Carefully Crafted on January 23

DJ Lessons: Remixing and Sampling in PR and Social Media

Random fact that you may not know: My husband was a DJ in college. Seriously. He owned a DJ business that paid his college tuition. Perhaps that’s why, even today, we both have a great appreciation for remixes, mashups and interesting sampling. My appreciation for this mix of skill and creativity isn’t limited to just music though.

What am I talking about? Let me explain …

Did you catch Nike’s FuelBand launch last week? How about the Marty McFly “Back to the Future” shoe announcement? Both events displayed a masterful grasp of showmanship, suspense … social media and good ol’ fashioned integrated communication. DKNY’s Tumblr is a guilty pleasure of mine. I’m not-so-secretly obsessed with reading it.  Plus, I love following the “DKNY PR Girl” on Twitter and Instagram.

At Geben Communication, our clients come to us because they’re looking for a fresh approach to best practices. Truth be told, none of my clients have a budget like Nike or DKNY. Going out on a limb here, but I’m willing to bet that your business’s (or clients’) budgets are more like my clients’ budgets than Nike’s.

Enter the art of remixing and sampling. Watch what the big brands are doing, but don’t pine for their substantial resources. Instead, think about what you like most from their campaigns, and then challenge yourself to incorporate those elements into campaigns that work for your clients, within the available resources. For the Marty McFly launch, Nike hosted bloggers and online influencers from all over the world. Realistic for your brand? Maybe not. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t host a few bloggers. Or broadcast an experience using UStream and social media. Brainstorm other ways to pique people’s interest and sense of adventure.

When looking for ideas to “sample,” don’t resort to the same old, same old. Look outside your industry. (Hence my love for DKNY. I’ve never worked in fashion PR, but I find it fascinating and full of creativity!). For example, a couple years ago, I noticed a social services organization conducting a virtual scavenger hunt. Intrigued by the idea, I followed along, took some notes and filed it away as an idea that could work at some point for our own clients. Fast-forward a few months, and the Columbus Marathon was about to launch its new website and wanted a fun, interactive way to drive traffic to the new content. Tee up the virtual scavenger hunt … but with a few twists to make it more interactive and aligned with our client’s goals. It was so successful in driving traffic and expanding the marathon’s online footprint, the client wanted to replicate it again this year. (By the way, here’s my post on “how to” plan and execute a virtual scavenger hunt.)

The point is this: You can be innovative, creative and results-oriented, even without massive budgets. Follow people and brands you admire. You won’t be able to copy or replicate their efforts — nor should you want to. Every company is different and cookie-cutter PR and social media is doomed from the start. But, study their ideas and campaigns. Remix. Sample. Infuse your own creativity. Test. Evaluate. Do good work.


  1. […] industries to find inspiration and creative ideas. You never know where you’ll find something to remix and sample (like a […]

Empowered by:
Empowered by Geben Communication