The Right Time for Real-Time PR
Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Right Time for Real-Time PR

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News breaks faster than ever these days. In fact, social networks, like Twitter, often report real-time events before major news networks can even get to the scene. This new era of real-time PR has become a hot button over the past year. For instance, Oreo was one smart cookie during the Super Bowl last year when they used the blackout to their advantage. Instantly brands clamored to figure out the most effective ways to jump on the real-time PR bandwagon.

First, let’s define this new communications strategy. Real-time PR happens when brands react within minutes, not days, after news breaks. It can also include pushing clever content around a pop culture event or a moment. In most cases brands hope they’re setting the stage for their message to go viral.  

But what happens when it goes awry, as it did this week for AT&Twho tried to convert this year’s 9/11 memorials into a promotional opportunity? While the brand likely had good intent, the backlash offers a great example of what not to do when evaluating real-time marketing goals.

If you’re brand is thinking about ways to deploy real-time tactics, consider the following:

1. Plan real-time messaging around events that tie back to your brand.

Look for holidays, national events or pop culture happenings that make sense to align with, and figure out how to create something that is both meaningful and that doesn’t cross the line of offensive. For example, check out what ADIDAS did during Wimbledon. Before each game Twitter fans were encouraged to guess where Andy Murray would hit the winning balls, on 9 zones of this opponent's side of the court using hashtag #hitthewinner.

2. Think past pictures

Tweeting real-time photos as incidents or events occur is certainly proving that being in the right place at the right time counts. But think about how your visuals can translate into a pitch or news. For example, Lowe’s brilliant “display of fireworks” on Vine around July 4th could have been used to pitch ways to liberate your home from leaky faucets and a roof in need of repair. Take it back to what you offer.

3. Show humility along with humor

No one can resist a brand that humanizes itself by merging humility with humor. Look for ways to show brand vulnerability. A great example? When Nintendo of America took to Twitter during the Oscars to share its opinion on Wreck-It Ralph being bypassed for an award.

4. Crowdsource your coverage.

If one of your strategies is to generate buzz around a new product, service or pro-social initiative, it’s imperative that you involve your key stakeholders. For example, when we produce Staples for Students each year, we integrate a celebrity component and encourage our pop culture icons and influencers to post content and engage with fans so that we can increase the chances of our event being shared and enjoyed in real-time. 

Read 100545 times Last modified on Sunday, 15 September 2013
Tracy Tilson

President

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