MHB WEEKLY: By the students, for the world

Jason Kintzler at the SMASH | April 12, 2011

On April 7th, 2011, the MHB program hosted a social media summit at the USC Davidson Center in downtown Los Angeles. The first-ever SMASH, or Social Media Advanced Skills Huddle, amassed industry professionals, graduate students and professors for short lectures and brainstorming huddles. In the continuing MHB Weekly coverage of the event’s distinguished speakers and key ideas, today looks at social PR maven Jason Kintzler.

Mr. Kintzler is the Chief Executive Officer of PitchEngine, a social platform for entrepreneurs, businesses and thought leaders that refashions the PR package for the web. His background in journalism gives him keen insight into the ways of earning media, and his own entrepreneurial acumen turned PitchEngine into a marketplace for some 100,000 ideas last year alone. His bird’s-eye view of the site, meanwhile, provides access to numerous successful case studies of business communications achieved online.

To explore the idea of an unconventional company using social media for publicity, Mr. Kintzler provided the example of Fat Tire — a popular alternative beer sold by the New Belgium microbrewery in Colorado. Using youth-leaning platforms like Twitter and Facebook was certainly a gamble for an alcoholic beverage — but as Mr. Kintzler explained, the company remained responsible and earnest in its emergence into the networked world. Its first move, bolstered by research that showed the beer to be difficult to locate (a sample Twitter post might read: “I love Fat Tire…but where do I find it?”), was to create a virtual map denoting liquor stores, bars and restaurants where it could be found. The ensuing Fat Tire Facebook page amassed 1,000 followers almost instantly, and now its makers have developed several playful concepts — like beer rangers, or local employees devoted to all things ale-related — that fit with Fat Tire’s lighthearted, happy-go-lucky brand image. (According to Mr. Kintzler, many of New Belgium’s employees bike to their jobs, and the workplace includes a giant slide into the “free liquid zone.”)

Mr. Kintzler travels around the country promoting, well, the world of online promotion. His speaking engagements are diverse, and his blog provides insight on how the field of public relations has and will continue to change because of emerging social networks and online accessibility. Still, as he explained, the main goals of PR remain the same: to propagate awareness of a brand as far as possible at little cost, and to protect a brand’s authenticity through all of its communicative campaigns.

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