Fight the terror of empty PR

Imagine the perfect pirate. They are different and rebellious, they do edgy stuff, and they are always fighting the status quo, right? We think PR needs that same spirit - we must go back to fighting for a cause. That's why we are launching a Pirate Manifesto for PR. It's a call to arms for all communications professionals and journalists to join us and declare a war. A war on the empty message.

A good example of PR

One good example of what we are promoting comes from - an activity tracker that encourages users to move at least 30 minutes each day. They have created visuals of cities based on usage data of their users. See their gorgeous visualizations of Amsterdam for walking, running, biking and public transport. - Amsterdam cycling pattern
  • png - Amsterdam walking pattern
  • png - Amsterdam public transport pattern
  • png - Amsterdam running pattern
  • png's visualizations of their users' movement

Not only have they created nice visuals, they have created a full campaign site around movement data in cities around the world. See the link below for realtime tracking of 900 cities around the world and how they rank compared to each other. 

Favicon for Human Cities

The beauty of this campaign is that it is so close to their core purpose: getting people to move more and showing how people in their city are moving, right now. It's interesting and relevant to their potential users and it inspires people to join the movement. The icing on the cake is when they did the same for Burning Man and showed the temporary city as it was during the event.

Burning Man 2015.png
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The campaign works well because it's close to the brand's purpose, it's relevant to local cities around the world, and it's timeliness in realtime data and the visual stunning images make it easy to share. It also works wonders with current events like Burning Man.

A bad example of PR: Runkeeper's balloon animal

Another activity tracker Runkeeper does a lot of things right: they are very good in their community building and they very actively engage with their users. It's a refreshing example of customer engagement. However recently they changed their logo from what is referred to as 'the Dude' logo to 'the Balloon Animal' logo. See below:

Screenshot 2015-09-29 14.26.00.png
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There have been many discussions about the quality of the new design, and we'll leave that to the experts. The interesting thing is that the thinking behind the change is noble - be more inclusive to the women in their user base (since their old logo was a guy, doh!).

The point is not about the logo or whether the word is ugly or not. Even the reason behind the change can be good - however what does a changed logo actually do for a user of Runkeeper? Will their female users be helped? Will their experience be improved?

The answer is almost certainly not. Just another uninspiring release on PR Newswire and a blog post full of jibberish.

We don't care about your logo change

There's a big contrast here between these two companies, both are in a similar space and both have a clear purpose: to help people live more healthy. However one is actually showing how they are doing that with data and an interesting way to visualize it. And the other is changing it's logo to say it wants to connect more with a specific demographic. 

So, well done This is a nice way to combine your purpose with execution - we hope you get the deserved exposure. Please show us more.

As for Runkeeper, we like your thinking but without something to back it up it's just fluff. The intent is there but that is no longer enough - you've got to show your intent in something of value. 

Purpose and execution lead to exposure

A changing logo could still generate (some) exposure if you're Google, SONOS, or in this case, Runkeeper. However for most smaller companies this is not news, and will not get exposure on its own. Better to go back to figuring out what is valuable to your users and start creating stories from that purpose in a way that resonates. Eventually it will give you the exposure you want.

And in the meantime: you're creating something interesting and not empty.

Join the fight against the terror of empty PR

Like what you read? Agree with us to declare a war against the empty message in PR? Be sure to read our Pirate's Code of Conduct and sign the manifesto!

Favicon for A Pirate's Manifesto for PR

About builds (corporate) websites and software for the world's fastest-growing companies, including Just Eat Takeaway, WeTransfer, Remote, Dolby, and Polaroid. takes the spin out of public relations by equipping organizations with the right software, knowledge and partners to communicate transparently and build relationships based on trust, as consumers increasingly expect companies to operate ethically.

With's websites, journalists, customers, investors and other stakeholders get an in-depth view of an organization's mission, values, actions and developments. The platform helps organizations publish news, manage their international PR strategy, manage their contacts, do outreach and stream events online. In addition to technical support, customers get invaluable content support through one-on-one consultations and master classes from PR experts. has donated their services to dozens of NGOs, including the Dutch National Food Bank Organization, the Dutch Council for Refugees, and ReNature.

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