Professional development and training blog of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
June 29, 2012

The Sweet Popsicle-Social Media Connection

As someone who travels all the time, I watch a lot of TV. As CEO of a technology public relations firm, I love all that is “fast” and “new,” but somehow I gravitate toward series that take me back in time. One of the things I love most about retro shows is when I realize that the language, clothes and culture may change, but so many things stay the same.

For example, awesome ideas are timeless. I’m a rabid “Mad Men” fan, and Peggy Olson is the kind of risk taker we love at Airfoil. In her shellacked 1960s bouffant, twin sets and cone bras, she’s come up with campaign concepts I only wish I could have thought of myself — today.

But after reading an article about what life was really like for 1960s-era “Mad Women”, I understand the show doesn’t necessarily reflect the significant number of women who were actually moving-and-shaking on Madison Avenue in the early 1960s. Without the incredible social networking resources women in business have access to today — not to mention a decidedly greater social emphasis on gender equity — this is a real testament to the brains and guts behind these mavericks. I wonder if Peggy would have stayed at Sterling for so long had she been able to put out feelers for opportunities via LinkedIn, demonstrated her industry expertise through Twitter or broadcast her creative ideas and process on a blog.

Even with the assistance of social media, Peggy’s skills would earn her those opportunities (just more rapidly). Her ad concepts work because they speak the truth, plainly but powerfully. She would have no way of knowing, but a Peggy classic — the straightforward “Take it. Break it. Share it. Love it.” for Popsicle — is the essence of a great social media discipline:

  • Take your message.
  • Break it down into digestible chunks.
  • Share it with people who care.
  • And love it.

We counsel clients to demonstrate “love” for the relationships they form online with constant nurturing and genuine, dynamic dialogue. While a Popsicle will disappear, we’ve seen time and again how social media channels that are cared for with relevant content, customer exclusives and thoughtful, timely responses can dramatically grow a brand’s influence and customer loyalty. I mean, what’s the point of social media — or a Popsicle for that matter — if you’re not going to love it?

Whether we’re crafting messages, brainstorming campaign themes or mapping out social media plans, we must remember that audiences really don’t want something complicated. They want relationships with brands that are rooted in truth and, very likely this summer, a Popsicle.

Janet Tyler is co-CEO of Airfoil, a top technology PR and marketing firm with offices in Detroit and Silicon Valley. She oversees the firm’s expansion of its digital, social, and global capabilities. Janet is a leading figure in the PRSA Counselors Academy, a board member of The Council of Public Relations Firms and one of PRWeek’s “40 Under 40.” You can find her on TwitterLinkedIn, and on Airfoil’s blog. For more insight on customer relationship management, check out the PRSA 2012 International Conference in San Francisco!

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