Valentines dayFirefly uses data on spending habits to boost Valentine’s Day shoppers for Give as you Live

Valentine’s Day is big business for UK retailers – in fact, they make millions (£595m at last full count in 2014) during this time of year. Our client, Give as you Live, is an online shopping website with a heart through which shoppers can donate to charities without spending a penny extra.   Raising awareness during retail peaks helps convert online shoppers to Give as you Live users, and as they buy something for their special day or special someone, they also make a donation to a charity of their choice.  It’s doubling the love.

Using Valentine’s Day as a hook was both a challenge and an opportunity for Firefly. The challenge was competing with many companies, including major retailers, looking to piggyback the day and sell their products. The opportunity was that this day is firmly on the media’s agenda.

With these points in mind, Firefly crafted a campaign that would stand out from others and tie into Give as you Live’s objective of increasing sign-ups. Firefly worked with Give as you Live to commission independent market research to reveal how many people are purchasing gifts, how much people are planning on spending and how far in advance they are planning gift buying. Online shoppers are spread all over the UK, so Firefly ensured that the research could be able to be split by the UK’s top cities in order to target regional titles.

These findings provided Firefly with a wealth of data to approach national, lifestyle and regional media with different story angles to generate coverage for Give as you Live. For example, the Daily Mirror reported on the news by listing the most romantic cities in the UK based on average spend on Valentine’s Day, whilst the Daily Star highlighted that we spend more on Pancake Day than on Valentine’s Day.

Wringing every ounce from the market research, Firefly targeted media in all 19 cities targeted during the research, achieving results in the likes of Edinburgh Evening News and Nottingham Post.

Firefly was able to elevate Give as you Live from other retailers looking to hijack Valentine’s Day by weaving in Give as you Live’s USP – which is a donation to the shopper’s favourite charity using the commission paid by the retailers linked to the site.

Never wanting to miss an opportunity, Firefly also knew that retail is a key audience to reach and used these findings, with a different angle, to target retail media. Give as you Live is connected with over 4,000 retailers and is always looking to grow this figure. Give as you Live featured in retail titles like Talking Retail, maintaining its presence and awareness amongst this cohort.

Firefly and Give as you Live use tools such as Google Analytics to track shoppers that reach the site as a result of PR. We know that during the campaign shopper traffic rose by 11% and transactions have increased substantially from last year. Charitable donations are still being calculated as the money flows through, but we can already see that the shopper revenue targets have been smashed due to an uplift in organic search – people typing ‘Give as you Live’ in Google – as well as massively increased sign-up conversion rates. Cupid’s arrow hit the financial targets this year!

Last Tuesday – more commonly known as Valentine’s Day – Firefly conducted what we believe to have been a first for the industry: social media matchmaking. Teaming up with our friends at PR Moment, we invited fellow PR and comms professionals to participate by tweeting us with “why they love working in PR”, using the hashtag #PRlovematch. Then, as promised, we used the tweets to create ‘PR love matches’ – matchmaking like-minded PR professionals.

This was unchartered territory for Firefly  and for the industry as a whole. While we were confident that long-standing members of our network would support our latest campaign, questions remained as to how many industry people would want to engage. What’s more – how would other agencies feel about engaging with a rival firm?

We were thrilled, therefore, when – slowly but surely – the hashtag began to populate our newsfeeds, gaining momentum as the day progressed. PR professionals of all levels and across a variety of sectors were getting in touch to tell us what they love about their jobs; from networking, to ideas, to “loads of free food”! In the process, we gained lots of new followers including future, potential recruits.

What struck us in particular, was the level of self-disclosure by the participants. One PR from a rival agency wrote that she loved her job for, “the total elation when your target picks up your story crafted with love, blood, sweat and tears and runs with it in a BIG way”; heartfelt words and a touching tribute to our profession. But would this individual have shared her personal motivations so openly had she met with a rival agency employee in person, at an industry networking event, for instance? The likelihood is that she wouldn’t – at least not during the initial encounter.

It’s prompted us to reflect on why people – and not just PRs – are happy to be so forthcoming over social media. In this case, the tweeter in question totally got the ‘just for fun’ spirit of our campaign and, happily, was one of many who did so.  It seems to speak for the online community: increasingly, social media offers a platform through which to communicate with like-minded individuals with few boundaries – competitive or otherwise.

The same can be said for the ways in which people interact with brands on social media channels such as Twitter. If the online interaction between Firefly and its peers from rival agencies was less inhibited than its offline equivalent, the same can be said for the online conversation between a brand and its audience.  In social media, the consumer is more likely to interact with – and therefore develop an experiential versus purely transactional relationship with – a brand.

Knowing how to channel this is important, and it is here that PR comes in. A good digital PR strategy will understand – and make use of – the relationship, encouraging the brand to listen to its audience. Just last week we saw a great example of a brand putting this into practise: on Wednesday, Grazia gave its readers a choice of two covers for its Big Fashion Issue, allowing the magazine to select which cover went to press via a web survey and an online Twitter poll with the hashtag #GraziaGoesLive.

It was a simple concept, but an effective one. By understanding the nuances of on-and-offline conversations, Grazia empowered its audience, encouraged opinion and – just like our Valentine’s campaign – didn’t take itself too seriously.

With 14th February fast-approaching love is definitely in the air, and PR Moment is teaming up with Firefly Communications to invite fellow PR and comms professionals to participate in the industry’s first Valentine’s matchmaking service.

Interested? Get involved on Tuesday by tweeting #PRlovematch with why you LOVE being in PR, and Firefly will match you with you PR soulmate! Whether you’re a social butterfly, avid wordsmith or social media junkie, your personal cupids at Firefly and PR Moment will trawl through the answers to find your perfect match.

If you’re seeking a life partner, hot date, a new friend or simply a bit of Twitter fun, don’t miss out! Matchmaking will commence from 8am on Tuesday 14th. In the meantime, feel free to tweet @therealprmoment or @Firefly_Comms with any questions, and get thinking about what it is you love about your job – the more crazy and heartfelt the better!

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