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Beyoncé: The Anti-PR, PR Machine

In a move that stunned just about everyone, Beyoncé surprised us last Friday with the (unanticipated) release of her fifth studio album, “Beyoncé” – announced in a video posted to Instagram. Free from the typical publicity machine surrounding new albums, “Beyoncé” seemed to come from the ether, straight from its star to her fans and complete with 14 songs and 17 accompanying videos. The beauty (and irony) of this unconventional “anti-PR” play is the PR success it became in only a matter of hours.

Claiming she’s “bored” with the usual processes and that “there’s so much that gets between the music, the artist and the fans,” Bey uses a longer mini-documentary style video on her Facebook page to talk directly to supporters about her vision for the album. This genius approach is of course its own new PR strategy in and of itself, proving that immediacy and authenticity win the day in our “always-on” world. The numbers seem to agree. The album sparked 1.2 million tweets in the first 12 hours with influencers like Katy Perry weighing in: “Don’t talk to me today unless it’s about @Beyoncé THANX.” The team at DGC seems to agree too; we had listened to all 14 tracks twice by 11 a.m. on Friday (and an encore performance during Wine-O Friday later that day).

So what can brands take away from Beyoncé’s PR homerun?

  1. Be Real. By telling fans about the project directly in a video, showcasing home video footage and releasing all songs and videos in one fell swoop, Beyoncé sends the message that – even though she’s been a global pop sensation since her teen years – she’s still the everywoman. Just like you, she remembers the first time she saw MJ’s Thriller video. Just like you, she made goofy home movies with her besties. And just like you, she uses social media as her primary form of communication these days. Brands should take note; we live in an age of authenticity and consumers demand transparency.
  2. Give ‘em something to talk about. By not talking about the album via countless blogs and talk show interviews, Beyoncé balked the unconventional and gave people more to talk about. Successful brands keep people coming back by constantly giving their customers something new, something fresh. Something unexpected.
  1. Embrace multi-media. Beyoncé’s idea to create an album that goes beyond audio and includes a complementary visual experience is spot on. Not only does it position Beyoncé as a true artist — someone capable of creating a fully-baked concept — it gives fans more media elements to share, like and tweet. Content isn’t exactly a novel idea, but it’s important that the content entertains, enlightens or informs.

Rising Star Report: How Eulogy! Uses Video

Welcome to London, where the traffic is on the left, the subway is called the “tube” and the outlets—and the outlets—are different. Referring to both the pubs and plugs, aside from a few glaring cultural differences (tea is preferred to coffee, and Starbucks is slightly frowned upon) life at Eulogy!, an independent PR agency in London, isn’t too different from being at home at DGC. The office has a similar look and feel, and is filled with a bright team of Brits trying to get the best possible coverage for both B2B and consumer clients.

A few years ago, Eulogy! teamed up with Onlinefire to enhance their social media and digital offerings. One excellent feature of the partnership is the use of video, which Eulogy! employs frequently to tell their story and get messages across concisely and creatively. Check out Eulogy’s Dave Macnamara, Senior Creative Account Executive, above with more on using video.

Grab a Hold of the Vine for Your PR

It’s been nearly five months since Vine was introduced as a free iOS app and since then it’s become one of the most downloaded applications in the Apple App Store. Vine, introduced by Twitter in 2012, enables users to create and post six-second video clips that can be shared on social networking channels like Twitter and Facebook. vine-app-hed-2013

The very idea of video creation is all about storytelling, while connecting and engaging viewers. But can you do that in only six seconds? Tribeca Film Festival founder Robert De Niro thinks so. In April, De Niro was asked about the effect of technology on the festival and filmmaking itself. He responded by calling Vine an “interesting thing,” and said:

“Six seconds of beginning, middle and end. I was just trying to time on my iPhone six seconds just to get a sense of what that is. It can actually be a long time.”

  • Vine in the News: News outlets are getting in the Vine action, too. In February, Tulin Saloglu, a columnist for Al-Monitor and a New York Times contributor, successfully used Vine to capture terrorist attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey. By posting the videos to her @turkeypulse Twitter feed, Daloglu’s films were one of the first attempts to use Vine for journalism purposes.
  • Vine + RyGos: Given Vine’s short form, its success in the world of memes is no surprise. Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal went viral last week, propelling creator Ryan McHenry’s following on Vine from eight followers to more than 15,000 (McHenry also has nearly 4.000 followers on Twitter now—we’re curious to know what the figure was before #RGWEHC hit) and no doubt sparking ongoing spoon torment for RyGos.
  • Vine in the White House: Vine is also becoming political. On April 22, the White House joined the bandwagon, publishing its first Vine video through its official Twitter account by announcing the annual White House Science Fair.

As the app continues to gain momentum, we at DGC are cognizant of the need to begin leveraging Vine with our clients. When pitching media, Vine can be used to raise awareness of pending news in a fun, viral way—you can develop Vine videos to tease hints of potential news announcements to get media buzzing before a big launch. Since Vine only allows for six seconds of recorded footage, it caters to us PR pros looking to get a message across quickly and succinctly.

Vine can also help with clients’ social media channels like Twitter. For your next social contest, consider asking users to submit a Vine video, allowing you to grow your clients’ following by leveraging new and existing hashtags. You can even think about distributing a social media release with Vine videos embedded to give the campaign wider exposure and drive traffic.

Do you have more ideas on how Vine can be used by the PR industry? Let us know in the comments below!

Tech-Talk: Sh*t People Do To Make a Good YouTube Video

Last week, YouTube announced that the website now streams 4 billion online videos every day, and has nearly 60 hours Imageof video uploaded per minute. That’s a lot of streaming and uploading.

After we recovered from the shock of this news, we realized this was the perfect time to look at what makes a good video. What are people watching and why? How do you get 4 billion or even just 400 eyes on your video?

From a PR perspective, it’s not just about being funny, outlandish or controversial; you have to deliver interesting content that your target audience is going to find stimulating enough to pass along.  Keeping true to your brand and your mission is going to help you meet the right people on YouTube and other video sites.

With that in mind, here are a few tips for going viral:

  • Timing: Do unto others as you want done unto you.  While many will urge you not to make a video more than 60-90 seconds (and we generally agree with that), there is value in longer videos–with the right content and the right format. So, instead of a steadfast rule of numbers, ask yourself “Would I watch more than a minute of my video?” If you and four other people can truly answer “yes,” then spread your wings. If you can’t, keep it short and sweet.
  • Objectives: Decide on your audience before setting sail. Determine what you want from each video. You may want to illustrate thought leadership when you’re targeting reporters or specific businesses, or maybe you’re trying to target potential new employees. Each of these scenarios is going to require a different format and unique content. Identifying your audience for each video in advance will set you up for success.
  • Presentation: There are a few ways to present your video. You wouldn’t go to the beach in a suit and tie, and you wouldn’t walk into the boardroom in a bathing suit. “Down and dirty” might be great for showcasing your office environment. Polished and produced may be a better fit for a video in which you’re providing top tips to existing or potential clients. You have to determine your style in relation to your audience. 
  • Cross-Pollinate: You can make the most intelligent, creative, engaging video, but that will all go to waste unless you make sure people know about it. YouTube is a great network, but most people watch videos that other people have shared with them. Post your video on YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, send out an email or even create a monthly newsletter. Your video will only gain traction if you start spreading it.

YouTube and video continue to grow as mediums of content distribution and it’s important that businesses and companies understand how to reach their audiences–no matter who they are.

For more insight on how to use YouTube for business, check out this Business Insider post and this GigaOm post from 2009. Although it is three years old, this post is still one of the best sources of information on how companies can most effectively use YouTube.

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