When she was ten years old, Zoe Averianov placed a note in a bottle and cast it adrift from the deck of a ferry bound from Hull, England.
Almost a quarter of a century later, her message made the news when it washed up on a dike in Oosterschelde in the Netherlands, and a beachcomber sent a reply.
Charming though it is, what could this soft story tell us about PR in the digital communications age?
- Be patient. Building momentum for campaigns takes time, and solid business reputations take years to develop.
- Know your audience. Study the decision makers and influencers in your target market so you’ll know how to reach them most efficiently (which is not necessarily the quickest way).
- Beware of big media. The larger the outlet, the more likely your message will be lost at sea.
- Watch out for currents. If you’re swimming upstream, your job will be hard, but if the zeitgeist is right, remember that time and tide wait for no one.
- Keep trying and don’t underestimate the power of luck. As the Roman poet Ovid put it in Ars Amatoria, “Casus ubique valet, semper tibi pendeat hamus. Quo minime credas gurgite, piscis erit” or “Chance affects everything. Let your hook always be cast. In the pool where you least expect it, there will be a fish.”