Take a Page from Amazon’s Playbook

by | Dec 3, 2013 | Public Relations

I admit, I’m a nerd. Watching 60 Minutes on a Sunday evening is something I’ve done all my life. My parents watched it when I was growing up with our one television set with its three channels, and it’s comforting. Who didn’t find Morley Safer comforting? I digress.

If you caught this last Sunday evening episode (12/1/13), you found yourself mesmerized by the efficiency of Amazon.com‘s distribution centers; how quickly they pick and ship your packages; and CEO Jeff Bezos. During the report, Bezos kept touting that he had a surprise. My husband and I were hooked. We’re loyal Amazon shoppers, and Amazon is quite the innovator.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about by now, you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past couple days. Bezos unveiled the “Octocopter,” a drone that will deliver packages to customers within 30 minutes of purchasing. That’s right, drones! This is something Amazon was prepared to demonstrate. The company had B-roll footage available for CBS, complete with a branded drone and “Amazon Prime Air” box. 

Why am I writing about this? Who cares? Even Bezos said, optimistically, that this service would not be available for four to five years.  Well, the public relations windfall is tremendous. During the biggest online shopping weekend of the year and the day before Cyber Monday, Bezos reveals a far-fetched idea that has to go through the Federal Aviation Administration for approval. The far-fetched idea has fueled America’s imagination. Let’s look at the PR windfall.

  • Gnip reports that Amazon was mentioned 600,000 times on Twitter during the first half of Monday, up from the 366,000 usual mentions.
  • AdAge reports that one 30-second spot during 60 Minutes is worth $100,000. A 14-minute spot is worth millions.
  • The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Mashable, ABC World News, Inside Edition and many others have all reported on Amazon and the drone.

Even Amazon can’t buy the kind of publicity they’ve garnered from the off-the-wall introduction of the drone delivery prototype. They’ve captured our imaginations and set the news world on fire. 

What can we learn from this? Timing and preparation is everything. You may not have a Cyber Monday to leverage, but you may have an event, partnership weekend, or annual appeal. A major announcement surrounding your organization’s crucial events causes quite the coup. And being prepared with video and/or pictures doesn’t hurt either. 

We all aren’t Amazon, but we can learn a lesson from its playbook.

(AFP Photo/Amazon)