Inspirations, deep thoughts, surprising insights, or random ideas on how social media intersects PR.
By: Samantha Kautz
Picture Source: http://tampamarketingexpert.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/groogle-searches.jpg
“Sleep, consume, sleep, consume.” According to Mark Schaefer, this is what our lives are coming to (13). We are becoming consumed by the need for consumption. We devote almost fifty percent of our daily lives, or about ten hours a day, to zoning into a television, computer, or phone screen in order to consume content. This amount of time is only increasing as the amount of available content is predicted to increase by 500 percent within the next five years (Schaefer 12). We are becoming consumption zombies. We act like lifeless beings tirelessly absorbing large quantities of information that are fed to us by numerous brands and individuals. Most of the time we do nothing with this information. We view it and throw it away because we know there will be other similar content that we need to make room for in our brains.
Our zombie-esque process of consuming information presents an extremely difficult challenge for people in the marketing, advertising, and public relations sectors. They are tirelessly producing content and we are tirelessly throwing it away. So, why is producing and consuming even worth it. We need to make both of these processes meaningful, especially since we spend so much of our daily lives doing them. As Schaefer explains, “information density is an engine for innovation” (17). He is wisely saying that this is not a road block for marketing and public relations, but this is actually an opportunity. It is an opportunity to be creative and innovative and figure out what the next best strategy is.
As I previously stated, we do not do anything with most of the information we consume, yet, every so often we come across a Facebook or blog post that is worth holding onto. At least one or two times every day I see a video of a kooky cat or a friend blogging about a new crockpot recipe that is worth sharing or liking or pinning. I find these posts more worthy than the other content I have consumed. I feel as though they deserve action.
Action. That should be the goal of marketers who create and produce content for consumers. We need to go beyond simply making the content available. We need to make the content enticing and motivational, so that people engage and interact with the information they are being given (Schaefer 17). The wanted action may be something as simple as getting the consumer to buy a product. The public relations sector is slightly different because we have the same goal, action, but the action we are seeking is more complex and on-going. Public relations wants consumers to form a relationship with a brand or an individual. Buying a product is a simple action that can be fulfilled immediately, but building a relationship is much more complex and may take time. It may take multiple attempts to convince a consumer to understand a company’s values and persuade them to become a fan of a certain brand or person.
Schaefer gives a great example of this on-going public relations process when he talks about Mirabeau, a small business that produces wine. Mirabeau produced over 200 videos before they were able to capture and maintain an overwhelming number of consumers from a video about opening a wine bottle with only a shoe (23). Their videos were never meant “to directly promote his wines or brands.” Instead, the videos were much more casual and relatable. They allowed people to tune in at their own pace and take action only when they had seen something worthy of sharing. I believe that the shoe video made people engage with the content and the brand because it had a unique quality that gave people the desire to act. They could share the video with friends and physically act by trying the trick at home.
We need content that is going to shake us out of our zombie like state and get us to engage and act on what we are seeing. Not only do we need to act in a digital sharing sense but also in a physical sense. This will take creativity and innovation on the part of the content creators, but it will also take effort and action on the part of the consumers. The creators need to give consumers a unique reason to act just like Mirabeau did with their consumers.