Beware of the Groundhog: Groundhog Day Lessons

Punxatawny PhilAs public relations officials, we are constantly on the lookout for media opportunities for clients; some even call them “PR stunts.”   February 2, aka “Groundhog Day,” is one that is often used by politicians.  Everyone wants an end to winter so why not?  The politician will get the photo op and even if the hog sees his shadow, it’s still a win right?  Well, ask New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. In 2014, when doing the Groundhog Day event, he dropped Staten Island Chuck. Not a good move. Instead of seeing a shadow, Chuck saw stars. And unfortunately, did not recover. (See links below)

What do we take away from this? First, make sure when you do a special event or media event you are well prepared. Walk through what you have to do. Talk about contingencies and if you are not comfortable with picking up a groundhog, don’t do it. The negative press that will be short term and long term can be problematic.

From a marketing perspective, Groundhog Day is cute and there are certainly campaigns and social media comments that can be used to attract some attention.  Groundhog Day is Feb. 2. This year it falls on the first Tuesday of February. Groundhog Day can be a day to actually get your marketing on track. If you have stumbled and have failed with your marketing New Years resolutions, get started again and set your goals for February. You have six weeks till spring (despite what Punxsutawney Phil, Staten Island Chuck and Malverne Mel say).Groundhog

Need some inspiration and a laugh? Watch Groundhog Day with Bill Murray and directed by the late Harold Ramis.  The marketing and life lesson here? Just ask Einstein and his famous quote on the definition of insanity: continuing to do the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  Bill Murray’s character in the movie – Phil Conners – is stuck in a day that he is forced to relive over and over and over again.  Unbeknownst to him, he is changing what he is doing every day. He may not know why at first, but eventually figures out that he has to change who he is to get the girl. After potentially living the same day over and over for years, he makes the changes and he wakes up on February 3. In marketing we have to adapt and change our messages until they resonate with target audiences. Look at what works and what does not. Make the changes and keep track.  Learn from Phil Conners and take Einstein’s advice.


New Year’s Social Media Resolutions Failing? How about a Groundhog Day Promise?

Most likely you have already forgotten or fallen short on your New Year’s resolutions. This means you are free to make a Groundhog Day Promise.  Starting on Groundhog Day, February 2nd, simply promise yourself and your business that you will create and implement a real social media marketing program for the remainder of the year.

On February 2nd, Groundhog Day, we know what is going to happen: Punxsutawney Phil, Malverne Mel and Staten Island Chuck are going to see their own shadows.  This means six more weeks of cold, snowy, wintery weather.

Unless you are a “powered hound” and you live to ski or snowboard, the thought of six more weeks of winter can be depressing.  Going to work in the dark and returning home after the sun sets for six weeks may sound gloomy, but it need not be unproductive for you and your business.  Without a shadow of doubt, the groundhog has set the stage for you.  You now have six weeks to tweak your social media marketing program.

New Year’s resolutions are for the procrastinators.  The six-week approach is much better.   Why not review, revamp and implement a real social media marketing program for your business. No more excuses and no more simply dabbling with social media: it’s time to make the commitment.  Most businesses and people think they have a social media marketing program in place already, but the truth is that most have little more than a basic presence in the social media world.

Let’s admit that by seeing his shadow, the groundhog has given us a gift — six weeks of winter to put plans in action.  We recommend you take on the following tasks over the next six weeks and predict that at the end you will have a real social media program in place.

  • Investigate what is new in social media marketing
  • Review 2010 social media marketing successes and failure
  • Determine the ROI of past social media marketing efforts
  • Establish social media marketing budgets, timelines and time allocations
  • Create a new plan for social media marketing with defined goals
  • Implement a new social media marketing plan
  • Establish ongoing systems to assess social media marketing successes and failures

If you are looking for an in-depth Six-Week Social Media Marketing Plan with a list of  tasks to undertake each week, e-mail me at  I will send you a link to a six-week program outline that you can use to implement a social media marketing program for your business or for your personal brand.

You have six weeks to keep your promise to get your social media program up and running.  The perfect target date is March 15.  This date’s easy to aim for – recall Shakespeare’s famous quote: Beware the Ides of March. The great author is referring to the date Roman Emperor Julius Caesar was assassinated at the hand of Brutus and others.   The only thing you need to fear is failure to start the process.  Social media results will to not happen overnight but by starting now you can reap rewards and real ROI in the months to come.

Like the groundhog there is no need to be afraid of your shadow and run and hide.  Make the promise that you will take the  necessary steps to implement a real and effective  social media program.  Failure to do so will see you fall behind your competition, fail to be part of the online conversation in your industry and, finally, fail to grow your business and your personal brand.   Six weeks is not a long time, but it is a long-enough time period to get the elements of a plan in place.  Make the effort, and it will pay off for months and years to come.

Let me know how you do and if you need some support along the way send me your questions.

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