For guest post, Jeff asked me to discuss a PR campaign I like. The campaign I want to feature isn’t a traditional campaign and that’s what I like about it.
First some background, a friend of mine Cynthia Lee created Motah, her slang for motivate, a website dedicated to collecting video stories from kids who’ve done something positive or inspiring. Cynthia is a former News Anchor and Report who “left the business to broadcast all positive stories through Motah.”
In the summer of 2009, as Motah was still coming together, Cynthia and another person involved in Motah, Heather Angel, met Wendy Welsh, who owns Outside the Box Events in San Antonio. These three women decided they wanted to host fundraisers for their charitable organizations. Together, they brainstormed on how they could gather people together and support their causes.
As the basketball season progressed Wendy, who used to be in promotions for the San Antonio Spurs, knew that since the Spurs weren’t doing very well this season, ticket sales weren’t doing very well either. Wendy, Cynthia and Heather thought of a mutually beneficial event. They met with the right people at the Spurs and pitched a partnered event that would help them sell tickets and promote their organizations. This was the beginning of the first Spurs Social, which they held on March 10th.
Cynthia, Heather and Wendy promoted the event strictly through Facebook. For $30, you got a game ticket (not nose bleed seats), free parking, all the concessions you could eat, two alcoholic beverages (for those 21 and older) and your named entered into a giveaway for Charter Level Seats (close to Courtside seats). Additionally, all Spurs Social ticket holders were able to get into the AT&T Center an hour before any one else to mingle.
In all, they had about 35 people attend the first Spurs Social. Cynthia acknowledges that they didn’t market the event as well as they could have, especially since all of the marketing was up to them. They did not get any TV coverage or additional sponsors. However, the Spurs told them they were pleased with the turnout of the first Spurs Social and would like to continue the partnership.
In anticipation of a low turn out, none of the charitable organizations received any money, but all three got name recognition. Cynthia said it was still worth it.
”Any type of mixer you do helps get your name and logo out there,” she said. “I also made some good contacts that night. Face-to-face time is invaluable when you’re trying to promote your business. I attend at least one networking mixer a week”
“We realized that the Spurs Socials were events that would just take time to catch on,” Cynthia said. “We are not giving up on the Spurs Social because it’s a fun event that just needs some time.”
In fact, if the Spurs make the playoffs, they plan to have a second Spurs Social. Cynthia has even put together a plan to help make the event more successful. She said they will promote the event more in advance. They plan to do this by being a guest on at least one local morning news show (there are four in San Antonio) and continuing their Facebook presence.
“TV is still a powerful medium,” she said.
What lessons can you learn from this? While Facebook, Twitter and new media are great for reaching your audience, you can’t ignore traditional means. Finding the right balance between old and new is a skill. Just because the event doesn’t bring in hundreds of people doesn’t mean it was a failure. If nothing else, you’ll know what to do differently for the next event. Hopefully, you’ll have learned more and gotten more out of it. Even one contact from an event is one you didn’t have before. Finally, there is nothing wrong with starting out small. You can only grow from there.
About Aurora MeyerI have extensive experience in journalism and public relations. After graduating from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism, I followed my husband to Cape Girardeau, where I worked as reporter for the Southeast Missourian. He was offered a position in San Antonio about six months after we arrived in Cape Girardeau and I followed him to Texas. Freelancing kept my skills sharp until I was offered a position with the Kerrville Daily Times. During my time there, I realized I wanted to return to television news and worked at the Fox affiliate near our home in San Antonio. After two years away from our families, we could hear Missouri calling and decided to return.
Upon arriving in Columbia, I worked as a temp at MU before beginning my job as a reporter and anchor with the Missourinet. I left the Missourinet because I missed spending holidays and weekends with my family, and knew journalism would not offer that luxury. I currently work in the Creative Services Department at a local Physician Recruiting firm. In that capacity, I have organized and emceed a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new location and conducted a very successful public, food drive.