Combining Media Intelligence and Pop Culture for PR Success

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The new PR tactic of engaging pop culture in an intelligent way is gaining quite a huge support. Positioning a brand alongside people and events that attract huge amounts of coverage is quite an irresistible way to try and reap some of that excitement and buzz. An appropriately strategized move incorporating the two can lead to great results. Leading examples of such collaboration is evident in the PR Examples' list of last year's biggest success stories: An event as simple as social media users fighting over the color of "the dress" turned into a launch pad for dozens of campaigns, winning plenty of coverage.

However, such collaboration needs quite a delicate handling which might lead to unnecessary debates and controversies. Leading example is the Snickers' jokes about controversial former BBC personality Jeremy Clarkson, which though deemed a success could've gone awry easily. With Clarkson losing his role on popular TV show- Top Gear for physically attacking a producer, a PR effort of associating a brand with such a volatile personality runs the risk of staining its image. Lesson to be learnt is that good media monitoring features will pay dividends only when agencies keep a sharp eye on both trending topics and the reaction to their own efforts.

Timeliness gets victories

Today's world is marked by constant change - News cycles are moving faster every day, what is relevant today may have little importance tomorrow. With such a narrow window of relevance, to keep the interest flowing, what is necessary is creation of a real-time dashboard for media monitoring. Customizing a view to show print stories, television coverage and social posts on one particular element of the pop culture conversation can give agencies all the angles they need while the events are still relevant.

Following suit is watching individuals' profiles rise and fall – which is a similarly fast-paced experience. Getting a glimpse of the current constellation of stars and social media-anointed notable names is important but difficult. The definition of "Current" has altered with the topic remaining current or relevant only for an hour or maybe a day than a week or a month. In order for communications pros to really know the ones in the limelight, it is essential to set up a word cloud visualization that filters out top influencers.

Break down news by geography

Relevance is also tied down to geographies. Which is why sometimes, influence just doesn't translate. Another feature of good media monitoring is to segregate news as per geography or by language by adopting a completely new strategy by companies that operate across the world want to ensure their communications are relevant for each of their markets.

Track the reactions

PR is not just about throwing information across channels but also to assess the responsiveness of the same. Once a company makes its play for relevance, it's time to use media analytics to assess its own mentions. Usage of appropriate tools, such as, sentiment analysis come into play, that helps determine and analyze the reactions of people to the news as well as the extent of the coverage. Such an analysis will help PR professionals to continue with the flow or follow up even after a successful messaging or accept that stab at relevance has been rejected by the audience. Follow up steps can intelligently be planned only after one knows the response rate.

 leading example with the highly popular campaign of the U.S. government's Centers for Disease Control (CDC) bureau. The bureau, inspired by high-profile media like The Walking Dead, had invested heavily in a zombie-themed disaster preparedness PR campaign. While theinitial impact of the campaign was massive, catapulting the normally low-profile agency into viral status and trending topics across social networks on its debut, but the success of the campaign and the goal that it meant to achieve remains doubtful.

The research conducted by the CDC four years after the campaign's release suggests that the impact was mixed. A study in the National Communication Association's Communications Currents journal showed that the "zombie preparedness campaign vastly increased emergency-preparedness message exposure and created national buzz, particularly among difficult-to-reach and previously untapped audiences." However, it was also identified to have had a net negative impact on young adults taking the messaging more seriously and taking actual steps to prepare for disasters by finding more educational material, buying disaster kits or taking other precautionary steps.

Media monitoring should be ongoing, and is especially important after big announcements or campaigns that directly look for engagement from the media or an audience. In case of failure to receive hoped-for levels of coverage, rather than stopping at the same, companies should move on and work on improved means of reaching out to its target audience. Media monitoring will also help in keeping a tab on negative coverage that may adversely affect the brand. A proactive step in this regard is the best way to tackle a bad press.

Where is the conversation?

PR departments should optimally utilize media intelligence – customizing it and targeting it to any relevant topic, whether it's an industry-specific announcement or a pop cultural event to piggyback. Keeping track of current trends and monitoring control, PR departments can intelligently become part of the conversation. In the absence of such efforts to play off of current topics, the PR team may completely miss the mark and dent the brand's image.

Sources – I would like to this within the blog post.