Pulse of the Profession

Friday Five: Looking to Build Buzz? It’s Time to Get Creative

Brands and companies can have innovative ideas, user-friendly websites and business models that indicate their results will show a satisfying bottom line. Business models, however, may not mean anything if no one is talking, sharing or buzzing about anything your brand has to offer. Why is this important? The simple answer: if no one knows your brand exists, then how are they supposed to support your services or purchase your product? 

In this week’s PRSA “Friday Five” post — an analysis of the week’s biggest public relations and business news and commentary — we look at five brands that took creative marketing approaches in order to build buzz around a specific aspect of their business. For some brands the buzz worthiness came in the form of new products and for others it came in the form reputation recovery. Regardless, each brand took a different approach to reaching their audience and ultimately the consumer will determine whether these marketing moves were worth it.

What Are Apple’s ‘Amazing’ New Products? (The New York Times)

This week Apple CEO Timothy D. Cook created public buzz with his comment about ‘amazing’ new products in the pipeline. Of course, these new products won’t be unveiled until later this year and on into 2014. Despite some of Apple’s recent challenges, the company has always done a good job at ramping up excitement over new products and technology. What has been the result of this buzz? Their audience (both consumers and media) continue to eat it up. There is some talk that the next product could be a reinvention of television viewing. Apple has made it clear in the past that it wasn’t a question of whether the company would expand into the television market, but a question of when. Within the line of upcoming products consumers could soon purchase a less expensive iPhone or the AppleiWatch. Knowing how Apple operates and the creative products that come from the company, the next product in line could be something completely unexpected.  

Chipotle Fakes Twitter Hack for 20th Anniversary Publicity Stunt (PRNewser)

Chipotle’s Twitter account looked like it may have been hacked this week when some seemingly random messages were tweeted out under the company’s @ChipotleTweets handle. Later on that day, the company tweeted an apology, stating that there had been a problem with their Twitter account. All of this seemed completely plausible until the company admitted that the random tweets were all part of a fake hack devised as a publicity stunt tied to a 20th anniversary promotional campaign, which included a treasure hunt called “Adventurito.” The tweets were actually clues being given to those participating in the treasure hunt. Read out the full article for tweets that came from the fake hack and to read more on Chipotle’s 20th anniversary festivities.

Spirit Promotion Playing on Weiner Sex Scandal—Again (PRDaily)

While Anthony Weiner is dealing with backlash from yet another sex scandal, Spirit Airlines took full advantage of Weiner’s online alias “Carlos Danger” and used it in a recent marketing effort. The airline is offering a promotion called “The Weiner Rises Again,” which includes a $24 discount on flights to Cancun or Los Cabos, Mexico. This is the second time that Spirit has played on the former congressman’s misconduct, offering $9 fares that were “too HARD to resist,” back when the scandal first broke. Creative stunt or risky business? We’ll have to wait and see if this new marketing campaign does anything for Spirit’s bottom line.

Hotels Are Rediscovering a High-Rise Marketing Idea (AdWeek)

Hotels are taking advantage of a new opportunity by tapping into the old idea of hotel rooftop gardens. This recent move has become so attractive that even non-hotel buildings, like the McKittrick Hotel (which is actually a warehouse), are creating hotel rooftop gardens to create better marketing buzz. Like other marketing tools, these rooftop gardens may come and go as the seasons change but based on the history of hotels this may be a successful venture. At the turn of the 19th century, all the country’s best hotels had rooftop gardens. The idea seems to be the most fitting during the summer months, when hotels may lose business because people want to be outside. As hotels find more ways to expand, there is something to be said about consumers and their desire for the “cool factor”, and hotels are finding that rooftop gardens fit into that framework.                                                                                         

Tesco’s New Ad Campaign Demonstrates a Firm Commitment to Restoring Consumer Trust (Marketing Week)

Finally, we look at a company that started 2013 with a rocky start but is now launching a new marketing campaign in hopes of a reputational recovery. Tesco was the most high-profile retailer to be affected by the horse meat scandal. After the incident, trust in the brand and confidence in its products were severely damaged. In an attempt to rebuild consumer trust and repair reputation, the company has launched a new marketing campaign, Love Every Mouthful, which highlights the authentic quality of its food offering including its fresh produce. After its television debut this Sunday, the campaign will be supported by cinema, outdoor, social media and print advertising. The video was filmed on farms and featured real Tesco staff in line with this idea of authenticity. While the marketing campaign has been slammed with criticism, it seems that the true success will be measured in the long term effects of this effort as the brand rebuilds itself.

Nicole Castro is the public relations associate at the Public Relations Society of America.

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