By Jenny Fujita and Joy K. Miura, Fujita & Miura Public Relations

Were you as obsessed with the TV show American Idol as we were? C’mon, be honest. We took the phone off the hook when the program was on. Unabashedly, we cried with Paula Abdul when Tamyra was voted off. And we voted (one of us regretfully, only after Tamyra lost her seat).

PR tactics, including commanding a wide appeal and measuring your efforts, sang expertly (pardon the pun) as the show reaped remarkable attention. If you think only teenyboppers were interested in American Idol, think again. Commercials during the show targeted young families, children, teenagers, generation X members, and baby boomers. You don’t get much broader than that. Regarding media coverage, MTV wasn’t alone in reporting on the show. Even featured Tamyra’s oust as one of its headliner stories.

Why did American Idol create such mass appeal? Its theme of an American dream come true was something that all generations could relate to, and the element of viewer participation, which influenced that dream, increased the fascination. Next time you embark on a PR effort, think not only about targeting your primary public, but how you can reach a wider audience and get people involved.

As for measuring the results of PR efforts, Jack Bergen, President of the Council of Public Relations Firms, suggests analyzing business outcomes versus PR outputs. Meaning, rather than counting how many news releases you send out, consider how PR can tie into, and favorably impact, your business goals such as sales, employee retention, liability prevention, and customer loyalty.

And for heaven’s sake, when you’re asked to put your two cents in so someone can measure their efforts, help them out. Vote. It counts. It’s American.

This month’s column is dedicated to those who gave their lives, knowingly and unknowingly, for our freedoms. Mahalo, aloha, and a hui hou.

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