4 PR uses for the iPad

I’ll admit it, I’m a Apple fanboy. Not a huge one, but definitely a fanatic. But, I will also say I’ve been more than pessimistic about the newly launched iPad in more ways than one (despite reviews like this from Engadget).

Yes, Apple has a history of creating a market for its products, but I couldn’t get my head around how I’d actually use the iPad. More importantly, how would this tool benefit me in my business?

So, you could label me skeptical at best.

Then, I had the opportunity to play with an iPad a bit a couple weeks ago as they officially unveiled the product to the world. I wasn’t necessarily hooked–but I was pretty close.

I already have a MacBook as my primary business tool. It’s my life-link. But, after playing with the iPad for 10 minutes, I knew I’d most likely be purchasing one inside a few months.

But forget about me for a moment. I’m just one consumer. What can the iPad for for us as PR practitioners and communicators? My mind started to wander a bit. And, I got a little excited.

I started to think about the possibilities. At first glance, after playing with the tool for a very brief time and reading a bit about it, here are a few potential ways we might be able to use a tool like the iPad to the benefit of the clients we represent:

Help activating brands at local events. Does your brand have a presence at local sports, music or other events? Think about how a passable, larger device like the iPad could help. You could use them to sign up customers and potential customers to follow your brand on Facebook or Twitter. Or, what about showcasing your newest video or product demo on the fly? Since it’s a bit larger than an iPhone and smaller and more portable than a Macbook, ideas like these now become a reality.

A wonderful complement to your existing client presentation tools. You’re in the pitch meeting. You have the Powerpoint (or, maybe Prezi) deck up on the big screen. You’re walking through your key ideas. One idea involves an interactive web or social app you’re suggesting. Wouldn’t it be great to pass around an iPad that could demonstrate the power and usefulness of this app right in the meeting. Using the iPad, your prospects could literally touch and feel the app–instead of just watching it more passively up on the screen.

An instant guerrilla marketing tool. The iPad has instant potential on the guerrilla marketing front–not just for the novelty, but for the functionality. Think about it. Organizing a street performance on Nicollet Mall (sorry, had to go local for a second)? After the skit, why not have a few folks with iPads walking around asking folks if they’d be interested in signing up for our e-newsletter or following your brand on Facebook for more information? Again–it’s interactive and you could pass the iPad easily to the potential customer so they could sign up and interact all on their own.

Better mobile research and monitoring. At an on-site event all day without access to your laptop? Most of us have found ourselves in this precarious position at one time or another. And, as a result, we rely heavily on our smart phones. While mobile, you often need to be keeping an eye not only on mainstream media, but also social channels. Doesn’t the iPad make that work a little easier? For starters, with a much bigger screen, the iPad is easier to read, obviously. But, it’s also shareable–think about handing your client an iPad to monitor Tweetdeck or Hootsuite as their new product hits the streets. You’re not handing them your personal phone (less risk)–you’re handing them a company paid-for (maybe) device. Much easier, right?

What other uses to you see for PR pros and communicators?

Photo credit: iLounge, FlickR Creative Commons

2 comments
Mike Maney
Mike Maney

Great post with some great ideas. My *only* issue, though, is that the iPad -- while still smaller than a laptop and bigger than an iPhone -- remains a form factor that doesn't fit in your pocket. If I'm out and about, I'm carrying an iPhone in my pocket, not schlepping a backpack to the movies or dinner. For most situations, the iPad is still the equivalent to the laptop.