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JN Group emphasises being Jamaican - Gospel singer Kevin Downswell, entity's first brand ambassador

Published:Monday | October 30, 2017 | 12:00 AMMelville Cooke
Leon Mitchell, chief marketing and sales officer, The Jamaica National Group; Kevin Downswell, gospel artiste and JN Group brand ambassador; and Marsha Downswell, wife of Kevin Downswell.
Trizan Chin (left), Sheldon Shepherd (second left), Ce'Cile (centre), Dr Shelly-Ann Weeks (second right) and Shanz Hill at Friday's JN Group granding campaign launch at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston.
Kevin Downswell performs at the Talk of the Town Restaurant, Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, at Friday night's JN Group branding event.
Chris Hind (left), general manager of JN General Insurance (JNGI), and Aditi Dhiman, executive, Loyalty Programmes, JN Group.
Debbie Bissoon, who hosted Friday evening's JN Group event at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston.

On Friday night at the Talk of the Town Restaurant at Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston, high above the damp city streets, The Jamaica National (JN) Group presented its first corporate branding campaign.

One of the group's more prominent developments in 2017 was the launch of JN Bank on February 1, making it Jamaica's seventh commercial bank. There was an emphasis on the bank's co-operative ownership structure and this has carried over into the branding campaign, which has a very familiar face in gospel singer Kevin Downswell.

Leon Mitchell, the group's chief marketing and sales officer, told The Gleaner, that the branding campaign "was developed to increase awareness for the Group's products and services as well as cement our position in the market as Jamaica's largest locally owned financial group, providing banking, investment, mortgage, general insurance, life insurance, credit cards, micro-financing, remittance and other non-financial services."

The Jamaican focus extends to choosing Downswell as brand ambassador down to his home parish, Westmoreland, Mitchell saying, "as a home-grown Jamaican company, the choice of a Jamaican artiste, who hails from the founding parish of Jamaica National, Westmoreland, was a natural fit. Jamaican gospel music has remained a constant part of the Jamaican entertainment scene and has consistently provided a wholesome, soul-stirring outlet for entertainment".

So, Mitchell said, "We needed an artiste with music that transcended all ages and class groupings across Jamaica, while remaining compelling enough to keep our audiences engaged. Kevin Downswell was the gold standard in all these areas."

Downswell's Stronger, is his signature hit. Performing at exclusively gospel shows such as Fun in the Son (2014, 2016) and events with a blend of entertainment such as the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association's Reggae Wednesdays (2017) with equally powerful effect, Downswell released his third album, All the Way, last year.

Mitchell said Downswell, whose brand ambassadorship is initially for a year, was chosen because his "wholesome, image and values are consistent with those of Jamaica National. Through his own efforts, he is enriching lives and helping to build communities, in keeping with our own vision for Jamaica."

In his JN Group brand ambassador role, Downswell, "will be the face of a forthcoming 360-degree advertising campaign launched in November and will be run over a six-month period. He will also be integrally involved in a number of other elements of the campaign that will be implemented and executed over the period".

Already, Downswell is central to a corporate film on the JN Group, which was premiered on Friday night. Mitchell said the film "will have its primary rollout virtually on social media, followed by shorter, edited versions which will be used for the campaign in traditional media channels."