A good public relations strategy doesn’t just involve sending out media releases. In fact, media releases are just a small part of an effective pr campaign. According to Brian Solis, author of Putting the Public Back in Public Relations, public relations is about engaging and relating to your target audience. Simply put, to get good pr, you have to focus on building and maintaining relationships with current and potential customers.
This is where Facebook comes in. Facebook encourages open communication between you and your target audience. By participating in the social network, you allow consumers to think of you as a friend and less as a cold, faceless corporation. But, to keep this friend status takes work.
You have to come up with relevant content. Small Biz Trend Blogger Lisa Barone writes that a company’s success on Facebook is directly tied to “creating new content designed to get a reaction.” The best status updates are those that get people to comment. To get comments, Barone suggests you: Ask questions. Make a statement and ask people to “like” it if they agree. Or, create a poll so people can click their preference.
Use Contests. People like winning stuff. So do their friends. Hold a contest and automatically you’ve got more people checking out your company’s page and what you’re all about. Contests can also get you extra media attention. In August, one of our clients, Altura Credit Union, ran a Facebook contest via status update. The winner posted on Altura’s wall, thanking Altura and saying he had given his prize (two tickets to a Taylor Swift concert) to his sister, who had supported him when he was going through a particularly bad time. This month, an article about the winner and Altura was featured in Credit Union National Association. It’s great pr for Altura and all they had to do was create a Facebook contest.
Act like a real Facebook friend. People won’t trust you unless you interact with them and allow them to interact with you. Part of that interaction means accepting criticism. You can’t delete every negative post or make it so people can’t post on your wall. You have to be willing to share the negative as well as the positive. And, as long as you respond quickly to negative feedback, you’ll be able to diffuse the comment before any real damage is done.
Finally, Make time for Facebook. Using Facebook as a pr tool is pointless if you don’t update content regularly. People will cease to care you exist if you’re not constantly creating new content and reacting to feedback. If you don’t have time to update, hire someone to do it for you.
The next time you’re developing a public relations strategy, don’t forget to throw Facebook into the mix. Oh, and friend Echo-Factory. We’re building relationships too.
We’ve mentioned before that, as an agency, we don’t want to be pigeonholed. We believe the fact that our client-base ranges from action-sports manufacturers to aerospace retailers is a good thing for both our agency, and our creative output.
That said, from time to time, we step back and realize that we’ve carved out a niche for ourselves. Our latest realization is that we’ve found a niche in advertising for the outdoor furniture industry.
Gensun Casual Living was one of our earliest clients. We created their current website back in 2009 and we’ve been regularly creating print advertisements, managing their media buy and doing on-location product photography since then.
Just this year, we added another high-end outdoor furniture manufacturer to our client-base; OW Lee. Thus far we’ve been working on their 2012 product catalog, and creating some on-location product photography.
Both manufacturers are targeted at the high-end of the market, focused primarily on quality and style. Both have headquarters in Ontario, CA — just a few miles from our agency’s offices in Rancho Cucamonga — and both companies are privately-owned by families who care deeply about the products they produce.
Even though the Gensun and OW Lee are — in some sense — direct competitors, neither one has a problem sharing an agency, and we’re thrilled to be working with both.
The results from the Marketing Association of Credit Unions (MAC) Annual Awards Competition are in – and they’re really good for Echo-Factory and Altura Credit Union. The campaign we developed for Altura’s iChecking product won a MAC Gold Award – beating out advertising campaigns for credit unions all over the country.
Ordinarily, we’d post a picture of the award but most of us at the factory haven’t seen it yet. The award is currently in transit. Yesterday, Dea and Mike flew up to San Francisco to present Altura’s iChecking campaign to the judges at the national Marketing Association of Credit Unions (MAC) conference. They’re headed back today, award in hand.
Until they return, we’re busy trying to find room for it in our jam-packed awards cabinet. But rest assured, wherever it ends up, it will be surrounded by such great awards as Mike’s “World’s Best Boss” mug and our “2009 LA Marathon Drop-outs” Plaque.
When the Intelligent Platforms division of GE, GE IP, came to us with work, we couldn’t help but get a little excited. The company creates some of the world’s most advanced surveillance technology for military and commercial aviation. Who doesn’t think that’s cool?
GE Intelligent Platforms needed help promoting the company at the SPIE Conference and Exhibitions, an international event that showcases the latest technological innovations. Not only did GE IP want to increase traffic to their booth at SPIE, they also wanted people to come to the GE Intelligent Platforms reception during the conference.
With these two goals in mind, we set to work, creating a campaign that would set them apart from all the other technology companies at the event, a campaign that would get people talking about GE IP. Instead of using a lot of copy or diagrams to talk about GE Intelligent Platforms, we created posters, an email blast and invitations, coasters and gift card holders for the reception. Our minimalist approach is already turning the heads of all the people over at GE IP, and we can’t wait to see what happens when they show off their new look at SPIE April 25 – 29.
Most people have a hard time stepping outside of their comfort zones. When it comes to advertising, companies are the same way. At Echo-Factory, we do our best work when clients give us freedom to step outside of the comfort zone. We end up creating ads that are unique, ads that get people talking and lead to big results.
The most recent case for creative freedom is our work with the city of Upland. Over the past year, we’ve worked on two major projects for the city: the Upland Farmer’s Market and the Upland Lemon Festival.
Advertising for farmer’s markets typically consists of a close-up shot of a fruit and/or vegetable along with the date, time and location of the market. These ads are safe, they tell you what you need to know but they aren’t memorable. They don’t stir up excitement. To promote the new Upland Farmer’s Market, we wanted to do something different from those fruit and vegetable images so we came up with the High Five a Farmer campaign. Through radio, television, print, direct mail, outdoor, social media and promotional giveaways, we encouraged people to support local farmers by buying food at the farmer’s market. Because the campaign emphasized the market as a community where local farmers are your friends, it made people want to go to the farmer’s market instead of a grocery store. Though the campaign was way different than the city’s past ad campaigns, Upland loved it and so did the target audience. People came out in record numbers during the market’s opening weekend in October and they’ve kept coming back ever since. This positive response is further proof that High Five a Farmer is not only creative but memorable too.
After the success of the farmer’s market, Upland asked us to help them create another memorable campaign, this time for the annual Upland Lemon Festival. Instead of giving them stock illustrations or photography of people having fun, we came up with the No Limes Allowed campaign, a campaign that focused on the lemon-lime controversy. Each ad features a smiling lemon and an unhappy lime. The lime is sad because he’s not a lemon – he knows the Upland Lemon Festival is three days where lemon is king and he’s dying to get in on the fun. Though the festival hasn’t happened yet (it’s April 29 – May 1), the ads have already generated a lot of buzz and excitement about the festival. We’re proud we got to do something different with this campaign, and more importantly, so is the client.
The best way to jumpstart your company or brand is to leap out of your comfort zone. Mix it up. If you’re used to filling your ads with copy, do a campaign that’s visually-driven. If you’ve always advertised on the radio or on TV, why not try advertising on Facebook or a little SEO? Go with a concept that’s edgy, a concept that makes you a little uncomfortable – often, these concepts are the ones people remember.