Transformation Influencers: Rust-Oleum’s 1,000 Projects Campaign

December 3rd, 2014
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There are more than 100 million searches each month on “how to” do something. Rust-Oleum, a nearly 100 year-old company, came to the realization that people aren’t really passionate about products as much as they want to change and improve their living spaces, creating something beautiful that they can enjoy.

Photo: Pinterest Screenshot

Photo: Pinterest Screenshot

With the insight that people want to improve and/or change what they love, Rust-Oleum (along with its agencies) set out to create 1,000 compelling projects to serve as inspiration and demonstration to consumers. Leveraging paid media and using data driven marketing to share a transformation story through images and video, they empowered bloggers and every day influencers to share their own inspiration stories, in turn driving awareness and a new excitement—a re-introduction of sorts.

Lisa Bialecki, Senior Director, Integrated Communications at Rust-Oleum, shared their journey with attendees of PRSA St. Louis’ recent Digital Communications Summit.

They conducted fast data analysis to identify exactly what people are searching for and where they’re looking to find this information. Using this research data, they created a blueprint of projects that they needed to create and feature—for example, 14% of the project would be devoted to the garden tackling things like planters, fences and stones, while 5% would be devoted to garage revamping items such as cabinets, hardware, organizers and the garage floor.

Their strategy included media partners, consumers, professionals and brand projects. Rust-Oleum created “an army of project enthusiasts,” Bialecki said, leveraging volumes of content–using print, blogs, web, video, Facebook and Pinterest. They also hyper-targeted banner ads to their audiences and created a new website for project inspirations with a user forum section—creating a community.

But it wasn’t just all traditional print, social media and digital. Rust-Oleum hosted DIY conferences. They held multiple blogger innovation summits in an effort to generate excitement for these bloggers to write about new products. One such summit included 18 highly influential DIY bloggers (from 15 key blogs) over a three-day period. During the summit, they took them on a manufacturing plant tour, a corporate headquarters breakfast and tour which included a marketing studio “hands-on” session. Through these “in real life” events, they were able to build a stronger awareness of new products, strengthen existing and build new blogger relationships.

This integrated PR campaign not only supported Rust-Oleum’s retail marketing but has resulted in 250 million project impressions to date and 3 million project engagements. Pinterest has become their number two driver to the website. Most importantly, unit sales are up 40% year-over-year. This is a great example of PR, marketing, advertising, digital and social successfully working together!

Maintaining Authenticity and Substance in Your PR Efforts

November 3rd, 2014
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BurrellesLuce PR Public Relations Authenticity Substance Media MOnitoring PR Software press clipping Great public relations and marketing doesn’t come down to the slickest campaign or the catchiest slogan; as most pros know, it’s about complicated, intangible goals that take long-term cultivation and determined implementation. Two of those things? Substance and authenticity.

On Friday, PRNewser ran two interesting posts. The first, entitled “The 20 Most ‘Authentic’ Brands in the U.S. (and Why),” surveyed people on the brands they perceived as most “authentic.” The catch is, those conducting the survey didn’t define “authentic;” instead they left the definition wide open. The most consistent finding about authenticity, though, was that consumers – 87 percent of those polled – say it’s important that brands “act with integrity at all times.”

So while it can be a great and noble goal to strive for, say, innovation, only 72 percent of consumers said that innovation was necessary to being authentic.

Topping the list, somewhat surprisingly, was WalMart, followed by Starbucks, Amazon, Apple, and Target.

Brands considered “authentic” were not necessarily popular – Chase Bank and AT&T made the list, but GE did not. Instead, authenticity came from people knowing what they’re getting and brands being transparent about what goes into their products. The survey is a great reminder that people generally appreciate being spoken to like adults – being forthright and sincere, especially in a crisis situation, is far better PR than trying to bury one’s head in the sand or obfuscating facts and findings.

Later in the afternoon, PRNewser ran “B2B Clients to Firms: ‘Stop Marketing to Me!’” which shared findings from a survey from The Economist which showed that in B2B marketing, people want more substance and emotional appeal. PRNewser interviewed Ted Birkhahn of Peppercomm for his take, and he defined “substance” thusly:

Substance refers to content that adds tangible value to the audience and typically incorporates one or more of the following criteria:

1. It provides a new and credible angle or point-of-view on an issue that is topical or material to a client’s business.

2. It offers counsel and new ideas to tackle well known challenges the audience is facing.

3. It makes the executive and/or their company smarter about complex issues facing their business, industry, etc.

4. It entertains, when written in a storytelling manner that is painless to consume.

That consumers want substance is a way of saying they want more meaning – they want content that will help them do something or change something, not content that fills a social media feed for the sake of being filled. So here are some tips for being authentic and substantive:

Define your values. You can only stay true to your brand if you know what you values are in the first place. Define them and stick to them throughout all your campaigns.

Define and stick to your voice. Defining your voice goes beyond just deciding if you’re going to be snarky or sweet. It means defining your role in relation to your consumers, and then deciding how that role relates to them.

Listen to what your audience is saying. Listen to the conversations your audience is having around and aside from your brand. What do they want? What information are they not getting, or what did they react will to?

Be transparent. Especially this day in age, glossing things over or pretending they didn’t happen just doesn’t fly. In fact, it just makes it worse. Be straightforward and acknowledge incidents, snafus, or dissatisfactions. It will give your image much more long-term positivity when people know you’re willing to treat them like equals.

In this supersaturated content world, it’s hard to cut through the noise. But the best way to do that is to focus your brand voice around authenticity, substance, and meaning, and what your customers need. How do you keep your brand authentic and substantive?

Build a Framework for Better PR Measurement

October 30th, 2014
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Build Framework Better PR Measurement BurrellesLuce Media Measurement PR Software Public Relations media monitoring press clipping

flickr user Markus Grossalber under CC BY

by Sharon Miller

Showing the impact of your PR strategy is perhaps the most vital aspect of proving the effectiveness of your campaigns and growing your future public relations strategies, but it’s not easy to determine which data is important and which analytics you should focus on. At this year’s PRSA International Conference, I attended a session about just this issue. The day’s experts were Jeni Chapman, US managing director of Gorkana; Sparky Zivin, director at Brunswick Group; and Elizabeth Stoltz, senior research associate at Ketchum.

The panelists stressed that the industry-level goal is to build frameworks, akin to the Barcelona Principles. The advocate abandoning silos and having PR and marketing teams work together to share and talk about their plans and objectives.

As PR pros, it can be difficult to determine what conversations you should listen to, as there’s a lot of noise out there. The panelists suggest getting rid of the noise and focusing on quality. And getting quality in your data is crucial, as the AMEC International Business Insights Survey showed that 67 percent of clients request a clear financial ROI.

The importance of a framework is twofold: first, it helps define your PR activity with content creation, traditional media, social media, influencers, stakeholders, and events. It also helps you measure intermediary effects like audience reach, impressions, and number of articles.

The panelists presented a case study of an Aquafresh campaign, in which the Tooth Fairy left her calling card, or a note in a box for a child who lost a tooth. There was a two-minute song that incentivized brushing teeth, and the length of that song was based on the American Dental Association recommendation that people brush their teeth for two minutes.

In addition to a great PR response that included Tooth Fairy inflation (higher prices for a tooth), kids also talked about how much money they received for their tooth. The measureable outcome resulted in a 2.7 percent increase in sales, and the PR team got a larger budget for marketing because the management saw how PR drives noise.

Panelists also presented a UNICEF case study, which showcases the steps PR pros should take to an effective, measurable campaign. UNICEF’s goal included a global strategy across their more than 100 international offices. They followed precise steps, first selecting their audience, which included youth (to inspire action), the middle class, government and corporations, and their employees, who would hopefully drive the initiative.

They defined key objectives for each audience, including reaching one billion around the world and getting them to take action and getting 50 million of them to actively engage. Next, they adapted their measurement framework to include voice, reach, engagement, brand, and message delivery. They then selected KPIs in each framework element, including quality of communications activities, quality of noise, and quality of reach.

Next, they applied tools and mechanics to measure the impact of their work, which included social media engagement, event attendance, online followers and supporters, and behavioral changes like volunteering.

With a framework like this in mind, it makes measuring your impact an easier, more precise job. And remember that though there are plenty of algorithms and automated measurement tools out there, nothing will ever replace human judgment.

What do you think are the best steps for devising and measuring an effective PR campaign?

Being the Hybrid PR Professional

October 29th, 2014
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Being Hybrid PR Professional Media Monitoring Public Relations news Clipping PR Software

The young pro panel. Photo by Tressa Robbins

The most successful public relations campaigns are cohesive, tackling traditional PR and digital and social marketing and advertising to reach targeted audience. At a session at this year’s PRSA International Conference, three young pros spoke about being the hybrid PR professional and spreading campaigns across multiple platforms.

Lauren Gray, Jonathan “JR” Rochester and Jess Noonan—all former national PRSSA officers, now members of the New Professionals PRSA section, discussed how today’s PR pro must be a hybrid and understand not only the the strengths and weaknesses of each platform, but when it’s appropriate to use which one. They talked about how the new PR pro’s skills must go beyond traditional PR and media relations to address the demand for integrated campaigns.

NOTE: See my last post on the Clorox campaign as a great example of an integrated campaign.

PR, by definition, has changed in the past 30 years, as have the skills required to do the job. This “dream team” of young professionals talked about flexibility and handling change (seemingly effortlessly) as being critical characteristics of the new PR professional. They quoted Deirdre Breakenridge, an experienced public relations professional and author of several books on the intersection of technology and public relations, who said, “Public Relations is becoming more integrated with marketing and advertising. It’s important to embrace new technology to do justice to the brand. All areas should be working together.”

To further prove the point, they showed a recent job description—pointing out that it’s not just writing press releases and pitching stories to the media, but the qualified job candidate will also need to have a basic understanding of business strategy, be able to perform thorough research and create proposals, have strong writing skills for content creation, ethical common sense, social media acumen, as well as being able to track key metrics and provide measurement tie-backs to KPIs.

BurrellesLuce Hybrid PR Professional Public Relations PRSA Media Monitoring PR Software news clipping

It seemed to me that the one constant is that things are constantly changing in this industry, and we are its perpetual students.

 

Don’t Cry Over Ick: How Bleachable Moments Changed the Clorox Conversation

October 27th, 2014
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Bleachable Moments Clorox Conversation Tressa Robbins BurrellesLuce Ketchum Media Monitoring Press Clipping Public Relations PR Software Content Marketing

slide from presentation, Clorox & Ketchum

One of the best sessions I attended at the PRSA 2014 International Conference was on how a 100+ year-old company launched a multi-media campaign to become relevant to Millennials. Rita Gorenberg, manager of public relations and social media at The Clorox Company and Leslie Schrader, partner and director of DC Brand Marketing Practice, consumer health and wellness, at Ketchum, explained the who, what, how, and how much (outcomes/measurement) of this campaign.

Research

The target audience is what they called “newly responsible” consumers. Research showed that young parents aren’t afraid to talk about life’s messy moments. Conversations and videos were already happening online about these messes but there was no conversation about where it goes next – the cleanup phase.

The key insights that were garnered from the research were:

  • Consumers gather information online
  • Market WITH Millennials, not AT them
  • Social media is embedded in the Millennials’ life – case in point, video on YouTube where kids make a mess with flour –mom’s first instinct was to grab video and share
  • Most conversations were about the “3 P’s”—pee, poop, puke
  • Content is NOT king with Millennials—context is

Strategy

The strategy was “See mess, hear mess, speak mess.”

  • See mess: “Talk to dirty to me”
  • Hear mess: Share all things messy via “bleachable moments”
  • Speak mess: Create a language of mess, based on the “ick-speriences” of the newly responsibles

Execution

They created the “Ick-tionary, your wiki for the icky.” To do this, they sought out “ick-sperts” (influencers) mommy bloggers, daddy bloggers, comedians, in order to use popular language (not Clorox’s terms) that resonates—such as poo-nami. Language had to be genuine and authentic or it wouldn’t work.

There were other demographics, such as millennials without kids, which were targeted. “Bleachable moments” was launched from Las Vegas with people on the street video interviews filling-in the blanks “I _____ my ______ in Vegas”. They used paid media such as digital billboards and taxi cab toppers, but the on-the-ground activation of these interviews pulled in earned media as it gave the media something to talk about.

This campaign had multiple components across multi-media platforms—from traditional PR and advertising to digital and web-based application, so Ketchum worked with other agencies to ensure Clorox was getting the best of the best in each area.

Measurement

So, did it work? Yes, both internally and externally—by posting Ick-tionary terms in office bathrooms, it re-empowered employees, giving them something new to talk about. It drove social interaction – it was #1 nationwide trending on Twitter (which would’ve been a $200,000 buy). Conversation around Clorox in conjunction with “messes” and “cleanup” rose 18 percent. Online connections between Clorox and general messes increased 142 percent. Conversations around all Clorox brands increased across the board. “Bleachable moments” conversation volume increased 200 percent. Activities resulted in nearly a million page views, 12 million Twitter impressions, and 63 million media impressions. Finally, where it really counts, the brand perception shifted—a 10 percent increase in brand favorability and an 8 percent increase in purchase interest (5 percent was the goal). I’d call that a “clean” success!