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Gamification in Public Relations: why games are the future of PR!

Virtuality and gaming is becoming a tool that is increasingly used by public relations professionals, especially since the rise of web 2.0 and interactivity is becoming increasingly common.

Gamification is almost a result of the increase in interactivity that companies now have to adopt thanks to the changes and developments within technologies and how we use it.

Terry flew describes, “the concept of gamification has been used to describe the use of game mechanics and Game design techniques in non-game contexts, such as education, corporate training and financial management” (Flew, 2012)

Public relations is one of the professions that is finally deciding to use gamification and video games as apart of their tactics to create more interactive campaigns for their clients.

Recently some successful PR campaigns that have used gamification to get their stories across have integrated games into their public relations campaigns.

An example of this is NASA who last year launched the Space Race Blastoff, a game where players learn about the history of the company while NASA gains valuable research about their target audience.

The aim of the game was to answer 10 questions about NASA and earn up to 100 points for each correct answer. You played against other users and if you were the first to answer, you get an extra 20 points.

The game was available on Facebook, and had fun graphics that engaged the audience. The game did the duel purpose of getting NASA’s history across to the publics while also obtaining useful research about target publics for the company.

Similarly other companies in the USA have made games to build new and strong communication channels with their publics. Often building upon the online trends in social media, pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim made a game similar to Farmville, where you could make a lab and research, send things to your friends and it was all for free. It offered a great communication channel for the company to communicate with their publics, and for their publics to have fun and build a positive relationship with the company.

There is no denying that gamification has been taking over the marketing sector for some time, but if public relations can keep managing to create games where their messages can be conveyed, while the publics can have fun and engage with the company, then gamification in public relations will be a massive trend in the coming years.

Gamification isn’t just being used to target key publics in public relations, it has recently been used by the Marriot Hotel to attract and educate future or new employees on the hospitality industry. The following video explains the game and how company to attract and educate their publics used it.


The game allows you to create your own restaurant, buy equipment and ingredients and hire people, budget and train employees and serve guests.

Gamification is one of the leading trends in digital media today, and aside from educating staff, it should be used to engage with publics. In an increasingly interactive and engaged society, publics are no longer being entertained just by funny YouTube videos or quirky news stories, while those still work, they now need to have more integration with social media to be successful.

Statistically, Facebook is one of the biggest social media websites and has had games as a very successful aspect of their website for some time now. Farmville would be one of the most successful games along with candy crush to date.

In 2013, Facebook calculated that 53% of their users played the game; with over 69% playing the game being women and they had over 56 million people play daily.  (Burson-Marsteller, 2013)

That is an incredible amount of people playing the game, so we know that gamification has worked on social media, and in marketing it is now making its way into public relations, and with some practice and time, will be used widely in campaigns with success if they can engage the audience and educate their audience with the messages they are trying to convey.



Bantick, M. (2012, March 28). Video game PR a dream or nightmare job? . Retrieved March 25, 2014, from

Burson-Marsteller. (2013). Gamification. Retrieved March 25, 2014, from

Easton, R. (n.d.). The Gamification of PR workplace. Retrieved March 25, 2014, from Axicom:

Flew, T. (2014). New Media . Melbourne : Oxford University Press.

Holtz, S. (2012, Feb 1). Gamification of PR messages could be a game changer. Retrieved March 25, 2014, from Holtz Communcations + Technology :

Holtz, S. (2012, Feb 3). How three companies are using online gaming for PR. Retrieved March 25, 2014, from PR Daily :

How social media is hurting and helping the PR industry!

The digital footprint is a word that, if you have sat in on a media class at university gets thrown around a lot. “Think about your digital foot print” lecturers will most of the time tell their students, particularly the ones close to graduating, but what is the digital footprint and why is it so important to future public relations graduates.

digital footprint

The digital footprint is defined by Tony Fish as “a digital footprint is also about information that electronic device automatically add to content, location, attention, how I reached something, who sent me the content and who I sent it on to” (Fish, 2010)


This definition essentially means that our digital footprint is anything and everything we do online whether we choose to believe this is recorded or “private” is an increasing debate, especially in professions affected by the media.


Public relations is now becoming an increasingly popular profession with young school and university students, most of whom have grown up as a part of the technology generation, this means from our youth we have been using computers, phones and the internet, even the invention of social media is old enough to now be affecting our job opportunities all because of social media and our digital footprint.



Social media is seen as apart of the new wave of online interconnectedness, especially with the invention of web 2.0. But now social media is playing and increasingly important part of our life, even being able to apply or get offered jobs via LinkedIn or twitter is becoming normal, the lines between work and play are blurring. It is this converging of social media that will affect our chosen professions, if it hasn’t already affected us.


The converging of social media as described by Flew as being classed by:

  1. Dramatically reduces barriers to entry
  2. Blurring distinctions between media producers and consumers
  3. Greater empowerment of media users
  4. Potential for more personalized media environments
  5. Diversification and demassification of media content  (Flew, 2014)


It is this converging of social and alternative media that is leading to the rise in the pro-am publicist or journalist. People who might not be trained in journalism or public relations, but has some knowledge of it, and writes about it.


It has been over the past couple of years that blogging as become increasingly popular, with both university students and the like, with stay at home mum’s having an impressive readership on their parenting blog than some news articles get. But it is this interconnectedness that is both a blessing and a curse for public relations professionals.


The rise in pro-am blogging is leading to the need for more scanning on behalf of public relations practitioners, with people being able to post their opinions about any topic, we now need to know who is a viable source and who isn’t. Anyone can start and write a blog and get readers and followers, however this just increases the workload for public relations practitioners, in turn however public relations practitioners are in a greater need, not but because of bloggers but because of social media in general.


Celebrities and public figures in general have lots of public scrutiny on them, all the time. With the idea of digital footprints increasing, it is even more important for public figures or companies to have PR or some kind of form of PR. Our pasts are now erasable, especially if a friend happens to post a picture of you on Facebook while your drunk. It is now something future employers can find with the right equipment, no matter what you do to erase it.


For celebrities, the digital footprint is leading to things like naked photo scandals or their “dirty laundry” getting printed in the latest tabloid magazine, but for everyday people it is affecting their job prospects.


An article in Forbes from 2013 found that a survey on career websites suggested that 65% of employers checked social media for professionalism, about 51% searched social media to see if the candidate would be a positive fit for their company and 45 % wanted to learn more about the candidates qualifications. Essentially the study found that 89% of employers will check your social media site when employing people.(Forbes, 2013)


The moral to the story is social media is affecting our digital footprints either for better or for worse. It would be stupid for us to assume that our future employers aren’t checking our social media websites, especially if you are going to work in public relations or journalism, two professions that are heavily embedded in Web 2.0 and social media, and for the future of public relations, the digital footprint is both a blessing and a curse as is the convergence of social media and the rise in pro-am writers and bloggers.




Crenshaw, D. (2012, June 25). the 7 most amatuer mistake in PR . Retrieved March 11, 2014, from PR daily :

Fish, T. (2010). What is a digital Footprint. Retrieved March 10, 2014, from

Flew, T. (2014). New Media. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Miller, N. (2014, March 9). How Robb Lewis is helping web users erase their digital footprint with website. Retrieved March 10, 2014, from The Sydney Morning Herald :

Smith, J. (2013, April 16). How social media can help (or hurt) you in your job search. Retrieved March 10, 2013, from Forbes:

Trusty, A. (2010). Web 2.0 never forgets- developing a professional digital footprint on vimeo. Retrieved March 10, 2014, from

Collective Intelligence and It’s use in Public Relations

What is collective intelligence? And how can the Public Relations Industry use it to their advantage? These are important questions to be answered for the future of the public relations industry, especially since the diffusion of innovations and the rise in digital media over the past twenty years has seen an increase in globalization and knowledge worldwide.

Terry Flew defines collective intelligence as “Collective intelligence was a term used by Pierre Lévy (1997) and Derrick de Kerckhove (1998) to describe the capacity of networked information and computer technologies (ICTs) to exponentially enhance the collective pool of social knowledge by simultaneously expanding the extent of human interactions enabled by communications networks, and providing a vastly greater capacity to generate, codify, store and retrieve knowledge through collective access to networked databases” (Flew, 2014)

Similarly Jenkins’s identifies collective intelligence as “ an alternative source of media power, derived from the principle that none of us can know everything; each of us knows something; and we can put the pieces together if we pool our resources and combine our skills” (Jenkins, 2006)

These two definitions help us to understand just how important collective intelligence is to the public relations industry, especially with new technologies being developed everyday, the knowledge economy in which we now live in is dependent somewhat on the collective intelligence to be so successful.

An example of collective intelligence within the public relations industry would be the use of social media. With the rise of Web 2.0, social media in recent years has taken off, with even more people around the world joining social media websites like twitter and Facebook along with the invention of instagram and wine videos as well as the rise in user generated content in regards to blogging becoming news, the knowledge of how Web 2.0 works and social media is becoming increasingly important within the public relations industry as it is now a major channel of communication worldwide.

A press release from New York during 2010 stated “Social media helps public relations… executives build more new relationships across a wider landscape and in a sustainable fashion were never before possible. Social media enables professionals to maintain ongoing, quality relationships with influencers, media, customers and partners regardless of where they are” (Waddle, 2010, paragraph 3)


This quote from the Waddle press release expresses the way in which collective intelligence is now playing a major part in public relations, a career and working environment is becoming increasingly collaborative and collective work place.

Working in the modern public relations firm, or department often includes mass review, crowd sourcing, social media and other mass communication forms.

Another great example of the use of collective intelligence in public relations can also be Wikipedia, one of the worlds most recognized websites. It is an online encyclopedia, which can provide basic information, however there are flaws with this. Wikipedia can be changed by anyone, meaning the information might not always be accurate and true. This is a general downfall of collective intelligence. While the main idea is that we have a group that share their strengths and weaknesses in regards to knowledge and information, sometimes the information might be false, or those with little voice might not be heard.

The following video shows a man showing people who to set up a collective intelligence framework.  24-minute video shows what is wrong with collective intelligence particularly in regards to social media and businesses. The main thing raised is how society now is a fan or likes things. We want to know what everyone is doing every minute of every day and know what our favorite celebrities, sports stars and politicians, even people in other countries and time zones.

It is the use of the internet particularly that will benefit public relations practitioners with workplaces now being able to use tactics like webinars for staff in all locations, and are able to watch them at a convenient time to them. YouTube and Social Media as tools of communication with each other and their publics along with Google and RSS feeds making it easier to find information needed, all essentially at the touch of a button.

Public relations therefore is incredibly useful in regards to the globalization of the world and the invention on Web 2.0 and with collective intelligence thanks to Web 2.0 as well as interactive workplaces public relations will continue to expand and thrive worldwide.

Social Media Landscape


Atlee, T. (n.d.). Political Life: moving from colelctive stupidity to collective intelligence . Retrieved March 03, 2014, from

Benlker, Y. (2008). Collective Intelligence: creating a prosperous world at peace. Retrieved March 02, 2014, from

Bonabeau, E. (2009, January 09). Decision2.0: the power of collective intelligence . Retrieved March 03, 2014, from

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The Co-Intelligence Institute. (2003). Levels/realms of human collective intelligence . Retrieved March 02, 2014, from

Yeung, K. (2011, February 07). Social Media week San Francisco: Collective Intelligence Panel . Retrieved March 03, 2014, from

Knowledge workers in the public relations industry

Peter Drucker coined the term “knowledge worker” in the late 1950’s, but it is even more relevant in today’s society, with the digital convergence, people are getting more access to knowledge and information, as such news through social media.

We can now read Shakespeare on the Internet with translations and explanations instead of having to hire it out from the library and read it. We are now in a world were instant gratification is key, and our thirst for knowledge is unrestrained once when we wanted to learn a language we had to get classes, now we can simply download an app, podcast or online book with video classes and put it on our laptops, tablets or phones.

As apart of today’s society we are all in tune with digital media, we pitch a fit if there isn’t any internet access or our phone dies, but this reliance on technology while having negative effects has an extremely positive effect on the Public relations industry.

Being on of the fastest growing industries in the world thanks to the increase of digital media, Public Relations is one of the many professions that heavily relies on knowledge workers to adapt and grow their industry. As little as 30 years ago public relations was a vastly different field, with many people believing what they saw in movies or on television, with very few people actually knowing what it is we did, now there is an even bigger and better understanding, however this knowledge isn’t the only thing that has changed in the PR industry.

The tactics have had to be adapted with the ever-increasing globalization of the world, along with the increase in knowledge it was essential that industries related to the media can adapt and learn. Traditionally PR professionals needed good writing skills, communication skills, media relations be proactive and have strong work ethic and attention to details, but not they are also expected to know about blogging, social networking, search engines, coding and social media ethics to name a few. (Fleet, D, 2009) The roles have evolved with the evolution of the Internet and digitalization and convergences off digital platforms, if public relations professionals weren’t knowledge workers than they wouldn’t have adapted.  It can even be argued that Public relations is one of the most important knowledge worker industries, with typical roles of a knowledge worker being explained in the video below.

Knowledge workers are therefore summed up as being people that go above and beyond just doing what they are told, they ask why? So why does this apply to the public relations industry? Within the knowledge economy which is dominated by the increase and thirst for knowledge along with the increasing globalization of the current world society that is contributing to the growth of the knowledge worker it is vitally important therefore that the public relations industry be at the forefront, along with medicine, journalism, media, law and politics are all sectors that have been traditionally associated with thinkers, now thinking and a thirst for knowledge is now an essential skill, no longer a bonus but a requirement.

In public relations it is essential that you can adapt, and know what is happening, what is the latest in social media technology? What trends will affect public relations in terms to digital advancements, trends in society, and trends in knowledge learning. It is essential to keep ahead of the trends, to keep learning and keep ahead of the digital world, particularly when the world is becoming and ever increasing integrated digital society. Public relations therefore fits perfectly into the knowledge economy, they are in the business of telling people about their clients, about messages they need to know. As such public relations can most definitely be considered as apart of the knowledge economy of the ever-increasing globalized world.



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