Kroll: ‘Identify the Value of Your Brand’

Cassel Kroll

For Cassel Kroll, who was recently named to the newly created position of VP of Media Strategy at Edelman Digital, it’s the Holy Trinity for PR pros grappling with how to build online communities.

First, communications execs must to determine if there’s a need in the marketplace; they then need to figure out how the site will distinguish itself in the sector and last, but certainly not least, PR pros have to identify how the site will add value to the respective audience.

Kroll, who prior to joining Edelman was director of Social Media Strategy at Mindshare, will help to build content for the 300-plus social communities that Edelman now manages. He spoke with PR News about some of the major challenges that PR pros now face.

PR News: What are the major hurdles right now for PR pros who need to align their budgeting on social channels with lead revenue and ROI?

Cassel Kroll: A good social org knows the value of positive online visibility.  Customer service, proactive engagement, sales and marketing efforts, crisis management all collide in social. Likewise, a good social agency should also have a solid understanding of how, when and why they are pulling certain paid levers to help them best achieve those goals.

PR News: From a content marketing standpoint, what are the biggest challenges for PR departments in trying to build (and sustain) online communities, regardless of the business sector?

Kroll: Sometimes the biggest challenge is determining if there is a need to build a new community, or if an existing one exists.  If one exists, the challenge is to figure out how your brand can not only organically enter and participate in the community, but also identify the value that your brand can contribute to the community.  When you can identify all three you have a winning combination.

PR News:  What's your take on the role that communicators now play in helping to meld paid media (advertising) with earned media (PR)?

Kroll: Good communicators have always been experts in crafting the story they want their audiences to hear and retell.   As paid media becomes more social by design, we’re seeing a growing overlap between what we had traditionally thought of as separate paid, owned, and earned pillars. In this growing converged media space, Paid is a great tool for reaching the right audience at the right time so that they engage with, or share, the right story you want to have told.

Real success lies in knowing not only how to craft a compelling message, but also knowing when you should pull certain paid levers to ensure your story reaches your intended audience when they are likely to engage with it.

Follow Matthew Schwartz: @mpsjourno1