Posts Tagged ‘YouTube’

Ultimate Sequester PR Strategy: the White House as content creator, channel master

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Posted by Tom Gable

Case histories will be written and studied for years on how the Obama White House has found new tools and tactics for connecting at the local level, while marginalizing major national media.

As covered in Politico in a piece called “Obama the puppet master,” the Obama White House has developed its own content creation machine to feed all channels of communication with tightly crafted messages that build the Obama brand. It chooses the channels with surgical precision. Why interview with The New York Times beat reporter who knows the issues and risk facing tough questions, Politico notes, when one can dominate local media through strategically scheduled interviews with friendly anchormen and women who may not be up on the issues?  The cumulative effect can be bigger than scoring a national media hit, as covered in depth by Politico.

The orchestration of coverage of potential economic Armageddon from the automatic budget cuts scheduled for March 1 (called Sequester) is the latest and most complex example of a local-national strategy. From the Secretary of Transportation setting the stage with future delays at major airports because of fewer air traffic controllers, to interviews in local markets with data on the anticipated loss of jobs (e.g. underway Feb. 26 in military towns in Virginia), the PR efforts are carrying consistent messages carefully chosen to appeal to each audience. How does it work?

Politico and a follow up piece by the Poynter Organization (“The dangerous delusions of the White House press corps and the president”) provided details. To summarize the key elements of the Obama White House approach and one that can work for brands, organizations, political candidates, new product introductions, crisis PR and other PR campaigns:

  • Develop a comprehensive, cohesive message strategy with consistent themes and supporting evidence;
  • Be precise in targeting and masterful in scheduling and orchestrating the individual parts of the program;
  • Go for local issues, with local examples;
  • The White House (or any brand) becomes the ultimate publisher (print, broadcast, photography, video, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube and more);
  • Every appearance or event needs to support the brand, to include great photo opportunities with locals for driving local coverage;
  • Control the content and flow through all channels by picking the media carefully;
  • Stage events to focus on the big messages and memorable lines and don’t allow time at the end for random media questions that might delve into negative territory and take the candidate, CEO or other luminary off-message;
  • Go for easy wins at the local level, then build regionally;
  • Ignore the major media unless they are friendly;
  • Produce your own photography and video rather than allow media coverage (local outlets are always looking for free content);
  • Shun those who have produced or written anything that would be considered negative;
  • Pound away at key messages through major pieces with the friendly media and TV personalities and support with social barrages to hit every target relentlessly;
  • Use the classic “weekend document dump” to avoid negative coverage and “minimize attention to embarrassing or messy facts”;
  • And orchestrate all the elements to ramp up for strategically and with surgical precision for maximum impact at a pre-designated date, such as an election or the day before the so-called fiscal cliff.

The latter – strategic planning of all elements for total control – represents the biggest challenge. Many organizations, brands and individuals can master parts of integrated campaigns.  Few would have the budget, the talent, the discipline and the power even close to that of the Obama White House to succeed on all fronts.

The bottom line, according to Politico:

“With more technology, and fewer resources at many media companies, the balance of power between the White House and press has tipped unmistakably toward the government. This is an arguably dangerous development, and one that the Obama White House — fluent in digital media and no fan of the mainstream press — has exploited cleverly and ruthlessly.”

Beyond gibberish and techno-babble: social media as part of the strategic PR tool kit

Sunday, January 13th, 2013

Playing with Tools

Posted by Tom Gable

We first pitched the Internet startup in July 2012 on supporting the launch of its new hobbyist portal/platform, which was envisioned to have distinctive features and functionality that could drive rapid growth and profits (we are under an NDA, so can’t share any more). Our Gable PR team provided a multi-faceted strategic plan based on our experiences launching the world’s first Internet payment system and a pioneering online greeting card company, plus introducing other disruptive innovations.

They liked our plan. It integrated old school strategic thinking with a full array of communications tools – traditional and new – fully orchestrated to roll from soft launch, gain momentum and then rocket to greater heights after the official launch. But we were the veteran grey-haired firm (although staffed with bright young talent!), so they were also shopping the hottest social media gurus in the region. The process went on for several months. We assumed they had gone elsewhere when we got the call in December to set a meeting to launch the Gable PR program.

What changed? Although they were initially charmed by the energy and enthusiasm of the fresh-cheeked social media evangelists, one of their partners said they were worn out by the jargon and promises to build their Twitter footprint and drive other social media metrics. The partners started asking for “what could be done beyond measuring things that might not count.”

“We got a lot of great-sounding gibberish but nothing we could directly connect to helping grow the business, not just buzz,” he confided.

Not surprising. A good piece in Techi.Com cited an AdAge survey that showed some “180,000 people on Twitter who claim to be social media mavens, experts, consultants, ninjas, pros, warriors, or some other noun that’s intended to fill you with confidence about their ability to save you from the evil world of Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.”

Many social media firms of note do provide valuable programs to support a client’s business and marketing plans. But all of this reminds us of one of the great parodies of social media from Onion, which packaged it as a TED presentation.

Check it out to appreciate the humor as the social media guru brags about his firm making huge amounts of money even though using social media “eliminates the need to provide value to anyone.”

He talked about helping a client raise its Twitter footprint by creating fake Twitter accounts to raise the number of followers from 300 to 900,000 in less than a week, all done by robots, so the his firm didn’t have to do any work. They added advertising the robots could see, but not buy from. And the companies didn’t care, because they were “liked.”

Saturday Night Live also had a classic bit skewering social media during the election. Seth Myers, host of Weekend Update, asked the social media expert if what voters are saying online is an accurate barometer of public option. She said of course. It captures how people feel. And each voice is valid even if it has no punctuation.

The expert provided sample Tweets from the election pointing out the physical characteristics of the candidates and their sexual attributes, plus use of scatological words to describe President Obama. Seth wasn’t too taken with the examples and asked if this really mattered.

She said in social media, everyone’s opinion is equal, including the New York Times columnist and the person using a series of equal signs and a capital D to indicate…

Long story short: As our new client came to understand, it’s not just getting excited about the latest technology, social media or other tool. It’s how to fit any tool and tactic strategically into an overall program to build image, reputation and leads in support of long-term business goals. And can you explain the benefits in something other than techno-babble and gibberish?

Social Media the New Sock Puppet? Or Part of a Strategic PR Tool Kit?

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Tool Time

 

Posted by Tom Gable

The blogosphere, Twittersphere and mainstream media are waking up to the fact that the hot new item they fell in love with not too long ago is starting to remind them of infatuations of old. The packaging might be brighter, more exotic and stimulating to the senses. But this hot new item could be a time sink; with hours and days disappearing with little of value to show. Yes, the titillation has been stimulating. But could this hot item simply be distracting us all from more serious, important and strategic activities?

Sound familiar? Remember the first encounter with The World Wide Web and Mosaic (pre-Netscape)? Then came Netscape, email, Yahoo, Google and a million new websites that bragged about capturing eyeballs (but no income), ad infinitum. Many firms, Gable PR included, succumbed to the siren songs of the web. So many pretty new faces are now tired or gone. Is the hot new item – social media – heading for the same fate?

Experts seem to agree that we are seeing the evolution of the social media phenomenon into the development of a commoditized set of tools to add to the PR arsenal for strategic use as needed.

Peter Shankman, of HARO fame, wrote that he would never hire a social media expert, and neither should you.

“Social Media is just another facet of marketing and customer service. Say it with me. Repeat it until you know it by heart. Bind it as a sign upon your hands and upon thy gates. Social Media, by itself, will not help you. We’re making the same mistakes that we made during the dotcom era, where everyone thought that just adding the term .com to your corporate logo made you instantly credible. It didn’t. If that’s all you did, you emphasized even more strongly how pathetic your company was.”

The Sysomos blog offered this guidance:

“In simple terms, social media as a standalone activity is coming to an end. If you are a social media consultant, you need to be really, really good at providing strategic counsel, as well as have in-depth knowledge of the tools and services need to execute tactically. For everyone else, they will need to offer than just social media strategic and tactical services. Instead, they have to offer services that embrace communications, marketing and sales strategies and goals.”

Even Steve Rubel, who grew up being a social media consultant and blogger ubber alles, noted that:

“It was fun while it lasted. But I totally agree that the future is all about integration. We need more systems thinkers who can see the big picture.”

I led a workshop at the recent PRSA Counselors Academy annual spring conference where we discussed PR as the ultimate platform for building image and reputation and social media as part of the tool kit.

The metaphor was PR as the Internet of communications. PR starts with a solid, authentic foundation using traditional methods (e.g. Media relations) and then layers on new applications (websites, email), leverages off other platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and connects with people from all angles to move perception and behavior in the desired direction.

The senior PR counselors attending the workshop agreed that the “start” button for authentic PR was strategic planning brilliantly synchronized to support client business and marketing goals. The strategies, tools and tactics can be far-ranging to support building reputation and driving results with multiple target audiences. The obvious basic list included internal relations, pro-active media relations, social media integration, special events, breakthrough promotions, cause marketing, community relations, trade relations, investor relations, speaking engagements, conferences, trade shows, crisis PR and issues management.

In delving deeper into the hottest topic – the social media component – the Counselors discussed media disintermediation and the rise of what was characterized as the PR Publishing House – a powerful emerging force in marketing communications and public relations. Think of PR as content developer for many communications products, all integrated within unified themes. PR pros serve as creative directors. They develop their own editorial calendars and control multiple channels that bypass traditional media filters. When done strategically, the work of the PR publishing house advances education and knowledge, building trust and credibility through authentic conversations in a human voice that build long-term relationships.

What’s next? The gurus noted the end of the social media gurus, which does have a touch of irony to it. The workshop talked about communications at the speed of light and the two-second news cycle. There will surely be new layers of digital tools that drive faster actions and forms of communications we haven’t yet imagined. And it will be up to the PR pros to manage those new tools within a brilliant strategic context.

Managing a PR Crisis in the Age of Social Media

Saturday, February 12th, 2011

Instant News Channels

Posted by Tom Gable

The above title of the CommNexus event in San Diego was intriguing and the syllabus promised to deliver tips and actionable insights to help PR people and others prepare for the unexpected. Is it possible, given the instant news cycle we live in today? Yes, according to members of a panel that represented the news media, a major client and an international PR firm.  And the results are worth sharing.

Liya Sharif, moderator and director of marketing at Qualcomm, outlined the challenges of today’s instant communications and direct attacks on brands, such as Toyota during its recent issues with recalls. It developed a social media strategy after the fact. What should companies thing about and do?

Alex Pham, who’s been with the Los Angeles Times for 11 years and seen it all, outlined her six key tips for being successful in managing crisis in the era of social media.

  1. Have a plan
  2. Be honest
  3. Walk the talk
  4. Respond quickly and aggressively if needed
  5. Hire a pro for an outside point of view
  6. “No comment” doesn’t work

Monte Lutz, senior vice president with Edelman Digital, Los Angeles, said his firm advises clients to first have a plan in place. The pace and cadence of the news cycle has changed to the “24-second news cycle,” so the players need to be ready to move. If an organization doesn’t respond to a crisis almost instantly and accurately, negative information can pop up onto the first page of results generated by any search engine.

“There is a vacuum for content and people are ready to fill it,” Lutz said.

Speed and Persona

He said speed was No. 1, followed by persona. Respondents can’t be “snarky” and should try to adapt a friendly demeanor. Building trust is essential because trust is a major differentiator. He noted that the Edelman Trust Barometer continues to fall as companies and organizations do a poor job connecting authentically with their many target audiences.

As an additional tactic, he suggested buying ads on the search engines with links back to credible background information on the company website.

Rachel Laing, former journalist and now deputy press secretary for Major Jerry Sanders, said to work on trust and relationships early – get people engaged before you need the connections. Be active in Twitter. Follow people in the space, engage new contacts, gain trust and credibility with intelligent Tweets and re-Tweet relevant information for further credibility.

Harnessing Twitter

Laing said government is always in a crisis mode so be prepared. Control the fan page. Never delete comments but you don’t have to respond to “nasty-grams” and perpetuate the madness. If someone is Tweeting badly, follow them back and then direct message (DM) to them with your phone and email to follow up with the facts.

Pham agreed on the use of Twitter and said the tone can differ based on the audience. But “corporate speak” doesn’t work and the responses have to be authentic and friendly in the social media space, to include restating facts since the social media doesn’t operate under the same rules as traditional media.

Traditional media will call, email and conduct extra research to get the facts behind the story. Cooler heads are at work, versus those personally involved and passionate about an issue, or someone who wants to be first with the news, whether totally correct or not. A lot of bloggers aren’t interested in accuracy, she said, so sometimes companies have to go into “hand-to-hand combat.” If you have been engaged and developed loyal followers, they will become your advocates and defend you in times of crisis.

Responding to Traditional Media

The traditional media is also working on the 24-second news cycle. As a result, Pham said companies need to get back to the media faster than ever before, even if it’s to clarify the information that is needed and promise to get back with details as soon as possible. A key: asking “what’s your deadline.”

Have a clear contact on the website so that point person can be found in 10 seconds or less.

Lutz advised companies to anticipate disaster and have dark website pages and dark tabs on Facebook with facts ready to go on a moment’s notice. Planning with the PR firm should include working on the tone and conducting rehearsals. The company can be prepared to be hits own publisher and broadcaster, too, using the different channels (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, PR, media relations, website, etc.) to get out the word. Embed news releases with pictures, graphs and video if they will help tell the story.

If the opposition has posted a video to YouTube, post your response using the same title and tags as the hit piece. This ensures your quality response shows up immediately.

Organizing the PR Crisis Team

Dan Novak, vice president of global marketing, PR and communications for Qualcomm, said internal plans need to include having a core communications team at the ready and a committee waiting in the wings to be convened that includes legal, government, public relations, investor relations, human resources, IT, and other key units. The plan needs to be based on high values and accountability. The process for launching the plan into action needs to eliminate speed bumps, which can hinder many organizations.

During Q&A, one of the audience asked about how to get clients to commit to a social media program.

The panel’s response: it’s happening whether you participate or not, as evidenced by what happened to BP, Toyota and United Airlines (the guitar incident) when they didn’t respond.

Social Media Usage Grows Up, Just Like We Do

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Social Evolution

Posted by Lauren Miller

If you sit back and visualize about how you keep current on what your friends are doing or check the latest entertainment, recreation, industry specific or other breaking news, how do you think you spend the majority of your time?

The latest results from eMarketer show the world spends more time on social media than email, browsing or other online activities. Once a novelty, social media has become part of everyday life and has even become a verb (i.e., “Facebooking”). The eMarketer study shows 58.1 percent of Americans manage an online profile, with the worldwide number at 61.8 percent.

How did we get here? From Flicker and YouTube to SlideShare and LiveJournal, there is a social media platform for almost every letter of the alphabet and every Internet user. No matter what your platform of choice, you have probably noticed something interesting: Your use of these sites has evolved and migrated along with your life (think about changing demographics, interests, lifestyle, etc.).

Maybe over the last few years you’ve become a parent, started a new job, relocated or have become a job-seeker. If you look back over time, you can actually trace your personal and professional development based on how your posts have changed.

As an example, for young professionals currently in their 20s, in high school the craze was all about MySpace – the pictures you uploaded, the music on your page and the number of friends you had. Most teenagers posted fun party pictures that sometimes straddled the line of inappropriate. But there was no privacy on MySpace, anyone could join the site and they weren’t always who they said they were.

Moving forward to college we found something new – Facebook. You couldn’t have a Facebook page unless you had a college email account – and not every University had Facebook available to its students. Facebook, when it first launched, not only looked very different than it does today, but the purpose for most was a way to stay connected to your high school friends and new college friends.

Slowly, Facebook began to evolve and anyone with an email account could create a Facebook page. The early adopters of Facebook started seeing their parents and aunts and uncles joining Facebook and wanting to be friends with them. Then, potential employers started looking at Facebook to see if those recent college graduates applying for a job seemed like the kind of person that the company wanted representing them. All of a sudden, you saw seniors in college and recent grads changing their Facebook pictures, their content and their status updates. It went from “Party at Joes!” to “Working Hard.” Facebook no longer was just a fun way to post pictures and chat with friends. It evolved into a community with more depth. It became a way for families to keep in touch and also offered businesses, institutions and organizations the opportunities to create personalities to promote their products and services in new ways.

College grads and young professionals then stumbled upon the next social platform that could be value to their careers – LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows professionals to discuss hot topics in their industry, probe other industry professionals for their ideas or advice and is another source for job listings. With LinkedIn you don’t post crazy pictures or status updates, it’s purely a way to put your resume and qualifications out there for the business and professional world to see. LinkedIn also took on a higher professional aura as organizations and those of like interests formed discussion groups (much like the Internet bulletin boards of old, but with considerable more class).

As with any form of communications and connecting, social media users continue to evolve with their favorite platforms over time. Social media and social network sites can prove to be very effective ways to open new doors. You never know – The new lead singer of Journey landed his gig from a video he posted on YouTube of him belting out the band’s classic “Don’t Stop Believing.” There is more focus and thoughtful content today than ever before as we learn to post content that projects the right image and is something you would be comfortable with your 90 year-old grandmother and potential employer seeing.

(Editor’s Note: Lauren is 24 years old, a 2009 graduate of the University of San Diego and has changed her photos and content significantly in the past few years).

Facebook Follies: Making Sure Social Media Fits Within Your PR Strategy

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Rolling out new tools

Posted by Laura Woods

The public relations profession is at a wonderful and challenging crossroads in its evolution. No longer can the traditional approach of solely using press releases be effective in building a client’s reputation and media presence. Now PR professionals have to be comfortable integrating all aspects of social media — blogs, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other tools – into their strategic arsenal. Beyond proactive approaches, PR pros need to be diligent in setting high standards for all communications and monitoring for questionable or negative impacts. (more…)

Making the Online Video Boom Work for PR, Branding

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Getting Visual

Getting Visual

Posted by Krista Rogers

You can run but you can’t hide. The online video boom is here and it is not going to go away. And it is a great thing. Online video presents an incredible platform for public relations practitioners to help their clients or organizations improve communication and tell stories in new and imaginative ways. But the question is, “How?”

Earlier this month I participated in the PRSA teleseminar: Tapping into the Online Video Boom hosted by Mike McDougall, APR Vice President of Corporate Communications & Public Affairs at Bausch & Lomb that answered the questions so many companies are wrestling with.

Mike said online video should be an essential part of any corporate communicator’s toolkit. He really put the value of online video into perspective. It is no longer limited to channels such as YouTube or traditional broadcast media. It is becoming a cheap and effective tool that can be integrated into all of your communication tactics.

To quantify just how much impact online video has on internet users in the United States, here are some numbers from the results from a January 2009 Comscore report:

  • Over 147 million U.S. Internet users viewed an average of 101 videos each in January (more than three a day!).
  • 76.8 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.
  • The average online video viewer watched 356 minutes of video in January, (approximately 6 hours), up 15 percent versus December.
  • 100.9 million viewers watched 6.3 billion videos on YouTube.com (62.6 videos per viewer).
  • 54.1 million viewers watched 473 million videos on MySpace.com (8.7 videos per viewer).
  • The duration of the average online video was 3.5 minutes, up from 3.2 minutes per video in December.

Mike was kind enough to share his ideas for using online video to show off an organization’s attributes, all within a strategic plan. Here are his top tips with a little Gable PR insights as well.

ELEVEN ONLINE VIDEO TIPS

  1. Let your spokespeople speak! Be casual and non-slick.
  2. Show your lighter side. Be careful though, there is a caveat; don’t make it too light. Make sure the video is appropriate to the company’s personality and culture.
  3. Show what is special. What could you use to increase internal morale or external interest? Talk about how many patents you have? Secret ingredients in your hotel’s recipes? Brilliant engineering in your medical device? Special relics in your museum? You can even interview someone who has been with the company for many years and share that with the world!
  4. Become an expert. Share your knowledge! (Check out Gable PR’s Guru ™ Program)
  5. Dust off the archives. People like to reminisce and witness a company’s evolution and vitality.
  6. Tap the unexpected. Are people using your product in a different or creative way? Build on that!
  7. Make the complex simple. Let video explain the complex.
  8. Supplement a news release with a video clip or link to a YouTube video to further explain your points and add personality to the organization.
  9. Turn your blog into a vlog (video log). Share your opinions, ideas, etc. through a vlog instead of a blog to better engage viewers and enhance your point.
  10. Celebrate global efforts if they exist. Use personalities and experiences from other countries. Highlight it and show it off.
  11. Highlight success. Milestones are a cause for celebration and an opportunity to say, “Hey! Look at us!”

One of the greatest aspects of the online video boom is the bang you can get for your buck. Grab an HD Still Camera for $130 that will have video and be up and vlogging in no time. Need an event documented at your European headquarters in Germany? Don’t send over a whole crew. FedEx a $130 camera and have the footage uploaded in an hour (or have them buy it there if the price is right).

YouTube experts blogged about three factors that contributed to driving an overall growth of 1700 percent in uploads in the last six months: new video-enabled phones on the market, improvement of the upload flow and a new, streamlined process to share videos on social networks. The new technology creates accessibility that allows for endless opportunities for anyone to jump on board and use online video to their advantage. And it’s a must-have addition to almost every PR communications tool kit.

The One-Minute News Cycle; Social Media Critical in Crisis PR

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Deep, Fast Searching

Deep, Fast Searching

Posted by Liz Dill

According to an article in The Wall Street Journal entitled, “For Companies, a Tweet in Time Can Avert PR Mess,” many large corporations such as Ford, Southwest Airlines and Pepsi are creating social media teams. By closely monitoring social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) they can quickly identify potential issues, analyze customer feedback in real-time and craft effective communications strategies to deal with the breaking issue while protecting the reputation of the organization. The article specifically mentions a situation where a Southwest Airlines flight had to make an emergency landing and their emerging media team was able to scan social media sites for passenger response to the incident, and then was able to craft an appropriate message on behalf of the Airline based on their findings.

In an ideal world of strategic public relations, goals are set, actions carefully planned, core messages thoughtfully crafted and outcomes weighed. The same systematic approach is particularly important when confronted with a crisis situation. Avoid the urge to launch a quick reactive response. Use all the resources available to gather information and create an intelligent, insightful situation analysis on the impact of the situation in both short and long term. Gable PR has detailed checklist to help in the process.

Analyze the results and determine the strategic response. With the impact of social media and the impact on the velocity of news and buzz, clients, organizations and their PR professionals need to be up-to-the minute. Look beyond Google News and the other news trackers to monitor the pulse of the conversations and emerging tones in real time. Without intense scrutiny of the social media universe, an organization could see a small incident gain global buzz and quickly escalate into a larger PR crisis – one with long-term impact that extends beyond the short-term issue.

PR in Social Media: Not a Campaign, a Relationship

Friday, August 7th, 2009

Building Relationships

Building Relationships

Posted by Krista Rogers

PRNewswire hosted a recent panel discussion about media, public relations and the impact of social media. One of the quotes that struck a chord with many attendees was from Becky Carroll, President of PETRA consulting.

Becky said, “Social media is not a campaign, it is a relationship.” Heads were nodding throughout the room and flashing thumbs quickly tweeted and retweeted her words.

A campaign has a distinct beginning and end, she said, where as having an effective social media presence is about communication and building relationships. Social media is not a tactic to check off of your public relations to-do list. It provides a platform to connect with those current supporters of your organization and find new ones.

In one example, Becky cited Coca-Cola currently, with over 3.5 million fans on their Facebook Page, where Pepsi has less than one-tenth that, around 250,000. The main difference? The human approach versus a corporate one.

Coca-Cola’s fan page was started by two men, Dusty Sorg and Michael Jedrzejewski, who simply enjoy the beverage and had no relation to the company. They care about the brand and are Coke brand advocates. Coca-Cola eventually approached the men and asked to partner with them on the fan page. Coke did not try to commercialize the fan because; its PR team understood that for social media to be successful it must remain authentic. The people who read and post on the page do it because they love the product and not because they are paid to post. Being involved on the Coca-Cola’s Facebook fan page doesn’t leave a feeling of being “sold.”

Companies often fail in their social media initiatives because they are trying to sell themselves rather than create an open forum for discussion and interaction. Many post corporate messages and re-packaged press releases on their social media networks. They don’t interact with their followers. For instance, Coca-Cola’s page has over 1,700 pictures that fans have uploaded from around the world to share with Coke and the Coke-loving community. Pepsi’s page only has 52.

Being involved in social media means relinquishing control and cooperating and engaging with your audience. As all the social media gurus note (Robert Scoble, Shel Holtz, Chris Brogan, Seth Godin, etc.), to be effective in social media requires an organization to open up to what others are saying. Listen closely and respond in an open conversation with a human voice. By getting beyond the one-way communication model, organizations can enjoy sustained interaction with their fans and expand the fan base, while letting traditional PR strategies such as media relations and news releases handle the heavy-lifting in an ongoing campaign.

Denny’s Grand-Slam Campaign: PR and On-Line Promotion Drive Buzz

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

dennysPosted by Liz Dill

Facing increased late-night competition from McDonald’s, Taco Bell and other fast-food restaurants, plus declining sales during the period of 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., Denny’s is trying appeal to college-aged night owls by generating buzz around its “Allnighter” program. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, the restaurant chain initiated a targeted campaign which includes hosting post-show parties for rock bands and introducing menu items created by bands such as Good Charlotte and Rascal Flatts which are included on a “rockstar” menu for night patrons.

Denny’s also adopts up-and-coming musician and provides them with $1,000 in gift cards so they can eat while on tour. Katy Perry was a Denny’s adoptee before her song “I Kissed a Girl” hit the air waves.

So far the late-night traffic has increased 5% as a result of the relatively new campaign.The campaign is intriguing from a PR perspective as it gives the family dinning chain a certain “cool factor” by creating a synergy between rock stars, night-owls and late-night food – a time when families are sleeping soundly. The chain has been effectively reaching its target 20-something crowd mainly through social media outlets such as Twitter, MySpace and YouTube instead of advertising. Denny’s is also cleverly holding RSVP after party events for the Warped Tour. Having to RSVP to eat at Denny’s is certain to create additional buzz and drive future PR when rockers are spotted detuning at Denny’s after a big night on stage!