Using Big News for Brand-Building

When the jury verdict was announced yesterday in the trial of Michael Jackson’s personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, broadcasters went nuts with the social media.  Hey, it’s a big story, right?  No argument. There’s nothing wrong with using your social media to be informative.  There’s nothing wrong with using it to engage with your fans.  However … what if you could also do a little brand-building at the same time, huh?  After all, you know all your competitors are jumping on their Facebook and Twitter accounts at the same time that you are jumping on yours.  Can you use a big news story like this to bring your fans back in to use your brand in some way? Here are two examples.


I saw a number of stations do something like this.  Not many, however.  Here’s the opportunity to get extra website hits from people who want to follow the coverage:

This is what Clear Channel’s Detroit CHR Channel 955 did, offering fans the chance to go to their website and keep the window open until the jury came back with the verdict, at which point you could see it happen live.  I saw several stations offer something like this, although not many … most simply posted when the jury verdict was supposed to be returned, and maybe ask what people thought … to offer up a little engagement.

Now, for 999,999 news stories out of 1,000,000, you probably don’t need to offer something like this.  But when there’s a news story that you know a lot of your big fans are talking and thinking about, the rules can change.  This is the third high-profile jury verdict in a relatively short time (in addition to Casey Anthony and Amanda Knox).  It’s about who’s responsible for the death of a star who was beloved by multiple generations of fans.  So, yeah, it’s a big deal. Using your social media to not only give your fans some news but also get them closer to accessing it is a worthwhile service.  You don’t have to be part of a massive conglomerate to find the resources to do this, either.  A little Google-ing turned up the fact that (among others) was airing the jury verdict live.  You could have embedded that in a page of your website and steered your fans there.


Now, any decent air personality or producer or talk host was probably thinking … before the verdict … about what they might do on the air following the announcement.  Very, very few of those people managed to communicate it to whoever handles their brand’s social media.  I did find this:

You can see that Mix 96.9, Clear Channel’s Hot AC in Phoenix, was able to tell their fans what was happening on Tuesday’s morning show … and exactly when … as a result of the jury verdict.  They were pretty much the only one I found who was that on top of how to use their Facebook page … even down to the time to listen to hear this guest.  So, if you posted the jury verdict and asked your fans for their opinion, that’s cool.  You were working on engagement.  That’s great … engagement is a key part of communicating with your brand fans.  However, today, it’s tough to measure engagement in a way that shows how it’s benefiting your brand as well as your audience.  If it’s not causing people to use your product or hit your website, you’re not getting a lot of immediate benefit.

I suspect you could probably use all the immediate benefit you can get these days!

Tomorrow, we might all be bonused on how many Facebook responses and likes and shares we get.  Not today.  Today, we gotta get our fans to use our brands in ways that can be measured in a meaningful way.  Your big fans are happy to use you like that … you just need to ask them like Channel 955 and Mix 96.9 did.


Congrats to these two Clear Channel stations.  Before you jump to conclusions that the company really had their act together on this … not so fast.  Nothing against Clear Channel, but most of their stations that posted about Conrad Murray on Facebook or Twitter got the news out … but didn’t do any brand-building in the process.  With all the media choices these days, it’s dangerous to assume … just because you informed your fans of something on Facebook … that they remembered it was you who told them about it.  However, if you get people to use your brand at the same time, you score.


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