13th April | Simon Mowbray back

If social media changes lives, imagine what it can do for your brand

The Public Relations and Communications Association’s (PRCA) inaugural Digital Awards – at which we were proudly shortlisted – honoured the industry’s best social media campaigns, and rightly won plaudits.

And as we rubbed shoulders with the great and good of the PR world, it became apparent that our work in using social media to engage and interact with new audiences beyond the world of traditional media also has an increasingly high purpose across the worlds of commerce, charity and the public sector.

We applauded the winner in our own category (Best Use of Social Influencers in a Campaign), as Action Aid UK’s #BrutalCut campaign won another prestigious gong for its work in raising awareness of female genital mutilation (FGM) in Kenya, and we were also lucky enough to share a table with two inspirational gentlemen from Aberdeenshire Council who have been using social media to reduce suicide rates in their home county.

Their Prevent Suicide campaign, which was nominated in the Best Digital Marketing Campaign, is based around the promotion of a simple app – which since launch in March 2016 has already been downloaded by more than 18,000 people seeking either inspiration for themselves or loved ones who may have hit rock bottom.

The campaign is being credited with leading to an incredible 29% reduction in suicides in Aberdeenshire last year compared with in 2015, a result which Iain Murray, the Choose Life co-ordinator for Aberdeenshire, told me had surpassed all expectations, including his own. Iain – a charming, burly ex-policeman – has embraced the social digital revolution in his new-found vocation, immediately understanding its power and potency to deliver effective tools that can change lives.

While we’re far from ready to call time on traditional print media – which remains an integral part of the PR and marketing mix – Iain’s example certainly provides food for thought.

Social and digital media can be an incredibly cost-effective way of promoting compelling and game-changing owner-generated content that can also earn you a significant share of voice in both new (social and digital) and traditional (broadcast and print) media.

Certainly, we’re satisfied with our success in turning Franklin & Sons – the premium, handcrafted range of tonics, mixers and soft drinks – into a number one trending sensation on Twitter, as well as generating many column inches for them across more traditional national and lifestyle consumer media.

As PRCA Director General Francis Ingham said during his opening address: “These awards are not for dinosaurs. If you are a dinosaur, then you are in the wrong place.”

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