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Susie
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David, First off just wanted to say that I read the New Rules of Marketing & PR and got so much value out of it. Brian Halligan suggested that I read it. Thanks for writing such a helpful book! I invested a significant amount of my time in the BJITW not only by applying but also by creating the community for the BJITW applicants on Ning - http://islandreefjob.ning.com - which turned out to be quite a vibrantly engaged community. I guess you could say I more than did my part to contribute to the rave and the viral element of this campaign! I agree with what Scott is saying (a member on Ning by the way – hi Scott!) that the real test comes in whether or not this will result in higher tourism revenue for Queensland and not just buzz. They deserve tremendous praise for creating a world wide rave with their campaign. They did many, many things right. For the sake of dissecting this campaign though, here are some areas where they stumbled in terms of using the social media channel properly and to most effect: - TQ did not capitalize on people going to their site on a daily basis. At no point in time were any of us applicants or other interested parties shown in depth information on Queensland itself on their website. There could have been all sorts of information fed /made available to us as we were salivating over the idea of living in the Whitsundays and scuba diving the GBR. Instead our attention was only on the candidates and their videos not Queensland itself. - A lot of the Top 50 people they chose had PR/tourism/TV backgrounds. This was never stated as a requirement. As such, many of the 34,000+ that did not make the Top 50 felt used by this campaign. They believe that they spent their time making a video, blogging/tweeting about it, telling their friends to check it out etc. when they never really had a chance. The job was portrayed as being available to anyone who was adventurous and a good communicator when in fact it appears there was a hidden requirement. By hiding that requirement intentionally or not, they got more people to apply and spread the word. I think this lack of transparency hurts Tourism Queensland. - Their choices for Top 50 and Top 16 clearly show that they were selecting candidates based on their geographic location (where they have regional tourism offices) as opposed to the strength of their application. They lost credibility and interest again with the masses because in the end there was a hidden agenda. - A social network like the community I created could have been a powerful additional channel for TQ to use to reach and interact with their target market. It could have been the platform on which the eventual Island Caretaker communicated. The audience would have been built up during the course of the campaign and not starting when the blog of the IC launches on July 1. As such, many people have tuned out now and will not come back then to follow the blog. Again, it goes without saying that from a viral / rave perspective, this campaign was off the charts. However, since I have followed the BJITW so closely for the whole time and in such an in-depth manner by running that community, I just wanted to point out where TQ didn’t necessarily excel and could do differently next time (if there is one!) In the meantime, my money is on a candidate from Asia or with an Asian background to be living in the Blue Pearl on July 1 because that is where the growth in tourism looks to be for Australia. Who of the 16 do you think will be the Caretaker, David? Susie