Here are the slides from my March 5 talk at the Power of Women Conference at Cedar Crest College.
Interview with me and Elizabeth Saleb (former student) on Gene Dickison's radio show, More Than Money. Elizabeth is an impressive young entrepreneur.
Having some message (video, photo, app., whatever) related to a product or company go viral has been the Holy Grail for marketers for several years now. Despite countless attempts and millions of dollars spent there is still not a science to making the exponential spread of a firm’s message over the ever-growing universe of web, mobile, and yes, personal platforms. Very few have had the success at attempts at “virality” as say, Carlton Draught’s “Big Ad,” but the handful that do tend to have a handful of things in common. As noted by my friend Mark Rogers of Dolcinema.com an ad needs to be:
· Creative, in a way consistent with the brand’s image
· Released by a company that is committed to being part of the “conversation”
· Easy to share
· Complete with a hook that resonates with the target audience
You’ll notice that Cartlon’s ad hit all the high points here. As an exercise in sorting out what makes a video viral, I like to give my student a few ads, some that have clearly gone viral, and others that are also-rans and ask them why a particular effort was or was not successful, and relate their thinking back to principles of marketing that they are studying. Once they seem to have a grasp on this, I’ll send them to an innovation monitoring website like www.likecool.com and ask them to conceive a viral campaign for one of the interesting new products that are highlighted there. (I have them do a storyboard or script, but if you’ve got the time and hardware actually producing something would, obviously, work too.)
You’ll be pleasantly surprised as to the quality of the teaching moment this provides. And, yes, it works for adult students as well as traditional 18-21’s.
Twitter is in the midst of launching its new format. While it is clean and, in my opinion, a lot more user friendly that the old version, I am starting to doubt the long term viability of the pioneering micro-blogging platform. Twitter is attractive because it allowed me to not only build and connect with an audience in the tweet-realm, it gave me an easy way to broadcast a message through my social media universe. For example, when I post something to my blog I tweet an announcement that shows up on my personal Facebook page, my book’s Facebook page, on LinkedIn, Plaxo, on my Wall Street Journal Page, on my Amazon page…. You get the idea.
Obviously, I am a Twitter user (@gaetang) and a fan, but I have noticed my behavior along with many others changing over the last few months. Recently, I have been using Ping.fm to do my broadcasting. Twitter is included in the Ping broadcast, but Twitter is no longer my primary distribution channel. Additionally, the emergence of applications like status.net that allow for the incorporation of micro-blogging into a person’s or company’s overall web presence with the option of keeping some conversations private and allowing others to be public will leave plain vanilla Twitter in the dust.
Considering this changing landscape, I have found it very productive to give my PR & Social Media students a tour of the current and emerging technologies in micro-blogging, and ask them to predict the future of this class of application based on their perception of consumer and business desires to use such a service. This is not only a great discussion starter, but helps me to bridge the gap between thinking about social technology as consumer and understanding its uses as a business person and marketer.
With a little bit of flair something routine can turn a non-story into a media frenzy. Recently unemployed, JetBlue flight attendant, Steven Slater, is a good example of what I am talking about from which PR people can take a lesson.
Let’s consider that right now, in the skies above us, there is a flight attendant losing his or her temper at an unreasonable passenger. Having traveled extensively for 15+ years I can almost guarantee that this is happening now and that it happen every day, but we rarely hear about it. What occurred in this case? Slater decided to take some beer then leave the plain via the emergency slide. It was probably not the right thing to do, but the guy’s got style.
So what good can you take from this? When you have something you want media coverage for do something a little mysterious. (Why did he take the beer? Was he going to drink it on the tarmac?) Then do something unexpected. (We all know about the emergencies shoot, but no one would open one if it wasn’t an emergency, right?) This technique is especially effective for new product launches and launching new integrated marketing campaigns. It allows you to lead with some buzz rather than the ho-hum. “Acme Widget Company launches version 5.2 of its Super Widget,” is a snooze. “Alien technology allows new widget to solve the industry’s biggest problems,” is getting somewhere.
Have some fun, take some risks. Take some beer and use the emergency slide.
Before I start I want you to know that I am not endorsing or denouncing gold as an investment. Thankfully, that’s not my line of work. What I want to point out is how being prepared for an interview can really pay off, or at least avoid a public relations disaster.
In this piece ABC new attempts to expose the misdeeds of the gold selling business, and singles out industry leader, Goldline in particular. The investigative reporter, Brian Ross, points out possible nefarious activity by gold sellers then uses commentary from a democratic congressman and a liberal watchdog group in support of his argument against Goldline, while the words, “Glenn Beck Endorses Company,” runs in the graphic snipe at the bottom of the screen throughout most of the piece. Ross also mentions the other conservative commentators who endorse Goldline. This is a poor journalistic effort in which their thesis seems to be that if liberals don’t like it but the Fox News crowd does, then it must be bad. Did they bother to interview a real expert? A professor? A seasoned commodities trader? A financial advisor? Um, no.
Now, it should have been clear to the folks at Goldline that ABC News was looking for that “gotcha moment.” When invited to be interviewed they could have anticipated that the set up piece (Ross’s report) and interview questions would be accusatory, and it would have been very easy to decline the request. But they did not. This was a risky move. While I don’t know whether Goldline Executive Vice President Scott Carter is a prince among men or a complete shyster, I do know is that he did a great job with this interview. Carter expected the questions he received and had answers well enough prepared to seem like he was answering them off-the-cuff. He stayed on message and used short, simple speech. He remained positive and enthusiastic, never saying “no comment.” He even had his “Three Quick Points,” that seemed to be designed to lead into a story or two, but by that time George Stephanopoulos had to cut him off to go to a break.
Is it possible that Carter came off a bit too slick, and that some viewers don’t trust him or his industry? Probably, but I’d bet those folks either lean to the left politically, or don’t plan on buying gold anyway. Not a big deal for Carter because that’s not his audience, and I will say with some certainty that he got through to his intended audience in a very positive way.
I had the pleasure of presenting “Generations and Social Media” at the Society of Consumer Affairs Professional’s (SOCAP) meeting in Hershey, Pennsylvania yesterday. I enjoyed my time with the group, and I was pleased to see so many talented and committed professionals working to break down the silos of marketing, PR, and customer service to create a business model where all company functions integrate customers into strategy and operations.
Gaetan Giannini is an Assistant Professor and the Chair of the Department of Business, Management & Economics at Cedar Crest College. He is also the author of Marketing Public Relations (Pearson-Prentice Hall) and a speaks and writes frequently on sales and marketing topics.
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