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In the last 5 years, PR is different - and radically. No more is the discipline just a matter of calling your favourite editors and placing stories strategically for the clients (although we still do this) or writing the world's pithiest pr release (we still do that too), content-rich copy is increasingly valuable.

PR today - while still harnessing media connections and contacting creative writing skills - is all about understanding how, where and when your client's demographic is sourcing its communications, and odds are, a great some of it is going on online. Making the most of digital space to talk about, and even create your news, breathes life into your brand and can leverage phenomenal PR opportunities for the first time. The Ford Fiesta Movement campaign supplies a perfect just to illustrate.

Ford was keen to call attention to its small car market using its new offering in the usa, the Fiesta. Rather than relying solely on traditional ad campaigns. Ford looked at social networking to produce an undercurrent. Instead of appealing to the classic early adopters (the people who behave as influencers throughout us), they set their sights on the very specific group - consumers they knew could be enthusiastic about the merchandise.

To charge the campaign with 'glamour, excitement and oddity,' Ford searched for and gave (for six months) a Fiesta to 100 twenty-something YouTubers, who have been inspired to craft a real narrative video by highlighting everyday situations. These 'brand ambassadors used their new cars to provide Meals on Wheels, take treats towards the National Guard, wrestle alligators, elope, and usually live their interesting lives - all the while posting on social networking sites, such as YouTube, Flickr, Facebook and Twitter.


The campaign was a huge success, with Fiesta receiving 6.5 million YouTube views and 50,000 requests for details about the vehicle - virtually none from individuals who already had a Ford within the driveway. Most significantly, Ford sold 10,000 units within the first six times of sales, all for a fraction of what it might have cost to run a national TV campaign. Concluded Jim Farley Jr, Ford VP of Global Marketing: "I want customers to tell our story. That's what digital indicates us - how to earn cred among consumers."

Thanks for visiting the current face of PR - spreading your message as far so that as wide as you can, while still influencing your core demographic having a 'call to action' or a changed perception about your client. Without doubt, modern PR tactics still insist that you have a deep understanding of the media, strong writing talent, excellent communication skills, the opportunity to think critically along with a strategic allegiance to some brand's marketing goals and objectives.

But today's PR professionals also need to harness the social digital arena using the ability, flexibility and agility to broaden the scope of influence and increase sales because of its clients.

This will not only include the most popular social media channels, for example Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogging, but the emerging channels, for example Pinterest, Flickr, Google+ and whatever else comes along. So whether recommending and managing one social media platform or seven, it needs to be done with purpose, strategically aligning using the logo and its strategic business plans and goals.

In short, it's not only establishing a Facebook page for any client just to say they have one, but determining in which the brand's audiences hang out; words, what sort of content will engage them in conversation, how to use and integrate the channels, how to manage those activities and who is empowered to make decisions. And while measure of success means numbers of followers, shares and video views, this is not enough. Metrics should include awareness, click-through rates, sentiment, calls to action, enquiries, comments and resultant bookings and purchasers.

Posted Jan 05, 2013 at 3:21pm