Considering social media has been a major topic over the last year, the PRSA 2009 International Conference featured many sessions that showcased ideas, discussions and case studies around the topic. Monday afternoon included an Innovative Strategies session called “The Best in Buzz: A Review of Social Media and other Creative Strategies Used in Some of the Best Holistic Marketing PR Campaigns.”
The topic of buzz is growing in importance as traditionally held metrics are being shifted by the use of social media. In their discussion, Craig Howe, CEO of Rocket XL; Daryl McCullough, CEO of Paine PR; and Deniel Lemin, director, Social Media at Paine PR, made the point that buzz does not equal coverage and that going about getting it is rooted in having ideas or information that is remarkable to amplify. The requirements for this are relevancy and share ability.
They also noted that having and building buzz won’t do you a lot of good unless you are willing to sit down and chat with a customer in a meaningful way in the real world or online.
A highlight of their presentation included some thoughts on what helps buzz take off. These include:
- Start with research and insights.
- Be remarkable — creativity, finding the heart/drama that makes something shareable.
- Get innovative in content and messages.
- Leverage technology in delivery — feeds buzz, conversations, engagement.
- Harness influencers for recommendations.
- Work holistically and behave ethically.
- Monitor, measure and report, and stay in it.
The session also included several case studies — many that their agency developed — and several that they did not. They shared Coke’s – Expedition 206, Randy Houser’s country music video – that leveraged the YouTube video of a kid singing along to his song; Air New Zealand’s Nothing to Hide; and Gladys Hardy’s “I love Jesus, but I drink a little.”
The most important aspect of their session that may have been overshadowed by the scale of the social media programs that they shared was the idea of taking a holistic approach to these “campaigns.” This can’t be stressed enough as consumers and companies alike are looking beyond basic interaction in social media. People want to know what’s next and is there more? One way to answer those questions is to make sure you are leveraging a full spectrum of tools and incorporating on- and off-line elements into campaigns.
Other thoughts about developing social media “campaigns” that are worth mentioning are as follows:
- Always plan to improvise.
- The creative idea driving the campaign should be able to live on its own — if not, it might not be a good social media idea.
- The sky is not the limit – be realistic.
- One size does not fit all; and there is no big or small thinking in social media — what matters most is a strong symbiotic relationship between idea, social platform and authenticity.
In the end, the presentation shared a lot of great information, strategies and outcomes, however it seemed that people where interested in learning more about the on-the-ground activities that helped launch the programs themselves, the insight that led them in the directions taken and some of the special sauce behind what makes these campaigns really dance.
Al Krueger, founder, partner and right brain, Comet Branding + PR. Prior to founding Comet in 2007, he was the director of public relations for a branding communications agency, national brand manager for a large leisure travel company and a brand coordinator for Wisconsin’s largest health care system, among other roles. Together with business partner Sara Meaney, he is the co-host to Comet Branding Radio, a weekly Internet radio show that shares and discusses the progressive and evolving elements of marketing, public relations and social media, and features thought leaders from around the country. He sits on the board of directors of the Eisner American Advertising Museum and is the co-founder of the Social Media Club of Milwaukee.
For coverage of the PRSA 2009 International Conference: Delivering Value, visit our Conference blog or follow the conversation on Twitter at hashtag #prsa09.