Westeros Broadcast; Source: AccuWeather
At the center of the weather forecast and information world is AccuWeather, a 55-year-old brand that prioritizes its accuracy as its key brand proposition.
The company’s services are on two billion devices worldwide, according to CEO Barry Lee Myers. It has thousands of partnerships supplying its information to television stations, publishers like the New York Times, and car manufacturers like Ford.
“[That dominance is because of] our superior accuracy and our patented technology,” said AccuWeather.
While AccuWeather is a known and trusted brand and, according to CMO John Dokes, the fastest growing brand in the weather space, competition is abound.
Weather is just another industry to be disrupted. Upstart apps like Poncho (which features a Millennial-friendly gifs and offers customized reports) and Dark Sky (which is praised for its design and notification alerts) are relatively new entrants to the marketplace, all backed by VCs.
But Dokes said the company wasn’t resting on its laurels.
While the company benefits from brand recognition it received on behalf of all of its partnerships, but it also does do a lot of proactive content marketing and paid advertising. The company creates and distributes a host of weather- and disaster preparedness videos and articles. Two recent features have been around most disastrous Thanksgiving storms in history and holiday hacks to keep a Christmas tree fresh.
“Our mission is to protect lives and property,” Myers said. “Our concept has always been about actionable information, not just the weather.”
But it also has an eye towards entertainment.
The company produced a short forecast video for Westeros, the fictional land in Games of Thrones.
It also announced the release of its minute-by-minute app by partnering with YouTube stars the Holderness Family.
The company uses social media to distribute the content and to respond to customers. In addition, it uses it for advertising, Dokes said.
With apps, however, brand recognition gets you only so far. I asked Dokes how the company ensures its top of weather apps for the consumers who are searching but don’t necessarily know about AccuWeather. After joking that he couldn’t imagine anyone not knowing AccuWeather, he said the company spends a lot of time working with the device and software manufacturers.
“Our job is to make it easier for those partners,” Dokes said. “When someone comes out with a new system, we make sure we innovate around those new features.”
“When a new device [hits the market], we make sure the app fits,” Myers said.
But it’s not just about partnerships. Myers said the company looks at its app feedback constantly and monitors its location in the various app stores. It also holds focus groups and hard studies on users’ interests.
“If we’re getting feedback in an app, we’re making sure we’re reaching out to people however the platform allows it,” Dokes said.