic Team, becoming the official express delivery and logistics provider of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams. DHL is also the presenting sponsor of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Spirit Awards, which are now known as the 2006 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Spirit Awards Delivered by DHL. In addition, Jones created a sponsorship last year for Major League Baseball that was extended this year.

Jones has 17 years of marketing experience. Before joining DHL, she spent 15 years at Hewlett-Packard Co., most recently as director-global brand advertising, sponsorships & alliances. While at HP, she worked on developing branding, advertising and communications campaigns. She also worked at Compaq Computer Corp.-before it was acquired by HP-as director of marketing for the iPAQ products.

She has also owned her own marketing communications company, Ballast Communications.

"Marketing skills transfer no matter what industry you go to," Jones said.

"It has been kind of fun to see how I could take everything I learned in the tech industry and bring those capabilities to the delivery and logistics industry," she added.

-Kate Maddox

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