Search This Blog

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Digital Media - Class meets Career


Digital media has been something which I've been extremely interested in. Mainly because it's fun, it's interactive, helps you connect and is in fact, quite practical.  I've worked for a tech company where it was necessary for me to incorporate digital media in my daily work routine. We used Google docs for almost everything - from inter-office brainstorming sessions (Delhi-Ann Arbour-California) to planning the next team offsite. We all had our calendars linked and you could view anyone's calendar in the office - extremely helpful when we had to schedule meetings. Google Analytics was something I was trained for as a part of my job and I,  in my completely unbiased opinion, believe that it's one of the best analytics softwares out there. It helps you track your website data - who's clicking, what keywords are being used, you can set golas and funnels to see if there's a certain pattern in which your website is being viewed and many more other extremely helpful features.

This is the more serious stuff. I suppose my generation was, or I should say, is, the part of the social media revolution. I remember my first social networking account - Hi5, and then there was Orkut (developed by Google, mostly popular in India and Brazil!) and then came Facebook and Twitter. Facebook still happens to be one of my favorite means of entertainment. I'm not extremely active but I do like to read what other people have been posting. I think I created a twitter account the day I heard about it, which was quite a while back. But then, I deleted it in a few days. For me, it was like facebook, but only with status messages...and no fun! As a part of my digital media and PR class I had to create another one and I did begin to be a bit more active on it. But I'm still on a huge twitter fan (a future job in PR may change that view completely.) I do realise it's importance in some areas. For example, during the Japan earthquake, when all the phone lines went down, there were a huge amount of twitter updates by people in Japan, letting their friends and family know of their whereabouts. 

I'm not going to delete my account this time. I do get some interesting tid-bits of news once in a while.
One if the things I was introduced to in the digital media class and did get hooked on to is StumbleUpon, which lets you share and discover new websites with every click, depending upon your preferences which you select while creating an account. I can spend hours on StumbleUpon and not get bored. 

As a futre PR professional, I can use all of this new knowledge to my advantage. I can look for jobs using LinkedIn. Once I have a job, I can track my campaigns using Google Analytics. We can use wikis at work to create and edit any amount of content online among a group, having the ability to comment on that content as it's being edited. Since there is a huge amount of population which is online, we can target them using facebook, twitter, youtube and so on. Apart from networking, a lot of information can be shared through blogs. What I really learnt in this class is not really about the existence of these websites and softwares but their application in the real world. 

Fashion PR

The world of fashion public relations has always fascinated me. Mainly because it's an amalgamation of something I love -fashion, and something I wish to be great at someday - PR! This is why, when asked to create a video for my digital media class, I decided to make a video on something that explains what fashion PR is about what it takes to get in.



Monday, May 2, 2011

New PR Tool: Augmented Reality

Now we’ve all played video games as kids. Today, computer graphics have become way more sophisticated and are pushing borders of virtual reality. Today, engineers and researchers are pulling graphics out of your TV screen and computers are integrating them into real-world environments. This new technology, called augmented reality, between what's real and what's computer-generated by enhancing what we see, hear, feel and smell.

Now what makes it so special in the world of public relations. Well, to start with, we’ve all seen huge billboards in most most of the major city centers. Now imagine if you could be a part of that billboard, only for a few seconds. Wouldn’t that make you feel great as a consumer. You could try on new products, have a little bit of fun and maybe even encouraged to buy that product. In simple terms, it makes a product seem more fun. More than just what it is supposed to do. And a lot of consumers today want that extra element (which is why all the hype about limited edition!!) And this is exactly what the Adidas AR campaign has done. I’m not too sure how many will buy. But if definitely creates the hype! 

Another extremely interesting example of an augmented reality campaign is the Tissot campaign that I came across, while doing the research for this blog. It has been developed by  virtual reality specialist Holition and lets wearers experiment with the touch-screen features of Tissot's watches. Videos showcasing the features of each watch are displayed. Lynne Murray, brand director at Holition, said: "With the rapid growth in online retail and customer-buying habits becoming increasingly more complex, brands have to work harder to secure sales. Combining Holition's intuitive understanding of retail with augmented reality, this technology platform seamlessly integrates into a brands business strategy, enabling brands to experience a higher level of consumer engagement with their product."

Personally, I think the idea is extremely clever and novel and makes the best use of print and digital, taking social media to that next level. Also, it’s a brilliant way for a company/brand to interact with a customer or a potential customer. 

There are various ways how augmented reality can make an influence in PR campaigns. With the help of augmented reality once can engage people with the PR campaign and possibly see the public pay more attention to the campaign when interacting with whatever the augmented reality is. This will help expose not only the message of the campaign but also that of a brand/product. It is also seen as to be quite fun as it takes the user into the virtual world where there is more information to grasp.

Also, adding the influence of social networking it makes it more available to share with friends. This consequently will lead to more people getting involved in the campaign and brand awareness rising to a great extent.  Just to recap with augmented reality brands will be able communicate with their key publics much easier and with more creativity.  I believe that it will become a great tool for many organisations in the future as a tool to use to send out key messages and help communicate with key publics.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Social Activism 2.0

Social activism, today, has been redefined by the new tools of social media. While surfing the web, looking for ideas for my new blog-post, I came across an article a friend of mine had posted on her facebook wall. It was about a gay couple -  Jonathan Williams and James Bull  who were asked to leave from a pub in London for kissing in public. Williams then put up a post on twitter and it was soon retweeted over and over again by several supporters. 

"Seven years in London & I've never been made to feel bad for being gay. 45 min ago the John Snow pub, W1F had me removed for kissing a date."

Soon, it had garnered enough public support to schedule two kiss-ins at the John Snow pub. Around 300 people attended the kiss-in event which was much publicised on facebook where mass co-ordinated kissing took place. People from all over London came to support a worthy cause. And this entire event was borne out of and created by using digital media. It's amazing to see how social media gives an active voice to people and help gain critical mass. It facilitates sustained collaboration around a shared idea, over a period of time, crossing borders. Social media networks cross technologies and have immediate impact that gives it urgency, makes it personal and allows for individual attention in a mass intervention. 

This is a perfect example of activism going 2.0. What started as a simple tweet became a massive social event forcing a pub to close it’s doors and lose out on an evening’s worth of sales. Where activists were once defined by their causes, they are now defined by their tools. Facebook and twitter warriors go online to push for change. 
These social media tools have always been used for relationship building, which is an intrinsic part of public relations. Most people have strong ties with a small group of friends, colleagues and family within their social networks. And these networks are a great tool for spreading the right message. Social media allows individuals to share experiences and social activism in a quick, and almost effortless way between their online social circle. As John Cass has rightly stated, "strong relationships can exist because of social media, and existing relationships can be stronger because of social media. And it is possible to activate and motivate a small community using social media."

I understand that social networks cannot solve all the problems in the world, nor can they be the only means to spread awareness but they definitely allows NGOs, activists and governments programs to harness our enthusiasm. They enable people from all over the world, come together, to support a cause they believe in. There have always been traditional forms of protest and social activism but digital media and social networks have definitely empowered more people to be a part of what they really believe in.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Flash-mobs - Appealing to the masses

Imagine walking down the street, going about your daily business or getting off an airplane after  a 15 hour non-stop journey and suddenly the person standing next to you starts singing or dancing and other people join in. The next thing you know, you’re absorbed in the sheer magic of that moment. You are that moment.

Let’s make it a little boring now. Let’s talk business. To make a customer or a potential customer feel that way is any PR/marketing practitioner’s dream. And we see it happening. The current T-Mobile advert (designed and executed by Saatchi & Saatchi) running across all major TV stations has made a lot of organisations sit up and take notice of the incredible impact of this social media phenomenon- flashmobs. 

I first came across flash-mobs while looking for a Michael Jackson tribute video. And the fact that this could be used as a marketing strategy definitely crossed my mind. So what exactly is a flashmob. According to the  Oxford Dictionary, which has included this term recently, a flash-mob is “a public gathering of complete strangers, organised via the Internet or mobile phones that perform a pointless act and then disperse again.” A lot  of advertising agencies are using this phenomenon to create and garner interest in existing products/services. A flash mob incorporates almost all forms of social media. It's shared on facebook, available on youtube, made popular by tweets. Hence, it's become an intrinsic part of digital advertising and public relations. Another great video I came across while doing my research was the Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport (Beirut Duty Free)  Dabke / Hip-Hop flash mob.

How effective do we think these flashmobs and why have they become so popular.  I believe it’s a simple psychological effect on the psyche. It’s basically  appealing to the emotions on people. Advocates of emotional appeals argue that effective communication connects at a visceral level. An emotional appeal is related to an individual’s psychological and social needs for purchasing certain products and services. Many consumers are emotionally motivated or driven to make certain purchases. Advertisers aim to cash in on the emotional appeal and this works particularly well where there is not much difference between multiple product brands and its offerings. 

The flash mob effect can take us somewhere almost magical — a place in which out of the random movement of individuals in a crowd, something beautiful and co-ordinated and ordered emerges; a place where we can share something with total strangers, without cost or harm to ourselves or to anyone else for a few short minutes before the song is over and the performers disperse. And even though some of these flash mobs are advertisers’ tools designed to encourage us to buy some product or other, you can see from the expressions on the faces of the performers and the crowd that that’s not what they are experiencing; they’re feeling delight and pleasure and a sense of being a part of something. And I think there’s a gift for us all in that.

Being able to make a consumer feel that magic is the ultimate goal of an advertising/ PR practitioner.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Google to the Rescue - People Finder App

Living in the students accommodation, I don't really have access to a TV. So I use the internet to stay in touch with the world and keep myself updated. I woke up on 11th March and turned on my laptop to check my email and facebook (my daily morning ritual.) It was actually through Facebook that I found out what had happened in Japan. My first instinct was to contact my two Japanese classmates and find out if their family and friends were alright. But this one link which was posted by one of my ex-collegues at Google struck me. It was the Google person finder.
And then I noticed that a lot of my friends who're still working with Google had posted it. I sent this link to my Japenese friends immediately. But what really struck me is how social media has evolved and come to affect our lives everyday - some days more than others! 
I did some further research on this person finder tool and found out that Google has launched similar Person Finder applications to help locate missing people during the Haiti and Christchurch earthquakes and other humanitarian crises. It’s all part of Google Crisis Response, which – as well as the Person Finder tool – offers maps, links, resources and real-time news, video and Twitter updates on the situation 
Most of the mobile networks were down, not letting people locate or contact their loved ones. However, data networks are still operating in Tokyo and many have turned to social networks or VOIP services like Skype to contact their families and friends.
I know this blog is for a class. But why not use social media to spread the word. This is why social media exists - to connect and communicate. Please share this link with your friends and family; facebook it or tweet it. Google is offering an amazing service for Japan. Let’s be a part of it.

Sources :

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Digital PR - A Can Do OR Must Do For Brands

2.0 - That's the new buzzword in all media. Online news, magazines, blogs, social networking are all intrinsic to a PR campaign today. The sheer size of the online market, growth potential, and the global reach make it a must for any PR professional. But it also depends on the brand and the psychographics and the demographics involved. Again, TA becoming one of the most influencing factors for an overall brand campaign. 
It is essential to be 'connected' in today's world and make one's presence felt. But it has to be handled with much care, from the start to finish. As a standalone, digital PR might not be able to add value (again, brand dependent). However, once it's integrated with social, search and overall digital marketing strategy, it has the potential to push the brand in the right direction.

Image Source -