Carefully Crafted on July 30

Double Shot: Updating Spokespeople & Product Launches

In media relations 101, you learn that an effective way to secure local PR coverage is to provide a local perspective to a national trend. (For example: National health care reform passes. Local Company contacts Local Newspaper to explain how the legislation will impact their company. That’s localizing a national story.)

That concept applies online, too. See a national story where you can offer a valid perspective? Reach out to bloggers who might be interested offering that angle to their readers. Nothing too earth-shattering — just a slightly different approach.

By looking at effective traditional tactics through a slightly different lens, we can elevate our communication efforts. In fact, we’ve seen this in action twice this week. And with that, I give you a prtini “Double Shot:”

  • Spokespeople. Traditionally, brands would hire an actor, athlete or other celebrity to serve as spokesperson for their product. Example: Michael Jordan and Nike, William Shatner for or Mark Whalberg for Calvin Klein. We may be seeing a new trend emerge: Established brands are turning to online influencers to fill this role. Virgin America partnered with Gary Vaynerchuck. Firethorn Holdings hired Sarah Evans as “correspondent” for its new product launch. She’ll be interviewing major celebrities at high-profile events, like the BET Awards and parties in the Hamptons.
  • Product launches. This week, Ford hosted a virtual reveal event, unveiling the 2011 Expedition first on Facebook. While Ford integrated advertising and PR to drive attention to its Facebook page, the motor company bucked the traditional auto-show debut (where it would break the news to traditional media) and took its message directly to its fans (read: potential buyers) in a forum where word would spread quickly.

That said, most of us (my clients, you readers, the companies we work for) don’t have budgets like Ford or Virgin America, nor the ability to sponsor an event in the Hamptons. Even so, we should recognize the creativity and innovative thinking behind these strategies and brainstorm if/how similar concepts could work for us.

How do you think small- to mid-size businesses can apply lessons from these recent developments?


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