The marketing and PR world is abuzz over the Super Bowl commercials – the annual attempt to convert millions of customers with a 30-second spot and, if not full conversions, at least get them talking about you. What can professional service firms take away from this (because your home “before” and “after” hiring an accountant just isn’t that funny)? Listen up!
Yes, that was the point. Listen.
- Volkswagen builds a campaign on the kid dressed as Darth Vader; releases it to its 25 – 45 demographic (parents, in particular) via social media in advance; gets them talking; listens in; airs the ad during the Super Bowl to living rooms full of “check-this-one-out, I-saw-it-on-Facebook” fans; and racks up the “positive impressions” in print and social media after the game.
- Compare this to the backlash (buzz doesn’t really apply here) against Groupon and its commercial. Who was the target audience? Was there a survey, focus group or other exploration of the Tibetan ad concept? Is there enough widespread knowledge of Groupon’s cause-focused roots to pull this sort of satire off? And when listening to the reactions that suggest the ad fell flat, Groupon again misses the mark with an “explanation” of the ad concept and why it’s supposed to work, rather than apologizing to those offended. They just don’t seem to be listening.
No, not all PR is not good PR – especially if it provokes conversations with words like “boycott.” Providing professional services is about using one’s specialized expertise for the benefit of paying clients. If you don’t know what benefit they’re after, how are you going to successfully deliver service? It’s not enough that you understand where you’re coming from, all the good of which you’re capable, and who you are. It’s about the clients. So listen up.