Observing the "Occupy Wall Street" protestors first-hand this weekend, one wouldn't think that this leaderless, disparate, unorganized group of no more than a few hundred people is a movement which would garner reaction from the White House, Republican Presidential candidates, and capture national media attention.
The simple truth is that as these protests begin their 3rd week, one can expect that this group will attract increasing media attention in the days and weeks to come. This group understands Public Relations and is capturing attention by understanding a series of key elements necessary to capture public attention.
- Authenticity: As I outline in my new PR book: "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations" authenticity is key. We are living in a time where America -- across the board regardless of political stance is Anti-establishment and few view big business as real and trustworthy. From failed bank loans to Bernie Madoff, the media has made noise surrounding "bad" unauthentic people, and these street protestors, seemingly idealistic can be seen as authentic and the real deal. Media naturally can't ignore these demonstrations in the heart of Wall Street.
- Conflict: The protestors thus far have engaged confrontation with the police department, which invites drama -- and encourages a situation which the media has to cover. They are waiting for the confrontation and won't miss police officers swinging clubs, or mass arrest. Regardless of numbers, conflict makes for great media.
- Timing & Theatre: Following a summer where the media has been focused on street protests in the Middle East and elsewhere, these protestors are using catchy slogans and understand street theatre. The timing is right -- Cairo, Libya and Greece all had it -- how can the media now not report in the "people" speaking out on Wall Street?
A necessary component of any PR campaign is to "play to your strengths" and the protestors are playing the PR game precisely as it needs to be played, and are using many golden PR rules the right way -- capitalizing on creativity, timing and authenticity. Regardless if one feels that this is "class warfare" or supports these protestors, they aren't likely to be fading away from media attention anytime soon. They understand PR.
Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a top 25 US PR firm, and author of a just released PR book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations" which is available for purchase at: http://www.amazon.com/Immediate-Release-Deliver-Game-Changing-Relations/dp/1936661160