Why Your Tech Company’s PR Program Can’t Afford to Ignore Pop Culture

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Gabriel Marketing Group

You probably woke up this morning to an alarm from your phone or smart device. You might have started your day browsing a news app, listening to a podcast or jamming to new music on Spotify.

You probably did all of this while catching up on social media interactions you missed while you were asleep.

By the time you were done with breakfast, you were most likely caught up on the latest news, celebrity gossip and cute puppy memes – all without picking up a newspaper or turning on a TV.

The year is 2019, and pop culture has taken over the world.

It only makes sense that public relations strategies follow suit, expanding beyond newspaper and TV placements to incorporate social media, celebrities and even influencers to build the company brand. Here’s why.

How Social Media Has Integrated with PR

Back in the day, PR experts would give a statement on television, release it in print or publish it online.

There’s nothing wrong with these older, tried-and-true methods of public relations – so why are pros turning to social media to grow business and enhance PR?

It’s a great way to reach customers.

For one thing, social media is essentially an online extension of your company’s brand. When potential customers want to learn about you, their first glimpse of your brand is usually on your Twitter or Facebook account. These accounts help prospects determine your market and your reputation. They’re an extremely powerful source of information.

“Businesses that fail to use social media to manage their reputations may not only lose reach in the digital world but may not even be noticed amid all the noise.”
— John Boitnott,

Also, social media is not just for reaching customers anymore – it’s also a great place to connect with reporters.

Companies willing to follow that migration to social media are more likely to secure coverage, while those unwilling to change may find their pitches stuck in voicemail purgatory.

All of this makes pop culture’s home, social media, much harder to ignore.

So where does a solid PR strategy go from there?

Use Social Media to Connect with Reporters

A simple way to connect with reporters is to “tweet” at them. Mention their handle, throw their name into a hashtag or just use the @ symbol to mention them by name.

If that doesn’t work, try sending them a direct message. You might be surprised how quickly a reporter will respond. Since Twitter is a prime source for news, reporters monitor the platform around the clock.

Reaching reporters, however, is just the top drawer of the pop culture toolbox.

Leveraging Pop Culture Entertainment in PR

Whether we like it or not, those in the entertainment industry dominate the media market. So, how can these pop culture icons (and brand equity masters) help with your brand recognition?

Let’s take a look at an example from Samsung. A few years ago, you might remember the infamous selfie taken at the Oscar awards ceremony featuring Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and several other notable celebrities. As that picture went viral, so did the phone that captured it – a Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

Samsung spent $20 million for Oscars airtime, but what got everyone buzzing the next day wasn’t one of its lavishly produced commercials. The world was sharing that star-studded selfie.

This use of entertainment idols drove a spectacular campaign for Samsung, proving that utilizing pop culture is a necessary tool for brand recognition.

Much like Samsung, Netflix is no stranger to incorporating their pop-culture hits to drive engagement for their streaming platform. In 2017, the company unveiled a partnership with Lyft to provide passengers with rides in a fully immersive “Stranger Things” ride experience.

Once the new season aired, 361,000 people watched all nine episodes of Stranger Things on the day it was released, according to Nielsen.

The story gets better.

This marketing effort was a win for both sides. While Netflix enjoyed increased mentions, Lyft reaped more ride requests from fans looking to experience a piece of the show. In the end, both Netflix and Lyft leveraged this pop culture entertainment phenomenon to delivere sales, engagement and media value – in a single stroke.

The Power of Influencers

What about the newest type of entertainer – the influencer? They’re not television or movie stars. So, why bother?

For starters, influencers often have thousands, if not millions, of followers. That means they provide a fast track to generating word-of-mouth publicity – possibly the most effective marketing and PR tactic since the dawn of speech.

That makes influencer publicity a sweet spot for PR.

Why does it work? Consumers have always been wary of paid advertisements. Influencers, however, seem like friends or relatable peers. Unlike paid advertising, influencers connect with the consumer base, earning credibility and trust.

Also, since influencers have a reputation to maintain, most will only promote the products they test and admire. That stamp of approval from a trusted influencer means a great deal to wait-and-see buyers.

Next Steps

So, now that you know why pop culture is a gold mine for branding, revenue and exposure, it’s time to kick-start your pop culture strategy.

Start by identifying which social media channels best fit your company and brand. Take advantage of all that the platforms have to offer by creating handles, writing clever bios and linking everything to your website.

Next, start following news on Twitter, and make sure you read up on the culture section of your favorite publication to see who’s talking about your industry – especially if they are a celebrity.

And remember: pop culture, celebrities and influencers are your friends.

Do you need additional help updating your PR strategy? If so, dive into our e-book, The Five Required Elements to Maximize PR for Your Tech Company.

From the Blog

Leah Nurik