Socially Oriented Architecture for PRs

Just a warning that this is a longer than average post.  I try to keep it to about a page of 12 font writing but this one got away from me a little. 

To give you an overview, I start out by looking at Seth Godin’s Purple Cow book, then an example of a remarkable product generating online excitement and then a suggestion of how PR campaigns may look in the next few years.

As always, please jump in and join the conversation.


Seeing as there’s been a huge outcry in the blogosphere over Seth Godin’s decision to turn on comments, turn off comments and then tell his legion of loyal readers that they’re too stupid to comment on his blog, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to read Purple Cow by Seth Godin.

As with his blog, it’s very conversational and presented in short, easy to consume paragraphs.  One thing I don’t like about it however is the patronizing way that Seth feels the need to highlight all of his “key takeaways” by bolding them next to a symbol.  

The thing that really got me thinking though was this quote:

“Ideas that spread, win”

Thanks. For. That.  It’s akin to saying “the team that scores the most goals will win the football match”.  You could change both of the verbs in the sentence and it would mean the same thing.

Which comes first, the winning or the spreading?  It’s not clear but what is clear is that in today’s world of clutter that Seth so succinctly outlines, products, goods and services need to be designed in a way that will be eye catching to consumers and to the media.  

You may remember that I observed not all products need to be “media friendly” after reading the Al Ries book, but if they aren’t, us PRs need to work extra hard to put them in the right context for the media.

If we are to take Seth’s words for the gospel (or possibly Hath Torah) truth, then we need look no further than Nintendo’s latest offering to the Third Generation of ultra-powerful gaming platforms, the Wii.

Some of the Nintendo engineers clearly read Seth’s book and decided that their baby should be remarkable, not perfect.  

It may not be the most powerful of this year’s crop, it may not have the best graphics, games or even look, but it is certainly remarkable.  And that means both media friendly and water cooler friendly!

If you haven’t seen it, the Wii operates using a wireless wand instead of the traditional game pad.  You point the wand at the screen and use it to control your character – if playing tennis; you simply flick the wand in the air and make a serving motion.  It is very, very cool.

I’ve seen the Wii demonstrated and showcased on many TV shows that it really has no right getting on – Entertainment Tonight, usually a bastion for the sort of celebrity “news” I hate, had a long feature on it.

If you are in any doubt of the excitement that the Wii is generating, please check it out below and you’ll see just how long the lineup was for the booth at E3, the gaming Expo.

The video, hosted on YouTube, was one of the best examples of PR in social media.  Although the “linked to” button doesn’t show it, I must have seen this video linked to in at least ten popular websites.  Jaffe’s always banging on about Consumer Generated Marketing, well this is Consumer Generated PR.

Could PRs leverage the power of home made video and behind the scenes pictures for our clients? 

Probably.  Why not get the brand/store manager to shoot some amateur video for YouTube at a launch event? 

The PR agency could shoot the video on a digital camera or cell phone (see Tuesday’s post) and post it, with full transparency on YouTube/Flickr and then even blog about it.  It would be like B-roll lite – a video news release for alternate channels. 

The new and improved social media release if you like! (Sorry Todd!)

All of this could really have an important impact on the PR industry.  When I was in the UK I worked with some amazingly talented people on the BEA Systems EMEA account and our focus was primarily on publicizing BEA’s Service Oriented Architecture offering. 

Now, as a PR I give to you – Socially Oriented Architecture.  The foundation of any modern public relations campaign. 

I’m not naïve enough to say that every campaign should be solely based on social media, bypassing the MSM, but it should at least have a component designed to build (hence the architecture) communities around the client’s online presence.

I’m not saying every client should rush out, start producing podcasts, videocasts, running a blog, or initiating blogger relations but there are so many cost effective tactics that we now have in our tool boxes to connect our clients with their customers.

It’d be criminal not to use them.

One Response to Socially Oriented Architecture for PRs

  1. […] readership.  Now all you need to do to make me a happy blogger is to leave more comments – this post has had a lot of interest recently so why not comment on it […]

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