Friday, December 5, 2008

Is it a publicity stunt or a communication opportunity?

So, I am having a late Friday meeting with a friend/client/colleague at a well known San Antonio bar, when we got to discussing public relations. "So are you good at public relations stunt?" this f/c/c asked.

"No, the truth is that the media knows when you're pulling a publicity stunt," I said. "The media will pick that up. But, if you are someone who is reliable and wants to communicate with them, then you will become someone that can generate some positive publicity."

As I was thinking about the conversation on the drive home through Friday evening traffic, I thought about David Meerman Scott's latest communications effort. David is promoting his latest book, and he came with the concept of a "world wide wave." He asked people through his blog, via his Tweet to contact him about his upcoming book, due out in March.

To some cynics, such an effort could be considered a publicity stunt, except he is using the social media stream, especially Twitter. As someone who follows David's tweets, I saw his post and read his blog.

So, because I trust David, and we have had several online conversations with him, I took the time to contact him with my photo and a request for a poster. It's because I have a relationship with him that I don't think of this as a marketing or publicity stunt. Rather, it's a communications opportunity. Through Twitter, he invited me to take part in something.

I admire him for his concept and the fact that he followed up with an email after I sent him a video clip of me. And, I appreciate the fact that when I blog about him that he takes the time to respond.

While the public relations channels has changed a little, a smart communicator realizes that it's important to have a dialog with a media person. I think that in the course of a couple of minutes that my f/c/c got this concept. Here's hoping that other younger communicators will learn to train their f/c/cs to look at public relations as an opportunity to share information instead of creating a stunt.


Albert Maruggi said...

I think David Meerman Scott's Rave premise is about getting people to buy in to his concept and book. Much like Matt, no not you Matt, this Matt has people dancing with him around the world, David has people showing their buy-in by sending him images with his poster.

David spoke to the Social Media Breakfast in the Twin Cities. where the whole room joined in a picture. Why? Beause he is one of us and visa versa. You are so right Matt, yes you Matt.

David's a class act who has gained the respect of the social media community and others learning about it around the world.

So I'd say the pictures that you and I were a part of are an endorsement.

If David tried to surf a wave while launching the book, that would be a stunt :>)

All the best!

PS - I seek out Stride gum because they sponsored Matt Harding's dance around the world - thanks Stride for believing in the human spirit.

David Meerman Scott said...

Matt and Albert - great discussions here. Thanks.

I did think long and hard about what I'm doing with the World Wide Rave posters. I had thought about some other ideas and rejected them for the poster idea.

What I came back to is exactly what you guys have said. Since I know you (and the hundreds of others who have requested posters) it is participation in an effort that people want to be a part of.

An important aspect to this is that I never insist that people take a photo or video. If they want to, great. And also note that there is a very real but very loose connection to the book "World Wide Rave" that I am promoting with this effort.

Hey, we all learn from each other.