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Porter Novelli Labs Helps Communicators Think Like Product Reviewers

NEW YORK, June 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Pitching a product for reviews coverage can be a hit-or-miss game without a full understanding of the product and its intended audience. Knowing how reviewers test products ahead of time can mean the difference between complimentary or critical media coverage. For example, when it comes to the current crop of action sports cameras, a communications professional should understand whether the GoPro HERO3 is intuitive for new users or more fitting for professional-level photographers. Or if slightly quiet audio on the Contour Plus 2 will compromise the tone of a review.

For more than 10 years, Porter Novelli has rigorously tested clients' products in its Seattle-based Porter Novelli Labs, a space dedicated to testing new technology products, using industry standard methodology. From benchmarking to troubleshooting to competitive testing, the agency gets hands-on experience with products using the same tests as the media. Teams can anticipate what will and will not resonate with media and develop outreach strategies that yield the best possible review. The process can also help identify defects or quirks that a brand can address before a launch.

"Public relations practitioners are often asked to pitch a product to the media that they haven't even seen, much less used or tested," said Karen van Bergen, CEO, Porter Novelli. "With Porter Novelli Labs, we thoroughly and expertly examine products so we can anticipate what will and will not resonate with the media. We can then prep our pitch teams with the salient points that are likely to result in complimentary reviews. That's an incredible advantage."

The Porter Novelli Labs team recently tested both the GoPro HERO3 and the Contour Plus 2. The team used the cameras in real-world settings along Seattle's Alki Beach, compared multiple resolution and frame rate settings in the Lab, and looked at unique features like Bluetooth compatibility.  

Based on their test results, the team concluded that outreach for GoPro's device should be focused on deep tech outlets and reviewers who will perform substantial quality testing and benchmarking, since more casual outlets may deem the device to be "too much camera" for the average user. Conversely, Porter Novelli Labs found that Contour's product would appeal more to new or casual users, so media that focus on ease of use would review it favorably.

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