Oct 15, 2012

Communications Keys From Pandora: Hands On & High Touch

Tim Westergen, founder of Pandora Media, was one of the keynote speakers at PRSA this morning and he shared some amazing insights and thoughts on what has made Pandora such a huge success (they currently have over 150 million registered users!)

Tim strongly believes that word-of-mouth marketing was a key to Pandora’s success.   He also said that the cornerstone of their public relations effort is to find an opportunity to speak with someone using Pandora.   Tim provided evidence to support this by telling the audience how he has spoken at over 400 town halls across the country to speak with evangelists….these have ranged in size from 2 (in the very beginning) to more than 1000 people.

Hands-on, high-touch response also plays a role in Pandora’s communications success.  Tim noted that his team personally responds to all emails (they receive more than 80,000 each month!) further demonstrating the company’s commitment to speak with their users and drive their word-of-mouth marketing effort.

Tim shared that he believes that company’s need an icon (public face) on social media to be successful.  As a Pandora user, I have been impressed with Tim being this icon for years.  Tim mentioned the power behind this and that a few years back when copyright laws that would tremendously impact their business were in Congress, he reached out to ask his users to help.  This resulted in a flood of emails and faxes to Congress….in fact, more than the legislators received about the Iraq war — and the proposed bill was not passed.

Tim also shared some fun facts about music and his dream playlist (this is Pandora, after all!)  It included music from Ben Folds and the Beatles (Abbey Road).  Tim was very genuine and truly demonstrated why he is a great icon (and evangelist) for Pandora!

Author Leslie Brell is an account manager with PR Newswire.

We know that word of mouth is key for modern PR.  What else characterizes our profession today?  Tell us what you think PR is by tweeting your answer with the hashtag “#PRis.”

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