The New Face of Public Relations: In Practice

In my last posts we looked at the revolution in Public Relations and how the new rules of Public Relations have created new avenues for Public Relations practitioners. Today we will examine real life examples of how social media has changed the face of Public Relations and how brands now communicate with their audiences.


Cadbury has in the past used social media to introduce new products and create awareness about existing products, but they realised that 16% of their followers never saw the content on their page. To engage with their audience, they decided to build a chocolate thumbs up ( Facebook like) to celebrate 1 million followers on their Facebook page. They created a number of trailers and teasers as a build up to the event

Cadbury gained 40,000 Facebook fans and more than 350,000 people were actively involved in the campaign.

The reasons this campaign was successful:

  • They used a two way symmetrical model of communication
  • They realise that the content of their page was going unseen by 16%, they took steps to engage their fans.
  • They responded back to fans at the bottom of their video and welcomed fan involvement in the campaign.

Heinz “My grown up beanz”

Heinz used Facebook to launch its 5 beans, by launching a Facebook quiz app which told people which of the 5 beans they had grown up to become.

To encourage their fans on Facebook to participate in and share the quiz app, Heinz motivated their fans by:

1)      Picking 5 winners every hour and sending them a personalised bean with their name on it.

2)      Every fan that invited 10 people to take the quiz was sent a free goody bag

3)      Fans were given a coupon to try a free sample of the 5 beans product.

The two-week campaign resulted in the following; Heinz gained 30,000 extra Beaniez, and the quiz was shared over Facebook, twitter and blogs by over 10,000 users.

Reasons this campaign was successful:

  • They targeted their established consumer base, but aimed it to “grown-ups” stating that Heinz will cater to the tastes of both adults and children.
  • A reward system is the best motivation. Motivating the fans with personalized beans and goody bags plus a chance to try the product for free.
  • They used interactive features like the quiz to make the experience of trying a new product interesting and then giving it out for free.

In both these campaigns we can see that the brand is well managed by a Public Relations Practitioner who is not afraid to create open channels of communication. Cadbury initiated by sharing their plans to build the chocolate thumbs up, and followed through once they saw that that was what their fans wanted.

Heinz on the other hand, brought out the inner child in adults, showing them that the brand will adapt to cater to the taste of a grown up, by using interactive quizzes and free goodies.

This shows that the key to every campaign comes down to research, target audience and creativity.


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