It’s OK to be imperfect

In response to a blog post entitled,“It’s OK to be imperfect”: One school’s quest for social-marketing success by Mary Ellen Slayter

How fun it’s been to see how effective marketing and public relations has changed over the past few years thanks to the freedoms and accessibility of reliable technology. In my experience on college campus’ specifically, it’s the imperfections in the social-marketing techniques that are keeping audiences most interested and engaged.

Take for example the UO’s campaign to get students involved with the Census. The Bateman team, a group of public relations students, executed their message around one simple question, “Do you count?”

The team collected video clips of students answering the question with a random variety of responses. Even if the answers weren’t about “counting” in terms of the Census the campaign worked for me because I didn’t feel cornered to participate. The message’s open-endedness had me thinking about my response, for days longer than the usual split-second.

In Slayter’s blog post, she discusses the success of Oregon State University’s new social marketing campaign created to update their dated, rural image. Public relations consultant Michael Stoner called it “the most comprenhensive university social-marketing campaign we’ve seen to date.”

According to Slayter, the campaign,“Powered By Orange,” proved successful because it too reflected authentic pride in a rather unsystematic and “chaotic” way.

The other social-marketing gem that proved a huge success on the UO campus was of course the “I Love My Ducks” video, created by three guys from the journalism school (a.k.a Supwitchugirl).

The boys intended to create a video for an advertising class project to rally Duck fans behind the Rosebowl headed Oregon football team. The video was a success to me because it was community oriented and refreshing even though “imperfect” by mainstream media standards.

If you didn’t experience the aftermath of the video all you need to know is that it reached almost 800,000 viewers on youtube, and 4,000 people within four hours bought t-shirts with the slogan on the front.  If that’s not success I don’t know what is.



Filed under Public Relations

2 responses to “It’s OK to be imperfect

  1. UO students have certainly done some creative social media stuff, but as in the ones you point out, they are random bursts of success vs. part of a coordinated effort. The I Love My Ducks boys had a pretty hard time getting the UO to even recognize their efforts.

    It really comes down to budget. It takes time/$ to be strategic.

    Good post!

  2. Kelli, I’m glad you brought that up. Yes, they were random bursts of success, but I think the efforts can still be considered successful social marketing tactics and should be reminders that their random/imperfect efforts ended up making a seriously huge splash. Regardless if the UO recognized them or not, the public loved it and a profit was made.

    The take home message here should be to acknowledge that coordinated efforts are not the only way to make things happen. I’m reminded here of Malcolm Gladwell’s “Tipping Point” – to remember that spontaneous efforts are powerful.

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