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….