PR today - while still harnessing media connections and calling on creative writing skills - is all about understanding how, when and where your client's demographic is sourcing its communications, and odds are, a good part of it is going on online. Taking advantage of digital space to share, and even create your news, breathes life into your logo and can leverage phenomenal PR opportunities for the first time. The Ford Fiesta Movement campaign provides a perfect just to illustrate.
Ford was keen to focus on its small car market with its new offering in the States, the Fiesta. Instead of relying solely on traditional ad campaigns. Ford looked at social networking to create an undercurrent. Rather than appealing to the classic early adopters (those who behave as influencers throughout us), they set their sights on the very specific group - consumers they knew would be passionate about the merchandise.
To charge the campaign with 'glamour, excitement and oddity,' Ford searched for and gave (for 6 months) a Fiesta to 100 twenty-something YouTubers, who were asked to craft a true narrative video by highlighting everyday situations. These 'brand ambassadors used their new cars to provide Meals on Wheels, take treats towards the National Guard, wrestle alligators, elope, and usually live their interesting lives - even while posting on social media sites, such as YouTube, Flickr, Facebook and Twitter.
The campaign would be a huge success, with Fiesta receiving 6.5 million YouTube views and 50,000 requests for details about the vehicle - virtually none from people who already were built with a Ford within the driveway. Most significantly, Ford sold 10,000 units in the first six days of sales, all for any fraction of the items it might have cost to run a national TV campaign. Concluded Jim Farley Jr, Ford VP of worldwide Marketing: "I want people to tell our story. That's what digital has shown us - how you can earn cred among consumers."
Welcome to the current face of PR - spreading your message as far so that as wide as possible, while still influencing your core demographic having a 'call to action' or perhaps a changed perception regarding your client. Undoubtedly, modern PR tactics still insist that you have a deep understanding of the media, strong writing talent, excellent communication skills, the opportunity to think critically and a strategic allegiance to a brand's marketing objectives and goals.
But today's PR professionals also need to harness the social digital arena using the ability, flexibility and agility to broaden the scope of influence and increase sales for its clients.
This will not just range from the most widely used social networking channels, for example Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogging, but the emerging channels, such as Pinterest, Flickr, Google+ and other things comes along. So whether recommending and managing one social media platform or seven, it needs to be done with purpose, strategically aligning using the logo and its business plans and goals.
In short, it's not just establishing a Facebook page for a client just to say they have one, but determining in which the brand's audiences hang out; tone of voice, what sort of content will engage them in conversation, how to use and integrate the channels, how you can manage those activities and who's empowered to create decisions. Even though way of measuring success means amounts of followers, shares and video views, this isn't enough. Metrics should include awareness, click-through rates, sentiment, calls to action, enquiries, comments and resultant bookings and purchasers.