This is not a post about leaping on the bandwagon.
Technology PR, and especially B2B technology PR is thankfully not that fluffy. We have few reasons to link product X to the Olympics and, even if we did, engineers can detect tenuous marketing links from a hundred paces. Good journalists can do this from a mile off.
That’s not to say it doesn’t happen. I’ve definitely had my fair share of late nights, forced into a board room with the company’s other 15 people all trying to come up with ideas to promote a company and (barely) holding back contempt when someone suggests that we use the next Bond film (this has genuinely happened) or the World Cup without actually saying how this could be done without spending millions on advertising, or why this would even be appropriate for the client.
We all saw the negative coverage Coke, McDonald’s and other “junk food brands” got when they sponsored last year’s Olympics – my favourites were the Academy of Royal Medical Colleges calling for these companies to be banned from the games and the London Assembly tabling a motion to impose tighter health restrictions on Games advertisers.
But there are ways to use events well if you follow two simple rules.
1) Realise that PR is not advertising
Just because you put company X and James Bond in a press release or hold an event that somehow ties these together doesn’t mean it will get coverage in anywhere other than www.paste-a-turgid-tired-release.com.
Therefore choose your event wisely. Pick an event that is actually related to the customer’s business. Find examples – not just from your own company – that highlight an interesting trend relating to it. And do the hard work for a journalist… find other experts that can add to a story.
For technology PR, and especially for electronics PR where the general public is less interested in components than they are the iPhone itself, this is essential.
Anniversaries work well and