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Monthly Archives: February 2012

1)      Similar Concept, Fresh Take

With so many Social Networking Sites (SNS) developing all the time, it’s sometimes hard to keep ahead or even on track of the game. For example, I’ve signed up and tried out countless pages over the past few years of SNS proliferation – some pages I am an avid (or addicted) user of – namely Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and to an extend Google Plus, however, there are many others I tried for a while, then either abandoned or forgot about completely – namely Quora *shudders*.

What I like about Pinterest is the fresh concept it brings to the multitudes of similar SNS sites. For example, the concept of “re-pinning” is more or less exactly the same as the concept of “re-tweeting”, except with a big pretty picture of something you want to share with your followers.   

But why use it…..well that leads me to my next point…..

2)      Visual Imagery Rather Than Text

Emphasis is put on the visual quality and interest of the images posted rather than actual text. Of course there is room for description and image categorisation underneath, but it’s really the image that draws users in and makes them either want to re-pin, click through to the link, read or comment upon the image.

Visual imagery can be a powerful PR tool as it can send messages to audiences in a straightforward but interesting and timely manner. PR professionals are consistently seeking ways to best relate messages to the varying public’s of the organisation or clients they represent (hence the name “Public Relations”). The use of visual communication over written or verbal communication is therefore an interesting concept in today’s digital era when we consider that not all publics are wired to pick up and read a newspaper / news website every day, can be bothered to access the multitude of professional and personal Blogs out there, or even spend time scrolling the thousands of Tweets competing in their newsfeed on an hourly basis.

This, then, leads me onto my next point……

3)      New Communication Channel

Pinterest has the possibility therefore to tap into a whole new audience, whom before for whatever reason may not have been as easily reachable. Now, I am by no means saying that people who don’t read newspapers or blogs, or check their Tweets every hour will automatically be a user of Pinterest, but I am saying that Pinterest has the possibility as a new SNS platform to appeal to a new range of people.

For example, according to recent demographic figures:

68.2% of users are female

Over 50% of users have children

28.1% of users are middle-class

The average age demographic is 25 – 34.  

As a PR, knowing your target audience is one thing, but knowing how to successfully reach them with key messages of interest can be a whole other.

4)      Builds Communities of Common Interest

Given the above demographics then, it is not surprising that some of the most popular categories that users follow include: [Click to link]

Food and Drink

Home Decor

Kids

Pets

Travel & Places

Wedding & Events

Women’s Apparel

This of course can be tailored to the user’s choice and preference i.e. Pinner’s I follow include categories of interest such as Art, Architecture, Cars, Photography, Print and Posters, Travel & Places. This then allows me to connect and re-pin the pins (images) that specifically interest me.

This specific use of categorisation in effect allows users to build communities of common interest which can be commented and shared with their followers – a kind of ripple effect so to speak commonly found in PR practices.

5) Brand Building

This quite naturally then leads me to my fifth and final point regarding how this use of community can be successfully leveraged to build and maintain brand awareness through the creation of brand pages.

The opportunities for successful outreach are vast given the Pinterest demographics and common categories of interest (i.e. as a PR you could represent an interior design company, a travel and tourism organisation, a kids toy manufacturer, a restaurant, an artist etc) – the list is endless. How brands utilise this new platform as a form of two-way communications activity will be interesting to see – but specifically, I am intrigued to see how big brand names such as Apple, Red Bull, McDonalds, Coca-Cola etc, might intend to utilise Pinterest in relation to consumer outreach and brand reputation, i.e. new product launches, events, employees, good Corporate Social Responsibility?

Like many other SNS platforms only time will tell whether Pinterest is a keeper which can be successfully implemented in PR strategies.

For the moment however, I’m totally hooked!!

Connect with me…..

I am always happy to connect with people of similar interests – please come say Hi on Pinterest: abbeymichellepr

 

So, there has been a lot of debate recently on how to define “Public Relations” given the recent decision by the PRSA to find “A Modern Definition of Public Relations”

According to the PRSA, “[Public Relations Defined] is an initiative to modernize the definition of public relations. Through an open and collaborative effort, PRSA and its industry partners are providing a platform for public relations, marketing and communications professionals to add their voice to a new definition of public relations.’

Out of the thousands of submissions of suggested definitions, the PRSA has narrowed it down to three contenders for people to vote on:

1)      Public relations is the management function of researching, communicating and collaborating with publics to build mutually beneficial relationships.

2)      Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.

3)      Public relations is the strategic process of engagement between organizations and publics to achieve mutual understanding and realize goals.

Now forgive me for stating the obvious, but when they suggested a “Modern” definition (aka: relating to the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past), I was expecting some form of modern – “Digital Era-GenerationY-Facebooky- #TweetTweet-ConsumerBrand-Mass-Two-Way-Communication” – type of definition.

Or at least something with a little digital zing to it!

However, instead we got three re-hashed versions of traditional definitions, basically stating the same things that have always been said about PR, aka:

“Public Relations is the planned and sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics” (CIPR – UK)

“Public Relations is the management function that identifies, establishes and maintains mutually beneficial relationships between an organisation and the various publics on whom its success or failure depends” (Cutlip et al.)

Etc, etc, etc…..

Now, there is no way that I am going to attempt my own definition of PR in the Digital age, or even traditional PR for that matter, and the simple reason being because PR as an industry is too broad in scope to define or concisely contain into one neatly tied up definition with a little red ribbon on it.

However, it is precisely this immense depth and scope that makes PR fundamentally such a wonderful industry to work in! New trends and “modern” communication possibilities emerge all the time; something which has happened throughout history with hieroglyphics and carrier pigeons etc…. But, specifically in the past century or so with the birth of radio, television, internet and mobile technology, modern communication methods have all coincided with the birth and development of PR as a serious profession.

This, with no shadow of a doubt will continue through these current “modern” times and way into the future, meaning that as technology and communication methods develop, so will PR along with the rest of the Communications industry, meaning any “modern” definition will be defunct in a few years or so anyway. It is therefore due to this constant flux and endless potential that efforts to define PR as one single authoritative definition are futile.

Now, I am by no means saying that the above suggested definitions of PR are bad, because in fact they are very good in their essence of capturing the importance of planning and organisation, engagement of stakeholders, and relationship building in PR activities. However, I am merely stating that if the intention from the outset of the PRSA really was to come up with some NEW SPARKLY MODERN definition of PR, why are we still stuck with three definitions stating exactly the same thing?

So, I beg the question, has anybody got any POSTMODERN DEFINITIONS of PR up their sleeve?  

I just saw this on PR Daily and thought it was not only hilarious, but highly useful and correct.

Social Media can be a tricky thing to explain to non-digital natives, hence why I like this clever idea of explaining the world of Social Media via something that everyone understands – doughnuts!

This simple list demonstrates in a light-hearted way the many different ways social media can be used to share or state the same thing in effect….but from a different angle. This in reality of course could be anything from a media release, a feature, a piece of coverage, an interview, a video – something which an organisation might want to share on several different platforms in order to reach their broadest potential audience.

Other suggestions may include:

Twitter: I’m drinking #Wine

Facebook: I like cheesecake

LinkedIn: My skills include tea and coffee making (a skill of a particular importance for a recent graduate like me!)

Who knew that doughnuts could be so educational ;-)

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