I will be pulling out some new PR related goodies from my armoire, let the fun begin! In the wonderful world of Public Relations creative minds think up catchy slogans, reeling hooks and juicy stories. PR pros live in the whimsical world of Samantha Jones of Sex in the City and life is fabulous! Okay, maybe the latter is a bit of an exaggeration but a girl can dream, can’t she?
Daydreams aside, Public Relations does involve fun creative elements, but there has to be a solid well thought out plan to bring those elements to life! Mama did not decorate the table before stuffing the turkey, did she? (Okay, again that may be a wee bit of a bad example seeing as Mama Liz often decorates our table days in advance because all of our holidays are over the top…I will save that for another day). Bottom line tactical elements of any campaign come after the strategy!
Public Relations is about solid communication whereas its target audience understands the message and its purpose. That seems pretty straightforward, but is not always as easily carried out in real life.
This past February Indian fashion label, Fastrack was on a fast track to increase its Facebook following by 10 million in 40 days. They promised to change their name based on customer feedback once they had reached their goal. Here is their promotional video explaining the ‘challenge’.
Interesting rebranding choice if I do say so myself! In short, they did not reach their target and judging by some digging I’ve done on Facebook there was some miscommunication that took place. Let us dissect our specimen!
Side note- As a Public Relations student I am merely speculating on information I’ve found that is still readily available on the internet. I in no way want to offend anyone at Fastrack! PPS. Some of your watches and sunglasses are fab!
As mentioned the in video, boosting a following by 10 million in 40 days had never been done before. Fastrack’s call to action was simple: like our page and we’ll change our name. Clarity was needed in the following ways:
- What was the initial need for the name change? Was this even something customers would approve of?
- Under what criteria would the new name be chosen?
Throughout the 40 day challenge, Fastrack posted many updates on the status of their pending name change:
This is what they offered as possible name changes:
There were an overwhelming amount of comments saying Fastrack was just fine the way it was. Many commented that the challenge was merely an April Fools coo to attract more followers and that Fastrack would never actually change their name.
Fastrack should take Susie Parker’s Keeping it Real Social Media Tips. Every message a business sends out speaks to their brand. I realize that keeping up with a large following is essentially a full time job that may not seem viable in terms of return on investment because it is somewhat intangible. However, brand perception is EVERYTHING. Consumers have countless substitute products that are vying for their business. How a business chooses to communicate with their audience sets them apart from competitors. Had users felt acknowledged, it may have affected the outcome of their campaign. (Pssst! Fastrack, I graduate in August.)
There were also an overwhelming number of positive comments as well to keep the name as is. This may elude to a lack of research prior to the campaign, or perhaps it was a tactic to do the opposite? Bring the brand advocates to the forefront to speak to the brand as Fastrack simply wouldn’t?
Following the challenge, Fastrack posted:
I am with the majority of users that do not think that Fastrack would have changed its name. I highly doubt it would have been cost effective, its effects on brand recognition alone are concerning. This touches back to the element of authenticity in REAL social media practices. Trust takes forever to earn and seconds to destroy. Did Fastrack have the proper strategy in place had they reached their goal of 10 million? Did they really evaluate all that would encompass a complete rebrand like that? Was the name suggestion ‘PSYTIME’ in reference to Gangnam Style Korean rapper, Psy? Sigh.
Yes, they did increase their following significantly. 1 million people in 40 days is striking, but were those quality followers? Will these new followers even see Fastrack’s Facebook posts? As per Facebook’s set up, users’ Newsfeed is organized by “Top Stories” or “Most Recent”, this does not organize feeds in chronological order. Newsfeeds become tailored based on a users activity. This is troublesome for businesses because those subscribed will only see posts based on their level of engagement with them! Fastrack may have an impressive amount of Facebook Likes, but it would be interesting to have a look at their insights page!
Fastrack has a lot going for them – they are edgy, hip and fresh! They have immense potential to successfully connect with their target market. They should employ better strategies that support tactics to ensure they have a quality following that is engaged with their brand!
Any PR fumbles that come to mind? Search your armoire and give this budding PR student your valuable insight!