For PR managers aiming for maximum launch event activity impact, a change in thinking is now required.
Previously, print coverage delivered big time for all layers of the company hierarchy. Online media has changed that forever.
A full-page story reporting on launch activity in a tabloid newspaper used to please the CEO, who coveted the brand exposure, and possibly a quote or two under his name.
The Marketing Director quite liked the (‘free’) exposure for the new jigger, complementing the brilliant new ad campaign messaging, while the PR manager quietly ticked off another of the KPIs, and waited excitedly for the monthly share-of-voice figures to quantify his or her genius.
Meanwhile, at street level, the retailer of the new device gazed lovingly at the coverage, eagerly anticipating the impending stampede of floor traffic through the sliding glass doors in the wake of the coverage, perhaps even enhanced by the urgings of an artfully-placed local advertising campaign, thought up in-house.
But the new paradigm is a lot more complex.
Print is scaling back. We are well past the beginning of the end of newsprint as a daily information staple. The rise of the tablet is the bitter pill on which print is slowly choking.
We are moving towards the ultimate end of the primacy of print. Editorial departments are shrinking fast. Increased ‘content sharing’ and cost-reduction is the new game.
The disease is not restricted to newspapers. Magazines too are showing stress cracks.
The winners are web site proprietors, who not only offer instantaneous information, but can display their previously crafted critiques indefinitely.
The downside of this is that a hastily-penned new product review in all its un-subbed glory can damn or delight forever, putting even more pressure on the launch event to be right first time and show off the product perfectly. Today’s hasty thought bubble is no longer tomorrow’s fish wrapping.
The aphorism ‘You never get a second change to make a first impression’ has never been truer.
But for the street level retailer, with less local newsprint exposure, greater reliance on the amorphous internet means a loosening of the community relationship between the retailer and the local customer base.
The marketing and PR campaign now takes on a national, borderless, one-size-fits-all approach.
For the PR professional, the task is to engage more thoroughly with the purveyors of on-line content; to win them over and treat them like the coming kings they will be.