Friday, September 07, 2012

TOP STORY >> ‘Rock and Role’ for everyone

Leader editor

The Little Rock Air Force Base Community Council’s new Rock and Role campaign will take center stage at this weekend’s air show and open house when an estimated 250,000 people visit.

Merchandise that promotes the importance of the air base to Arkansas will be available on the flight line in a booth near the commanders’ tent. T-shirts, tumblers, decals, patches, dog tags and collapsible water bottles with the Rock and Role logo will be sold to promote the base, which contributes about $700 million to the state’s economy every year.

“There’s just a great relationship between the base and community. There’s something that makes this place unique,” said Roger Sundermeier Jr., of First Arkansas Bank and Trust, who developed the Rock & Role brand.

The community’s connection to the base has been honored twice with the Abilene Trophy, which annually recognizes a community that provides the “finest support” to an Air Mobility Command unit.

The LRAFB Community Council won the trophy in 2010 and again this year.

The Rock and Role logo, which features an outline of Arkansas behind two C-130 planes, says, “The Little Rock Difference” and asks, “What’s Your Role?”

“ROLE” stands for Responsive, One Team, Leading and Excellence.

“The base can be a model for how we go forward,” Sundermeir said.

The branding strategy already seems to be working. When the Blue Angels landed on Thursday, its pilots and crewmembers wanted Rock and Role merchandise, said Sundermeier, who is marketing director at First Arkansas.

“It’s kind of cool. The Blue Angels will have shirts designed in Jacksonville,” he said.

The idea for “the Little Rock difference” came from Col. Mike Minihan, former commander of the 19th Airlift Wing. A committee headed by Larry Wilson, president and chief executive officer of First Arkansas Bank, came up with the concept over the last six weeks.