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Operation Geek Squad

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Research

The research conducted by Ketchum on behalf of Best Buy was prompted by the Best Buy’s need to increase the number of consumers who accessed in-home and in-store Geek Squad services in the 45 launch markets across the country (The Profession and the Practice). Since the research focused on establishing awareness benchmarks for future markets for Geek Squad from the residents of Minneapolis, it can be said that this research responding to a potential problem. This is because the survey conducted by Ketchum focused on identifying an aspect of the future and not of the present. Again, by surveying future awareness benchmarks, it shows that Best Buy was anticipating that it would need to improve consumers’ awareness about Geek Squad service in the future. Basically, primary research was employed in this case. This is because Ketchum used surveys to collect the required information from the consumers. The surveys were conducted both locally and nationally.

When Best Buy embarked on utilization of Geek Squad services, it wanted to achieve increased number of customers across its 45 markets in the country (The Profession and the Practice). In order to achieve this, Best Buy developed a public relations campaign where through the assistance of Ketchum, it developed a set of objectives to achieve in its public relations campaign. The research was aimed at assisting Best buy achieve its objectives and this helped in shaping the planning process. Moreover, through the surveys conducted by Ketchum, this research helped to redefine Best Buy’s audience. This is because the surveys conducted focused on in-house and in-store consumers both locally and nationally. This shows that the audience had already been defined. Therefore, the research just assisted in redefining the audience.

Planning

Geek Squad case reveals that the results obtained from the public relations campaign exceeded Best Buy’s desired business results and unaided awareness goals. According to the plan, the public relations campaign was to help increase in-house and in-store consumer base for Geek Squad services in the 45 launch markets (The Profession and the Practice). It therefore means that there was a positive correlation between the plan and the results. This is because the results obtained from the campaign responded positively to the plan. In general terms, the Geek Squad’s plan was to increase the number of in-house and in-store consumers of Geek Squad services within the 45 launch markets in the country. However, the plan had been further broken down into more specific and measurable communication objectives. The objectives included; raising Geek squad awareness, protecting the established brand identity of Geek Squad while introducing it as anew customer service unit of Best Buy, and differentiating Geek squad from its technical support service competitors (The Profession and the Practice). The targeted audience for the campaign was in-house and in-store computer users. The strategy employed by Ketchum was popularization of Geek Squad services through public relations campaign without advertisements.

Implementation/Execution

Three tactics were used in execution of the plan. These included pitching print exclusives to media where Geek Squad brand identity and story would be showcased, executing guerilla-marketing tactics that reflected the brand’s quirkiness while sparking customer curiosity and finally, finding potential influential users and recommenders of Geek Squad services in every market to drive trial and generate word-of-mouth buzz (The Profession and the Practice). The flow of these activities was from local to national level. Based on the execution strategy employed, the transition from one activity to another was achieved smoothly and no difficulties were encountered. However, there was involvement of other organizations such as the New York stock exchange and Los Angeles’ Cineramadome in the campaign (The Profession and the Practice). Nontraditional public relations tactics were used. This included use of a live agent working on a laptop inside a giant glass box and swarms of Geek Squad signatures along heavily travelled roads and business districts (The Profession and the Practice). In general, the nontraditional tactics used in the campaign can be referred to as outdoor publicity which is a form of advertising. However, this was not part of the larger integrated communications marketing campaign.

Evaluation

Evaluation was done through an analysis of the media content used in the campaign. The results were positive and they compared positively with the objectives of the campaign. According to the media content analysis, 89% of Geek Squad coverage included key messages, every three out of five stories revealed that Geek Squad Agents were experts and Geek Squad was mentioned more than the competitors (The Profession and the Practice). This shows that all the objectives of the campaign were met, thereby reflecting success of the original strategy and planning.

Recommendation

In my own opinion, the campaign was planned and executed successfully. However, in order to improve the campaign, more methods of evaluation could have been used in order to obtain more accurate results. This would have included measuring the quantifiable outcomes against the set objectives.

If the campaign was to be executed today, I think social media could have been used in the execution process due to the high influence of social media in public relations today.

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