Understanding Periscope for PR


Recently, MediaMiser and Bulldog Reporter hosted a unique webinar with Cameron Gordon, Communications Lead at Twitter Canada. The topic: Understanding Periscope for PR.

If you’re in PR and have not heard of Periscope, you may need to crawl out from under that rock and get up to speed. The live-streaming video app has provided individuals with the opportunity see places, witness live events, and experience things they may never had the chance to otherwise—all in real-time. They say a picture is worth a thousand words; well then live video must be worth a million!

The history behind the app starts like this: two friends were travelling and found themselves in Istanbul during the protests in Taksim Square. Needing to know what was going on around them, yet having only Twitter as a breaking-news resource, they realized the advantage in being able to share live video as events transpired. Periscope’s live-streaming appeal steered Twitter in their direction, leading to the purchase of the app in early 2015—even before it was publically released, a move which quickly followed.

The aforementioned MediaMiser-Bulldog-Twitter webinar attracted hundreds of viewers, all intent on learning how this new tool can help with their PR efforts. The first question put to Gordon was how he believed Periscope could change the public relations industry. His insights on the app’s uses in this field were plenty, and included:

Option to scale back on costly press junkets: No need to book a plane, just send one person to that far away destination and film it while others watch from home turf.

Augment an existing PR campaign: Doritos uses the live streaming tool for the launch of their new products, Doritos Collisions, hosting a mammoth 12-hour Periscope broadcast in which all kinds of other collisions occurred. The public was invited to vote on Twitter for two weeks prior to the social event and suggest objects they’d like to see fired from a cannon and collide.

Localize PR program using mapping technology: If you want to watch people hang out by the Eiffel Tower or see dinner being prepared in Cape Town, you can browse the map feature for these locations and join people’s streams. Likewise, you can open up your own account to allow others to see what you’re up to. This option allows for a global reach in your PR efforts.

Behind the scenes coverage: Red Bull has already taken advantage of Periscope for this specific purpose. Recently, the company streamed the events it was holding at the Red Bull Guest House, allowing fans from around the world to get in on the action.

Run Q&A sessions, unveil a new product, or provide a technical “how to”: This is a great way to communicate your message with customers and clarify any points of confusion or any negative misconceptions circling around your brand. It can also be used to show your customer how to set up that new gadget they just bought, or entice them by unveiling a new product. Remember, choosing the right spokesperson in these cases is a major key to success.

Periscope has the ability to change the way people share and experience news and events by allowing others to actually live through incidents as they occur. It has the power to take the concept of citizen journalism to an entirely new level. Consumers are relishing the immediate, raw, gritty, and authentic video being shared. After all, we must remember the success of the 1999 film The Blair Witch Project where the four actors used hand-held cameras to videotape their horrific adventures causing viewers to question whether the footage was real or contrived. The film received unexpected acclaim from critics and went on to gross over US$248 million worldwide, making it one of the most successful independent movies of all time.

There are many questions one must ask before moving forward. Gordon made the following suggestions:

  •         Does your subject matter answer yes to the following:
    • Is it live?
    • Is it public?
    • Is it conversational?
  •         Are you ready to get real-time feedback?
  •         Is this style of video appropriate?
  •         Is this style of video consistent with what you are trying to convey?
  •         Have you developed an audience?

Nestlé Drumstick was the first brand to use the newly launched video platform. They decided to mark the first day of summer by live streaming ‘iconic summer moments’, including backyard barbecues and a visit to an amusement park. They had four ‘influencers’ create their own Periscope broadcasts, which they promoted on Twitter to amplify the campaign. Videos on the Nestlé Drumstick Periscope Channel generated more than 5,000 views and more than 50,000 hearts in just over 12 hours, while influencer broadcasts generated 1,500 views and more than 64,000 hearts.

Even the new Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, used the app to invite all Canadians to be guests during his swearing-in ceremony. There was an overwhelming number of positive tweets and thanks given to the newly elected official for including them in this monumental moment, speaking loudly to the public’s desire for this immediate and uncensored news source. Now we wait with bated breath to see how the U.S. Presidential race will play out in real-time.

The uses for the app are endless for the PR and communications industry. Imagination and execution may prove to be the only barriers.


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