We’ve all heard our fair share of PR stories — some triumphs and others that exemplify campaign tactics resulting in, well, failure — sometimes epic failure. There are two basic premises to remember before beginning a campaign, hash tagging a slogan or engaging your publics. While these might seem obvious, they are often overlooked by people practicing PR. Whether that person is running the social media site or driving awareness to a new product, they must remember to do the research and engage publics through an efficient platform in an efficient way.
1) Do the research, then do more research and once you feel that you have a good grasp of the concept, do even more research. There is no such thing as too much research nor being too educated on a topic. Especially when you are in the public eye, misstating facts or being undereducated will reduce the credibility of the service that is offered and can even push away already existing and future stakeholders. So remember to DO THE RESEARCH.
2) Engage publics through an efficient platform in an efficient way, this can be as creative as you’d like, as long as it will reach your target audience and efficiently perform the task intended. Know your target audience (through primary or secondary research) and be aware of the platform that will be effective. The growth of social media has created many different channels to reach intended publics so know who those publics are and which social media works best for the task at hand.
I have found two examples of recent PR practices, one that showcases creative PR and another that psychologically pains me to think about.
The first example was taken from Ragan’s PR Daily in an article written by Kevin Allen titled “How one retailer guaranteed people watched its Instagram video.” This article discusses the Swedish retailer Åhléns, who successfully utilized Instagram by incorporating “stop-motion” videos. They did this by showing a series of products along with their discounted prices for a fraction of a second within the video post. Then, they challenged Instagram users to screen shot their desired product, post the screen shot on Instagram with the hashtag “#ÅhlensDumpaMig” and finally to show the post to a sales clerk and receive a discounted price in store. Åhlens generated massive amounts of free product promotion but also got people to actually watch videos posted on Instagram, which is a difficult feat. Åhlens was targeting a younger audience, so they did their research by finding out what platform this audience utilizes most and then used it to produce an effective campaign.
The second example appeared from On the Media in an article written by Alex Goldman titled “DiGiorno is actually covering its social media screw up pretty well.” This PR faux pas was committed by none other than, DiGiorno Pizza. While delivery may not be an issue for DiGiorno, it definitely is for the person in charge of their social media account. DiGiorno received significant negative Twitter feedback after tweeting “#whyIstayed you had pizza,” completely unaware that the trending topic “#whyIstayed” was in association with speaking out against domestic violence. This mistake left the DiGiorno employee who runs the social media site sending individual apologies via tweets for 12 hours. While the mistake is careless and could have easily been avoided, the empathy and sincere apologies made by the employee helped ease the blow. This employee unintentionally offended thousands of people and attracted negative feedback for DiGiorno pizza. If the employee would have clicked on one of the hashtags and read other tweets, then the tone of the hashtag would have been clear and this entire mistake avoided. Instead, failed to engage publics in an appropriate way.