As we wrap up our reading in Danny Rogers’ Campaigns That Shook the World, think back to the campaigns we’ve discussed throughout the semester. We’ve examined campaigns spanning four decades, from Margaret Thatcher’s 1978 campaign to Dove’s Real Beauty campaign.
Though each one offered unique strategies and tactics, common themes reemerged time and again. We typically start campaigns at the same place: What are we trying to achieve? Why does it matter? What are our objectives? It’s how we communicate and how we engage our audience that can change as we adapt to new technologies and the trends of the moment.
In his conclusion, Rogers states that “it would be difficult to change the world today with a campaign that didn’t understand and test the boundaries of one-to-one communication and digital sharing.” Testing boundaries. Taking risks. In public relations, we have to continually look forward if we want to remain competitive in the industry and stay engaged with our audiences. Why is it so essential as public relations pros to stay aware of industry trends, including technological advances? What are ways we can do this? And as we look ahead to the future, what trends do you see coming in the field of public relations based on your experience to date?
It’s difficult to watch from afar the devastation of recent events, including the series of hurricanes destroying homes, businesses, and cities. Checking in on friends and family who may be impacted. Praying for support and relief.
Yet in the midst of any disaster what impacts me most are the stories of people coming together: Neighbors checking on neighbors. Strangers going above and beyond to rescue those in need. Emergency responders traveling across cities and states to assist.
Humanity steps up during disasters. Unfortunately, some individuals take advantage of these situations—looting, creating false campaigns, starting rumors. Overpowering those are the people who band together to provide assistance and meet needs both short term and long term.
Public relations campaigns become a great way to get the word out on how individuals and groups can help, whether donating money, goods, time, or skills. I’ve seen several campaigns these past few weeks, including five former U.S. presidents uniting to raise funds for victims of Hurricane Harvey and nonprofit organizations like the Humane Society reminding the country how they and others help serve lost and injured animals during natural disasters. Using news media, social media, PSAs, and word of mouth, these campaigns call attention to the needs at hand and give others a means to support in a positive way.
What campaigns have you seen recently that serve the purpose of uniting people toward a cause? What kind of impact do they have? How did the campaign come to your attention? Share your thoughts!
One of my favorite campaigns from this past year was NASA’s “A Year in Space” which followed the journey of astronauts Scott Kelly (USA) and Mikhail Kornienko (Russia) for a year on board the International Space Station.
The campaign used a perfect blend of traditional and new media, including news coverage and social media—as well as Google+ Educator hangouts and resources—and culminating in a fascinating (in my humble opinion) hour-long PBS special. Whether you followed posts on Instagram or Twitter, gathered educational resources from Google+, read or viewed stories in the media, or watched on PBS, each piece reinforced NASA’s goals for the mission and for public awareness. Take a look at the links included above, and check out #YearInSpace on social. What do you think those goals were? Did you happen to see or follow any of the campaign this past year and if so, what stood out to you? Have you seen any other similar campaigns that successfully blended new and traditional media?
Strategic public relations campaigns are frequently used by nonprofits and others seeking to bring awareness and inspire action around a cause. Locally, KPCC reported yesterday on a 100-day challenge by the L.A. Homeless Services Authority to house homeless youth. To motivate increased water conservation across California, Golden State Water recently ran an #H2OMakeover contest via social media and email submissions. This summer, APU’s own Ride for Water team sought support through publicity and social media engagement. Around the world, nonprofits dedicated to providing clean, safe water are uniting around #SBG6 this week as part of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development initiative.
If you were part of the public relations teams for any of these causes, what tactic might you recommend to help further get the word out? Are there any other cause-related campaigns that have inspired you to take action? What motivated you to get involved or help spread the word?
If you followed the Olympics this summer—or any year—it’s clear that brands have a high stake in the Games and the stories told throughout. Simply Measured identified “7 Brands Winning Social Media” during the Rio Olympics. Which brand campaigns or individual stories stood out to you in the Summer Games? What captured your attention, and why? Did you notice any trends or themes among this year’s top campaigns?