SPAT: Use Social Media, PR To Jump-start Your Campaign
More cause marketing campaigns are activated by low-cost and no-cost social media and public relations than by advertising.
But PR and social media aren’t all beer and Skittles. While PR has greater credibility than advertising, it’s hard to get the frequency using PR alone that you can get with advertising. Advertising offers both frequency and repeatability, but it’s expensive and every sentient being has scrupulously trained him or herself to ignore most of it. Social media can have both frequency and credibility. But its ubiquity in our lives makes it very ephemeral. Who remembers a great Tweet after a day, or even an hour?
So how best to activate your cause marketing campaign using social media and PR?
One answer is that the story you tell has a boy and a puppy. Last summer, People magazine reported about then 7-year-old Evan Moss, who is epileptic and had written a picture book called “My Seizure Dog” about an epilepsy-detecting dog he wished his family could afford. In the book, Evan imagined he and his seizure dog in various settings, including going to outer space together.
The book -- sold at a neighborhood café and on Amazon -- generated more than $41,000 and now Evan and three other children have their own epilepsy-detecting dogs.
The only other thing Evan could have done to get better publicity is to date a Kardashian!
But maybe your cause marketing story doesn’t involve Kardashians or really cute 7-year-old authors with service puppies. How, then, do you do activate your cause marketing using PR and social media?
Short answer; Remember the acronym SPAT.
Well, a spat is a fabric or leather covering worn over your shoes and pants legs to protect them from mud and dirt and such.
And while the word and the item are rather antique -- high school and college band color guards are about the only place you’ll see them in common use in the United States these days -- using SPAT will help to effectively convey your cause marketing campaign while minimizing the chances that it will get too muddied up by the press or the social media.
There are four elements of SPAT.
Summarizable. Even if the dictionary in my word processor doesn’t believe
it, summarizable is the adjective form of the verb summarize. By it, I mean that you have to be able to explain the basics of your cause marketing campaign in a concise way; say, two sentences
Photographable. What we’re talking about here is visual “memes.” Biologist Richard Dawkins coined the word meme to mean traits that are passed on via the culture. A meme could be ideas, symbols or practices that are carried culturally rather than genetically. Japanese Macaques that learned to wash their food from one another is an example of memes -- pronounced meem -- in the animal kingdom.
Not all memes require a picture. But washing food wouldn’t have gone very far among Macaques if they were all blind. Even for literate humans, visual images are much less abstract than words. You and I would have a much easier time remembering 100 random pictures than 100 random words, for instance.
So it’s much easier to pass on a meme with a photo or image than without. Think of the Aflac duck, Coke’s contour bottle, or breast cancer’s pink ribbon.
Arresting. The best cause marketing stops you in your tracks. Warby Parker’s buy one, give one approach (BOGO), for instance. Or young Evan Moss.
Transcendent. The word transcendent carries a lot of added bulk around with it, suggesting as it does something outside human capacity or even divine. But the first meaning of transcendent is something superior or beyond ordinary limits. And who wants to promote cause marketing that fails to transcend the ordinary?
While all cause marketing doesn’t use all the elements of SPAT, great cause marketing does.