The remainder of this series will address specific tactical approaches for how public relations professionals can leverage mobile for brand activation, community building, media relations, assessing public attitudes and crisis communications.
Though there are ways to integrate mobile into other practice areas, these provide the most fertile opportunities and include the best examples of the tactics in action. There are, however, a number of things public relations professional must consider to ensure their programs are starting from a strong foundation.
First and foremost, as with any PR program, is research. Not all mobile tactics, whether messaging, the mobile web, direct response or applications, will be appropriate for any given campaign. Care must be taken in ensuring that the right strategy and tactics are employed to reach the target audience. For example, when dealing with a very broad audience or when looking to engage less mobile savvy audiences, mobile messaging is likely the best approach. The mobile web will work well for youth and digitally savvy consumers, though mobile web adoption is growing rapidly. If you are looking to create a rich mobile experience, an application might be the best tactic. This is even truer when reaching consumers who are Smartphone or iPhone users. Hill & Knowlton’s David Jones says, “You have to consider how people are using the mobile device. Are you trying to entertain, inform or connect? Always be conscious of the mobile device and what types of consumers are using which device.”
A great first step in any mobile programming is identifying ways to build a database of consumers. Integrate a mobile number opt-in to any web form or sign ups that are part of your web or communications strategy. If you are considering a mobile messaging program, secure a shortcode or look for a technical partner that has a roster of shortcodes for general use. Equally, if you are looking at a mobile web program, secure your mobile domain. This can be done through a domain registry service just like any other web address. Typically, mobile domains use a .mobi extension or use an ‘m.brandurl.com’ format. These formats indicate to consumers that the web destination is optimized for mobile browsing.
It is more than likely that a technical partner will be required to help navigate the mobile space and they can assist you in managing any of these steps. Brady Murphy of Vortex Mobile says, “Finding a mobile partner is critical to ensure the proper execution of a mobile campaign. They will have the technical expertise and understand the regulatory landscape while ensuring mobile best practices are implemented.” As with any new technology or tactic, it is important to execute properly from the start to ensure the effort is not wasted and maximum benefit is achieved.
Up Next: Mobile and brand building for PR
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