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Not for profit communications

Is your brand the guy at the cocktail party everyone’s avoiding ‘cos he won’t shut up about himself?

Unbelievable conference. Big, BIG brands – Holden, McDonalds, Centrelink, Mattel, U Tube, Vegemite, John Holland Group, Media Monitors, Woolworths, Obama 4 America, Tourism Queensland….all there, at the Public Relations Institute of Australia National Conference in Brissie.  Gems of wisdom  for the picking like a ripe orchard.

Key learnings? Traditional media is not dead (although it’s not very well ) but social media is the new “water cooler” conversation. It’s deeply rooted in conversation (yes, that was an American), and is more about sociology than technology. Or as Kate Vale from U Tube says: “It’s the world’s largest focus group”. Ignore it, and you’re ignoring incredible insights about how your brand is perceived in the minds of those who matter most – your customers and stakeholders.

Listen carefully, before chatting with your customers, (but don’t just talk at them – or your brand will be like the dude at the cocktail party everyone’s ignoring because they’re so self-obsessed) and then THINK BIG. Think Obama 4 America.  Think, Tourism Queensland’s “The best job in the world” comp, where 35,000 applied to become caretaker of an island for 6 months and $150K, getting 200,000 web visits on day one, 376,000 Facebook visits – and massive sales leads.  And this was just a bite of the BIG idea – the boss had really wanted to give away an island!

Simon Talbot at Kraft acknowledged they’ve probably killed off the “name a product” competition with their isnack2 debacle.  Or was it one? Sales of both Vegemite and the quickly renamed and re-launched “Cheesybite” have gone through the roof.  Is Kraft forgiven by the consumers who lashed them via social and trad media? Maybe…but they said now  they’ve begun the “social media dance” they need to finish it. And in a humble, back to basics, engaging with families (their core customers) approach.

And if Mattel can “let go”  12 years after suing the producers of “The Barbie Song” and use it this Christmas for all of its Barbie promotions…..maybe, just maybe, we can finally let the Village People loose for us….


About Di from the Y

Dianne McDonald is Executive Manager of Communications with YMCA Australia, and a parent of two primary school aged children, one with additional needs (Asperger Syndrome). She has a strong interest in sharing life's learnings with others.


6 thoughts on “Is your brand the guy at the cocktail party everyone’s avoiding ‘cos he won’t shut up about himself?

  1. Hi Di

    Thanks for taking the time to so eloquently capture your thoughts. I look forward to hearing more, and perhaps, it is time the Village People were let loose for us.

    Glad you have come away so inspired,


    Posted by Fiona | October 27, 2009, 11:34 pm
  2. Interestingly with the huge campaigns, the online component is a great medium to engage with consumers, but isn’t the only medium to promote the campaign. The Tourism Qld campaign received a lot of TV and news coverage, as did Vegewhat?

    It’s very cool, new and strong ‘link in the chain’.

    Posted by Melanie | October 27, 2009, 11:58 pm
    • yeah, you’re right Mel. Online just part of these great campaigns – mainstream media coverage was huge for both – because at heart they had a great idea and connected with big passions (the desire to “get away”) and the public’s love for Vegemite. Apparently Google is the world’s best known brand, but Vegemite is the best loved! The guy who did the online campaign for Obama 4 America also acknowleged key to the success of that campaign was a great message (hope, change) and a great messenger (Barak Obama!). He was a disappointing presenter – I think I was expecting him to be Obama-like, but he was just the nerd who loved social media and music and who got to lead a great online team as part of a much bigger team.

      Posted by difromthey | October 28, 2009, 6:17 am
  3. Great stuff DifromtheY!

    Love the blog, good on you… keep the posts going.

    The conference sounds very interesting. Must have been great hearing about the “Best job in the world” campaign. That campaign by Tourism Queensland is one of the contenders that the Y and Trademark DM are up against for the ADMA awards next month… The Gym for Everybody campaign saw great results for the Y in 2008 and it has been recognised as a finalist – too bad we’re up against the Tourism Queensland campaign as it was indeed a rippa!

    Posted by Ben | October 28, 2009, 5:47 am
  4. Never thought I’d say this, but bring back the Village People…before the Royal Aus Navy sees the light and beats us to it.

    Posted by Olivia | October 29, 2009, 10:46 pm
  5. can’t believe I missed my chance to live on a QLD island!!! darnit!

    discovered your blog via Twitter, piggy. nice to see a bit of what you’re up to on the professional side. 🙂

    hugs from,
    dah frog

    Posted by Martha | November 12, 2009, 2:29 pm

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