Going from "are you kidding?" to "could this be great PR?"
Everybody has their favorite mobile app - you might like to 'pop' bubble wrap on your iPhone, or Tweet from your Blackberry. Me? I appreciate the simplicity of the WSJ Mobile Reader. I have easy-to-read, quickly-downloadable headlines and stories at my fingertips from not only the Journal but the other feeds I've set it up to pull in for me.
I tell you this only because I thought it was playing tricks on me last night. I took a few moments to scroll through my stories and I see this headline, "The Duck Call Stylings of Cisco's John Chambers." Being the head of LP&P's telecom practice, John Chambers and Cisco are always of interest. But I clicked on this headline much faster that I typically would because I thought there was some joke being played on the company or some hacker having fun with the BoomTown blog.
Nope. If you haven't already heard about this, or seen the video, check it out. Frankly, as I read the first couple of paragraphs of the post, I still thought someone was kidding around. But then I got to the punchline - how Cisco turned a happenstance event into a PR opportunity, and a pretty creative one at that.
You can read the brief BoomTown post which explains the idea. What I'm more focused on, beyond the creative use of social media to promote a product, is the involvement from the top - from Chambers. One of the basic ingredients in a successful communications program is a commitment from the highest levels of the organization to support the effort and to participate as appropriate. As much as PR has morphed in the 23 years LP&P has been around, this tenet has not changed.
This video features a CEO who is well-known for his commitment to PR, but I have to admit, this takes it to a whole new level. PR people everywhere have pointed to people like Chambers, Steve Jobs, and more recently, Carol Bartz as good examples of executives who are engaged in strategic communication. Well today, fellow communications professionals, we now have a precedent for suggesting our client CEOs go well beyond "participating" in the PR program to make a spectacle of their hidden talents and hobbies for the good of the organization.
What's your take on this? Great idea? Over the top? I'm not sure I've decided yet.