The Monopoly story and ironing out PR’s value

There can’t be a PR person out there who didn’t raise a smile when they spotted this week’s Monopoly story about how the iron playing piece was replacing the cat, by popular demand.

A great story, borne of clear understanding of the audience and the media. Hats off.

For me it was also a simple and clear illustration of how public relations needs to continue to develop in sophistication so that it becomes ever-more valued.

Here’s why: the Monopoly story was rooted in the real story of Monopoly, and was anchored on some owned content that its maker Hasbro authored as a compelling, editorially-potent piece. And it featured an image.

Then it used social media to connect its audience to the story and to the brand – people were asked to vote on Facebook, and they did in their droves because they really cared about what is a minor yet emotive issue.

Lastly (but not leastly) the story was so interesting to a broad array of editorial channels that it gained lots of traction in conventional media, which amplified the story, driving eyeballs back to social media platforms and the owned content at the centre.

Above all, it has the capacity to be better measured in commercial terms because the audience was actively engaged in the story through the votes cast and the ensuring publicity. Rather than hoping the audience would be influenced, the audience was influenced. The 10 million Facebook likes are impressive, but far less relevant for measuring value than actual influence on sales.

If that engagement can be sustained and assessed so that sales and direct influence on sales can be charted and tied back to the PR investment, then the cat really will have got the cream.

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