Monday, 19 April 2010

Are Mobile Technologies Effective in PR campaigns

By Toivo Mvula

The use of mobile technologies in PR campaigns has remained stagnant, partly because the mobile phone is a personal tool and organisations have not yet found an acceptable way of communicating with mobile phone users without being seen as invading their personal space.

The use of mobile technologies in PR campaigns is largely limited to incorporating the internet, because using text messaging (SMS or Short Message Service) is seen as rather intrusive.

Other types of mobile technologies are laptops, notebooks and the media tablets such as the new iPad and WePad.
All these can be used to browse the internet, check your e-mail, access your Facebook and Twitter accounts and other social networking sites, watch YouTube and other video sharing sites.

The mobile phone is the seventh mass media after print, recordings, cinema, radio, television and the internet.

With more than four billion mobile phone users across the globe, the potential of using mobile phones in PR campaigns is huge.
Other advantages of mobile phones is that they are always switched on and users carry them 24 hours, 7 days a week.

Public relations practitioners can use mobile phones in PR campaigns the same way they use internet. The only difference is that everything should be customised to mobile phone specificiations to allow for easy acess and use.
This can be done by:

- purchasing a .mobi domain name to create a mobile website;
- developing Apps for mobile phones;
- launching a mobile website blog; using text messaging (SMS);
- RSS feeds;
- conducting surveys;
- have 24/7 contact to the media; and
- accessing social media to monitor public opinion and respond accordingly.

What is really important is that PR practitioners recognise the potential of mobile phones and other technologies and incorporate them into their traditonal PR campaign strategies to achieve the maximum outcome.
For more information, you can read a PR Week article on the use of mobile technologies in the PR industry.


  1. The use of mobile technologies in PR campaigns was quite a mystery to me but your presentation last week made a good case for how useful they could be to the industry. I agree with your point that to communicate this way does cross a boundary though that I don't think the UK public are very used to yet. The campaign you spoke about setting up in Namibia was really interesting though. Why do you think this way of communicating is much more accepted there?
    Since people are now used to having mobile phones and using them predominantly for private matters I think it might be much more of a struggle here to start campaigns centered on mobile phone communication. However, I think there is potential to start using this technology for actions such as mobile phone donating to charities. Perhaps more general campaign actions could then be built upon from there...

  2. The problem with mobile phones campaigns is targeting. Currently we receive spam SMS. I receive such spam from cigarette companies as they are not allowed to advertise on TV in Romania. I am not even a smoker so I am very bothered by the thing. Companies get lists from each other, pay a lot of money and do not reach targets. Making sure you send info via mobile phones to the right people is crucial in my opinion in such campaigns.

  3. I previously had not been aware of the importance of Mobile technology in PR however after reading your blog and hearing your presentation I am certainly convinced that it allows a greater level of contact with consumers. I do however question whether those without the use of internet on their mobile phone will be neglected? How will they be targeted?

  4. Using mobiles technology in PR will have a great effect since it can cover huge population in reaching the target. However, based on my experience some peope are bored with getting too many messages (spam)every day through diffrent channels, so once the recieve a message even without reading it - they delete it. In addition, in some countries as in Afghanistan where people do not have access to the internet, will not be covered, so how can those pople be reached is a question for me.

  5. I agree too with what Ralu said about targetting, and spam happens to me also as I am from Romania. But there are ways to use mobile technology in PR. For example, I appreciate how the hospital I am going to in Romania is sending me a text reminding me about the appointment I have the next day. Extending from this, I can think about linking with social media. For example, if an event is organized and broadcasted through Facebook, you can send a reminding SMS to people that confirmed the attendance.