PR + Social Science = Digital Marketing

PR practitioners teamed with social scientists is intriguing, but when that combination wins a half dozen or more highly coveted service industry and digital marketing awards every year, it’s a sea change!

For those of you who haven’t heard, we are excited to announce that GillespieHall was awarded a Gold Service Industry Advertising Award as well as a Platinum AVA Digital Award for social media campaigning. GH also received a Platinum AVA Award for video and a Gold in the B2B website category.

Read more about this latest round of awards here.

All of these projects shine because they integrate all the elements of public relations into the science of social media.

Why It Works

PR is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics. Social scientists study society and relationships among individuals. Award-winning PR firmThey understand human behavior and the elements that can change that behavior. What ideal skillsets for adding nuance, depth, and analytics potential to product launch campaigns or crisis management initiatives! The goals are less about ‘likes’ and ‘tweets,’ and more about building a loyal and participatory brand community.

The digital landscape changes daily and businesses need to stay a step ahead. It’s all about strategy, content creation and knowing your audience. That’s where the mix of science and art can result in what the panel of judges at this year’s Service Industry Advertising Awards considered ‘breakthrough advertising content.’

How To Integrate PR and Social Science

  1. We start with an analytical, social science approach. A good campaign strategy considers both program goals and the target audience. This means researching that audience in depth. What do they talk about? Where do they talk about it? What language do they use to talk about it?
  2. Once we know our audience, PR comes in with messaging carefully designed to connect with that audience and build a relationship with them. We translate our message to meet our audience where they live.
  3. The analysis doesn’t stop once messaging kicks in. We need to make sure we are reaching our goals. We constantly monitor the success of our messaging, the response to the message, and broad changes in communication.

In the last four years, those three areas alone have shifted dramatically. The digital landscape looks very different now than it did in 2011. It is now peppered with new platforms and transformed by new understandings of those platforms. What worked then might not work so well anymore.

It’s hard to define where social science ends and public relations begin. The process is ongoing, and requires the two disciplines to work together so closely that they start to blur into one.

The Results Are Worth It

It sounds like a lot of work, and it is. But it pays off.

An evidence-based approach to public relations and marketing culminates in actual, measurable return on investment. Our clients have surpassed their goals for years; we have seen:

  • event attendance exceed goals by 60%,
  • funding renewed four years running,
  • program enrollment exceed goals by $1m,
  • online donations increase by over 40%, and
  • ROI average between $9 and $13 to the dollar invested.

On top of all this, when our clients need community support over an issue, they already have an invested group of people on which to rely! What did we say? It’s all about relationships – and this is how you build them.

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