Apparently I wasn’t the only one screaming at my television last night.
Why? I’d set my DVR to record “American Idol” (it allows me to skip the commercials), so when I figured enough time had passed in order for me to be able to skip all the ads, I settled in to watch it.
The show ran over. My DVR did not. And I missed watching the one contestant I’d been waiting to see: Adam Lambert.
So what did I do? I logged on to AmericanIdol.com (which is not a site I frequent) to see if the video had been uploaded yet. No. Then I turned to YouTube. Nope.
This morning, as soon as I brought my Washington Post in, I turned immediately to Lisa de Moraes’ TV column to find out what he sang (again, not my typical modus operandi). I can’t remember a time I’ve been so glad she watches so we don’t have to.
Once I knew which song Adam got a standing ovation from Simon Cowell for, I did a quick search for it, and voilÃ .
Phew. And all before 7:30 a.m. today.
The Adam Lambert Litmus Test
This is not a paean to Adam Lambert. But consider the atypical behavior – for me – that I engaged in, just to see and hear what he did last night. That’s engagement; not with the show, per se, but with what a single contestant brings to it, and which obviously helps the show.
The bottom line for effective PR is that you need to reach your audiences, and engage them enough to inspire behavior that helps achieve your goals. That engagement is what I experienced last night and this morning – and I’m still engaged enough to write about it.
That’s the kind of thing we should be measuring as PR professionals. Forget about clips and impressions (I’m still amazed at how many people focus on them as a sole or primary measure). It’s about engagement.
Does your PR pass the Adam Lambert litmus test?
What do you think? Have you been able to convince your clients and/or organizations to start focusing on outtakes and outcomes, rather than outputs? What’s your litmus test? I’d love to hear from you.
[…] person who has not been touched by it directly. Remember how excited I was to visit Graceland, or listening to/watching Adam Lambert? In other words, the soundtrack of our […]
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Well said, Shonali. Committed and engaged customers should be every marketer’s dream. Yet they get forgotten all too often in the pursuit of bigger numbers and strategic processes. I’ve often pointed out to companies the folly of spending a fortune on getting people to look at a site or visit a location, but then have no means of engaging them once they’re there. Thanks for giving a great real-life example of how consumers can sometimes actually fight to be engaged, only to find the company just doesn’t always make it easy.
James S. Walker I kind of get your point but I don’t think it’s critical to Idol’s success to have you dial. Idol needs you to stick around until the end of the last episode. Their primary revenue is from advertisements.
So if you need the phone to ring to make a sale then you need to measure share of wallet (Seth Godin’s idea). Whether it is sales or advertising that makes you money an engaged consumer is the best kind of consumer. They stay longer, they spend more and they are harder for a competitor to attract.
Thank you all so much for your comments.
James, to answer your question about voting – I agree that that segmenting is very important. I actually have voted for two Idol contestants in the history of the show: Kelly Clarkson, after there was that upset with one of the early contestants (I forget her name, but she appeared on “Boston Public” for a few episodes, I think) was the first person I actively voted for. The other was (don’t laugh) Taylor Hicks. And if it looks like Adam is in jeopardy, my phone is going to be on speed dial.
Thank you again!
Shonali, nice one. Got home late last night, and I actually did the same thing this morning! Engagement really is the thing to look at, but in measuring it, I think it’ll need to be segmented. For example, we both hunted the video down, but have you ever voted for an Idol contestant?
I’ll be brave enough to admit that I did once. For Idol, I would say that is the ultimate level of engagement, but it is the client’s main goal.
As we talk about engagement/measurement, I think it’s really important to come up with the different levels and lay them out for our clients to set expectations.
But, back to Adam. Glad I’m not the only one who was trying to track the video this AM. I think he may win.
What a great post Shonali. I completely agree with you and hope we can gradually get all PR Pros to this way of thinking. Personally I find it easier to convince they are making progress if, from the start, we agree to measurable goals based on changes in client behavior or even (the purists will have a field day here) changes in sales/ increased calls. By setting all this up at the beginning, I are better able to keep our clients focused on the end game and less on whether they are seen in traditional media.
Shonali, now I understand your earlier tweet.The truth is, I would conduct the same hunt for some of my guilty pleasures, such as Project Runway (now not airing until the fall, for anyone else who has been waiting impatiently.) Your level of engagment, bordering on obsession, is certainly something for marketers to aim for.
I can identify with this. I religiously followed (UK) BBC2’s ‘Masterchef’ programme – not something I normally do.
When I wanted to link a quote “If you’re not going to serve it, don’t cook it” to the show’s site, I was horrified (ok … maybe not ‘horrified’) to find that I could only find last year’s info.
Bah humbug. There’s an audience out there – if you want them to consume your product, make it easily avialable!
Jason (The Long Dog)