This a post from our weekly series, Mentorship Month, appearing Tuesdays and Thursdays where BUPRSSA students interview mentors in the PR field.
This past week, I had the chance to spend the afternoon at Zipcar Boston with Marketing Manager, Matt Kurkowski. Matt taught me new and interesting things about the world of professional communication.
Here are three tips that I took away from the experience:
- Creativity is the Key to Targeting Demographics. Zipcar, which is a membership-based car sharing company that provides automobile reservations to its members, is one of the most creative companies I’ve ever seen. When pairing with Boston Ballet to support children’s dance recitals, Zipcar dressed up a rentable car in a pink ballet tutu wrapped in dance recital advertisements as a way to advertise both the Zipcar company as well as the Boston Ballet recitals. Then, Zipcar offered the car to be rented by the parents of children participating in the recitals, allowing the kids to arrive to their recital in decked-out tutu car. What little girl would ever turn that down? Although this doesn’t necessarily bring in a returning-client audience, it does generate publicity and conversation between families (plus its really cool!).
- Analytics Hold Importance. Although not tech-savvy myself, spending some time at Zipcar emphasized the importance of tracking the market and looking for changes in efficiency and clientele. Through using the website Klout, which measures a user’s influence across a social network like Twitter, or Google Analytics, that generates statistics about the visitors to a website, and even the backend databases that track the increase or decrease in members and member usage, analytics are great for evaluating the PR, marketing, and advertising campaigns companies put so much effort into. For example, after using Zipcar ads on the MBTA red and orange lines, back-end analytics allowed Zipcar to see exactly how many people joined over the duration of the campaigns! Statistics such as these are extremely beneficial for the evaluation stage of communications and for presentations to other corporations.
- Publicity Stunts Never Get Old. Zipcar has staged great publicity stunts, including putting a new model of a plug-in automobile in the middle of the Prudential Center, showing it’s electric capabilities, and generating awareness for the new product. Zipcar was also able to brand a parking spot in the mall’s garage by creating a wall advertisement for a wall outlet built for these newly introduced models. The coolest publicity stunt Matt told me about was a Zipcar holiday challenge they had in the Prudential Center: How many candy canes does it take to cover a Zipcar? Not only did this generate thousands of impressions, it also brought attention to the Zipcar brand, was fun, and aroused holiday spirit.
Zipcar’s examples of publicity stunts prove that you can still have fun with your job AND convey your intended message.
Those are just a few of the many interesting things I learned during my adventure to Zipcar Boston. Do you have any cool facts about public relations and marketing that you’ve learned though interviews?