Blogs  / June 10, 2015

Rick Liebling On The Power of 3: PR + Social + Tech

by Team Onclusive

It’s been said that three is a magic number and when you stop to think about it, some of the best things in life really do come in 3’s.

Three-piece suits…three little pigs…three sheets to the wind…ok, maybe not that last one, but you get my drift.

In an effort to channel the power of three, we’re taking you on video exploration of the convergence of PR, social media, and technology.

To lead our triumvirate travels, we enlisted Unmetric’s Head of Global Marketing, Rick Liebling. A veteran marketer with more than 15 years of agency experience, Rick currently heads Unmetric’s marketing initiatives across the brand, product, and content communication strategies.

The long-time former PR practitioner turned global marketer is rocking at the center of social, PR, and tech, which make him uniquely qualified to speak on the shifts driving the landscape.

Rick operates under the firm belief that the vast amounts of PR and social media data available can be used to not only optimize all current efforts, but should also inform future decision-making across marketing. HEAR HEAR!

We sat down for a candid (and enlightening) conversation with Rick where he graciously shared his thoughts around how social analytics, PR measurement, and innovative technology can work together to demonstrate bottom line business impact.

Here are just a few of the tasty tidbits Rick offered up. All the videos are under 3 minutes and chock full insightful takeaways from one of the best in the biz.


On integrating social media into the greater PR/comms strategy:

Rick Tip #1: Bring social media into the conversation early and involve them in the entire process from creative brief to ideation.

On the roles social media and PR play in the greater marketing mix:

Rick Tip #2: Social media and PR are the foot soldiers for marketing. They are your “boots on the ground.” Use their inherent speed and connectivity to consumers and the media to push out messages and garner feedback.

On a time when social data impacted PR activities:

Rick Tip #3: Social has ample opportunities to uncover engaged demographics. PR can then use that insight look for media outlets that service that same demographic. They are complementary in so many ways.

On which metrics social media and PR should tout to secure their seat at the table:

Rick Tip #4: Start with campaign goals and objectives and don’t get wrapped up in the danger of trying to measure everything. Avoid analysis by paralysis.

On the bottom line:

Rick Tip #5: We need a broader definition of what the bottom line is when it comes to PR and social media. They each execute and own areas that without a doubt impact the bottom line.

And just in case that wasn’t enough, here’s some more Liebling wisdom for you to ruminate on.

Onclusive: Name 2 powerful metrics in social. Name 2 powerful metrics in PR. What can looking at these metrics together reveal that viewing them separately won’t?

Rick Liebling: Let’s say the objective was generating awareness of a new movie during the Super Bowl. For social, you might look at hashtag usage on and social shares of the trailer on YouTube. From a PR perspective you might track the number of stories about the trailer and the sentiment of those stories.

Independently, these metrics give you only half the picture. We’ve all seen movies that were panned by critics do well at the box office, and films with good reviews fail to catch on with moviegoers. Using social and ‘traditional’ PR metrics together paints a fuller picture of the potential for a film’s success.

If one set of metrics is outperforming the other, new strategies and tactics might help get both sides aligned. Perhaps recutting the trailer to highlight what the critics liked or creating new pitch angles talking about phenomenal online buzz can be leveraged.

Onclusive: Cultivate community, stimulate conversation, elevate brand awareness…all of these are areas traditionally affected by PR and social media. What are some new areas PR and social can affect that people might not be aware of?

RL: Today’s marketer can no longer work in a silo, simply waiting for the product team to unveil its latest creation. Nor can it simply hand marketing materials over to the sales team and say, “good luck.” The modern marketer must align their efforts with all aspects of business.

For example, understanding social customer service data can have far reaching effects. Should more people be hired? Should existing reps be trained on social? How will new hires and/or training work within existing budgets?

In other cases, social may not provide new information as much as it provides information quickly and cost-effectively. Previously, a brand might do focus groups in a dozen cities asking consumers about possible new soda flavors. Now, a poll on Facebook may yield valuable information not only about the flavor, but potential product names as well.

Of course whenever we speak of data it’s worth remembering the famous quote originally attributed to A.E. Housman, regarding the dangers of those who rely too much on data, “they use it as a drunkard uses a lamp post, for support rather than for illumination.”

See? We told you he was insightful.

Be sure to follow Rick for insights and updates on the changing social media and PR landscape and let us know what you think about his wise words by tweeting to @Onclusive.