Square in the Air new business director Robin Hutchison shared his thoughts on the importance of proactive PR in our industry for the January 2013 ICE edition of eGaming Review.
Robin’s article is available to read here:
As the egaming industry has changed exponentially in a few years, the emphasis on having a public presence and proactive PR process has become more important. Robin Hutchison, of Square in the Air, examines how the industry has changed to reach this conclusion.
Ladbrokes legend Cyril Stein had one word of advice for his first PR man Ron Pollard after instructing him to draw up a market on the next Archbishop of Canterbury: “The Chief Rabbi is 500/1.” Long before Paddy Power was tormenting Tiger Woods with Sky tweets and while Graeme Sharpe was still in short trousers, novelty betting – and with it modern day betting PR – was born.
The market, and the incredulous coverage it generated in every national media outlet, blurred the boundaries between the bookie and its punters. One would always be the Sheriff of Nottingham to the other’s Robin Hood, but here was a newfound lightness of touch and a concerted attempt to engage with both customers and the news agenda. In truth, it’s been plain sailing ever since.
These days gambling and egaming are an accepted part of the leisure industry. Sure, there may be some sections of the media that still get excited by the prospect of a three horse patent or the turn of a poker card, but most understand the popularity of the games and betting opportunities on offer these days. As a result, most of the companies who once adopted a cautious approach have cast off their inhibitions.
Curiously, there are still some who choose to stay under the radar fearing, presumably, that the regulator is waiting to tick them off. More curious still are those who feel they’re too big or too successful to dirty their hands with a PR strategy. Along with the mainstream media, of course, there are B2B publications such as this one which have mushroomed in recent years, providing further opportunities for promotion. There’s even, dare I write it here, the DIY approach using social media to speak – and listen – to your customer base.
You can count on one hand the number of firms who’ve not yet seen the light in this area. Yet sadly not everyone uses it successfully, believing the odd tweet or Facebook post constitutes engagement. Used out of obligation, social media is a waste of time; used wrongly it can inflict serious damage on your credibility. But used correctly it can open new channels and deliver customers who you never knew existed safely from cyberspace.
At Square in the Air we take a proactive approach to media relations, be it traditional or social. As trained journalists, we’re used to life on both sides of the fence and understand the marketplace thanks to our long experience in it.
We’ll tweet away for you and run your Facebook page so that it’s meaningful and productive, while building numbers and cementing loyalty too. Engaging with editors and their journalists, keeping them abreast with developments, is a given as well.
It’s not complicated stuff, in truth, and by keeping them informed we are far more likely to secure better slots for our output and ensure positive coverage. And, of course, when business isn’t as smooth as it might be for our clients it’s easier to get a fairer hearing when you’re in regular communication with the reporter covering the story.
As I’m not obliged to say in this article, other marketing support is available out there, so don’t take my word for it. But whether you do it in-house or outsource it to an agency like ours, it is well worth stepping up your communications through marketing and PR.
ICE is upon us and will provide a showcase among your peers, but what happens afterwards and how do you reach our to the people who spend the money? Like society, the industry has changed and getting your voice heard is essential in an increasingly competitive space.
Gambling and egaming are no longer a dirty secret to be hidden from politer sections of society, so go out and tell people about your little corner of it. Not even the new Archbishop of Canterbury could object to it, especially if he’s had a few quid on himself.