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5 Things You Can Learn About PR From Angry Birds

June 24, 2011

Chen, Lauren, Global PR, “5 Things You Can Learn About PR From Angry Birds” Posted  June 20, 2011. Retrieved June 24th, 2011.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have at the very least heard of the mobile game phenomenon Angry Birds. After all, it’s iPhone’s most popular application with over 250 million downloads across various platforms to date. It’s a clever little game that not only has cute characters but looks deceptively simple to play. Sure, you only need a finger to catapult the footless birds across the screen to destroy structures and the pigs hiding within; HOWEVER, there’s a science to the bird-flinging (no joke).

But I’m getting a little off track here. The point of this post is to show five things you can learn from Angry Birds that can be applied to PR.

1) There isn’t one recipe for success. Just like there isn’t one way to solve a level on Angry Birds, there isn’t one formula to a successful PR campaign. You have to customize every campaign to the company, the product or announcement, the audience, the specific message and the industry. Look at your campaign from every angle to see if using social media, for example, truly makes sense – is your target market even on social networks? Don’t feel like you have to use every single PR tactic in the book for every launch or push.

2) If it isn’t working, try a different path. One of the key factors to successful PR is creating a unique story that stands above the crowd. In Angry Birds you may have a tactic that always takes you this close to passing the level. But you just can’t seem to beat it, so it’s time to find a new path. The same goes for PR messaging. Don’t just keep using the same story over and over again if it doesn’t seem to be resonating with your audience; it’s ok to take a step back, re-evaluate and go back to the drawing board.

3) Timing is important. One of the fun tricks you’ll discover in some levels on Angry Birds is splitting a bird mid-air into three. To do so at the right time can essentially get you more *bang* for your buck. Timing is also important in PR in deciding when to go out with an announcement. There are always different factors to take into consideration – Are you timing it with a tradeshow? Is a competitor coming out with a similar product soon? Is there a major holiday you should avoid? Is there a hot topic in the industry that you can tie your news to? Making sure you time your news right can be crucial to whether anyone will take notice.

4) You need teamwork. At each level, you’re not relying on just one bird to bring down the structures and piggies. You’re given at least a few and more often than not, you need most to get the job done. Each bird has a role to play but you use them with the same goal in mind. In PR, even if you’re a one-man agency, you still need to work together with the client to achieve results. After all, no one really knows the products and technology better than the client.
Looking at this from another angle, in the game there are different types of birds, some with special abilities. When you work with a customer, your main point of contact is most likely someone in marketing. But folks in other departments (e.g. engineering and sales) can be invaluable resources. Considering tapping into them to get different perspectives and ideas you may not have considered.

5) Remain persistent. And don’t give up. It can take several tries to pass a level and the same goes for pitching and following up. I can say from experience, keeping a determined mind is necessary and can lead to amazing opportunities for your clients.

P.S. If you want to know more about how Angry Birds started and became such a hit, check out these articles from AdWeek and The TeleGraph.

P.P.S. While I may not own a smartphone (yes, really), it doesn’t mean I haven’t played my fair share of app games. So if you’re in need of more fun, cute and smart games, check out SneeziesMust Eat Birds and Implode! XL. And don’t say I didn’t warn you about potentially becoming addicted.

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