Using the World Wide Web in Public Relations
By Tiffany Engleman
Some might say the growth of the World Wide Web can be attributed to browsers such as Internet Explorer and Google. Both browsers have made information rapidly accessible to billions of people across the globe. Not only do people have a vast array of information to discover on the web, the web is also extremely attractive to public relations professionals because of the ease of distributing messages to a wide variety of audiences. Public relations professionals can easily exploit the power of the web to their advantage, especially when communicating with target audiences. There are several appealing features the web possesses to public relations personnel.
- Interactivity: One of the best features of the web is the interactivity that it provides for viewers. Viewers have the ability to question products and services, download useful information, and provide feedback to organizations.
- Updates: Information can be updated swiftly, without the hassle of reprinting materials such as brochures. This feature could come in handy, especially in a crisis situation.
- Space: Space for information is infinite on the web. An organization can post as much material as necessary to communicate effectively with an audience.
- 24/7: Anyone can access the materials posted by public relations professionals virtually anytime they need, which is an incredible advantage of this resource.
Although these are just four of the advantages that the Web offers for everyone, especially people working in the field of public relations. The growth of the World Wide Web offers astounding resources for public relations professionals. The Web makes communicating with target audiences an extremely easy task and the PR industry can easily benefit from this resource to extend their organizations reach to a variety of people on a much broader scale.
Source: Wilcox, Dennis L., Cameron, Glen T., Reber, Bryan H., & Shin, Jae-Hwa. (2011). Think Public Relations. Boston, Massachusetts: Pearson Education.
I must admit that I am probably considered a late adopter of QR (quick response) codes within the advertising, marketing and public relations professional arena. While I have been an owner of a smartphone for several years, it wasn’t until recently that I downloaded an application onto my smartphone to read QR codes.
What I discovered about QR codes, from my personal experience, and to borrow a line from Shakespeare is that they are “much ado about nothing.”
There are some real problems with scanning a QR code with a smartphone and getting valuable feedback or in some cases getting feedback at all. As a consumer, I prefer to shop in large discount stores such as Costco, Sam’s Club, Target and Walmart. Often times, the reception I get within these large ‘warehouse’ stores is poor if existent at all. Therefore, the QR code means little to my shopping experience within these walls.
Freeway billboards often have a QR code in the advertisement. I have never been quick enough to complete a scan as I flash by a billboard. Plus, I like to keep my eyes on the road when I am driving so scanning a QR code from the freeway is not a priority.
Then I have received a QR code within a text advertising message or e-newsletter on my smartphone. Hmmm? How is my smartphone supposed to read that code?
Having read that QR codes have been overwhelming adopted by various European markets, as well as Japan and South Korea, I thought I’d read some solid research on the topic.
I downloaded Russell Herder’s* findings on a research project they published in August, 2011 titled: The QR Question, Are QR Codes an effective marking tool for engaging customers?
Noted within the paper is that QR codes have actually been around since 1994. QR codes were created in Japan by a subsidiary of Toyota and were originally designed to track auto parts. No wonder Japan has a high usage rate of QR codes within the consumer market. Their use of QR codes has been evolving for seventeen years.
Some of their key findings include (and I quote the paper):
- “A surprising number of consumers demonstrate a significant lack of understanding as to what QR codes are and how they work.”
- “Seventy-two percent of consumers say they have seen a QR codes, yet nearly three in 10 do not know what it is. Further, nearly one in five people who regularly go online via their mobile phone do not know what a QR code is.”
- “Nearly four in five of those who have scanned a QR code have done so more than once. Perhaps more importantly, however, only 31 percent report that what they receive in return is worth their time.”
These finding support my personal experience with QR codes. That is certainly not to say that QR codes are going to have a very short life span within the U.S. marketing and advertising world. But it does seem obvious that if QR codes are going to find a solid and long-lasting spot within the advertising and marketing world, then the information provided by the QR code must have high value to the consumer.
By Peg McRoy Glover
*Russell Herder is a twenty-eight year old creative, strategic and research marketing firm based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The report The QR Question, Are QR codes an effective marketing tool for engaging customers? is part of their Thought Leader series.
Not every city can pull off a Rome or a Paris—that is—not every city can speak for itself.
But everyone is City Selling. The juxtaposition of centuries of art, architecture and natural beauty makes these cultural capitals come alive with personality and flavor. With hundreds of years of promotion already behind them, they are at the forefront of the race when it comes to vacation destinations. Faced against such tough competition out there, how can a travel marketer put his own location on the map?
Just because a city, town, or village does not boast a Fontana di Trevi or the Mona Lisa does not mean that it is not worth visiting; destinations are popular for a variety of reasons. The French-speaking Swiss town of Montreux, for example, draws thousands of spectators with its annual jazz festival. Eastern European cities such as Budapest and Karlovy Vary have long been renowned for their thermal baths. And across the pond, many tourists flock to the United States each year just to cruise along the “Ole’ 66.” So even the smallest things can be of great interest to people: a concert, a spa, or even a mere road.
→ continue reading
In today’s slam-it-together world where everybody wants everything ‘right now’ – and most likely using Susie at the front desk for their low end marketing needs – many not only turn to Suzy but also turn to clip art.
Clip, when used properly, can achieve the ‘professional’ look you are striving for. However, many companies jump off the deep end, utilizing free clip art they found online. That does their brand more harm than good. There are nice clip art illustrations, but there are also (more) horrendous choices.
If your marketing piece has any length and you are trying to carry a clip art ‘look/feel’ theme throughout….good luck to you. You may find one or two complimentary → continue reading
FREE (PART 1)
This is a 4 part series on designing and marketing with the word Free.
I was working with a resort in the timeshare industry, and the marketing team asked my partner and me to create a high-end ad that would drive their customers to buy timeshares. They were particular about who they were selling to because of the cost involved. They were also giving away free Disney passes and a hotel stay. → continue reading
Social Media giant, Facebook dished out 346 billion display ads in the first quarter of 2011, accounting for about a third (31.2%) of the total display market, effectively doubling its numbers from the same period last year. Yahoo ranked a distant second (10%), followed by Microsoft (4.8%). Google has a paltry share of 2.5% of the market share in this market. So what is driving this growth? → continue reading
If you are about to take the social media plunge for marketing your business, don’t just take a leap of faith and jump into the deep end. There are several things you should keep in mind, whether you are using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Flickr, as you develop your social media marketing strategy.
- create a measurable strategy so you can gauge the impact it has on your business.
- post your professional photo as your profile picture. → continue reading