I feel privileged to be of the Toronto folks selected to spread the word about Virgin America’s new TO/LA or SF flights. Actually, when I first got the email offerng a ticket, I thought it was a scam. It wasn’t!
So here I am, in-flight, and posting from 30,000 feet (or so). OK, I know this is no moon walk, but it’s feels pretty amazing being connected up on high.
What do I think of Virgin America?
Well, they’re friendly and helpful – from check-in to the gate to the plane – and they have a more casual and humourous attitude than some of the other airlines I fly. You see it in the FAA-required info video, produced as a quirky animation (‘if you’re one of the .00001% of the population that doesn’t know how to buckle a seatbelt, here’s how you do it…’). From a design perspective, the interior reminded me of an old house renovated and modernized with stylish colours and accents. I liked having the option of chatting with people in other seats via the AV system – not that I did. And of course, there’s the wi-fi… Would I fly it again? I guess I should really wait till we land before answering, but I so far absolutely. Would I recommend it to people? Yes.
As I was sitting in the airport waiting to board and thinking about my post, it occurred to me that it would be the result of being pitched and, like a media person PR firms invite to an event, there was a reciprocal, if implicit, expectation in place. I would receive the free trip and, in exchange, hopefully be motivated to share my experience.
I first heard about this concept of reciprocity from author and psychologist Robert Cialdini. The essence is simple: if I give you something, you will feel an obligation to give me something in return.
And really that’s the core of media/blogger relations. We provide a story/information/news and hope that we get editorial coverage. I also wondered whether the reciprocity might make me (or anyone) a little kinder in my review (they gave me something after all). Probably.
Because so many PR people are blogging, we often find ourselves on the other side of the request. (We talked about this on Inside PR 2.13.) And this gives us an opportunity to experience what a pitch feels like. I always suggest that young practitioners try their hand at being published (and yes blogs count!) so they can gain an understanding of a journalist’s perspective more clearly. And hopefully, by empathizing and learning we will improve our approach.
But back to the matter at hand. I’m ready for more pitches and I sure do like cars :).