Why is Public Relations Better than Plain Advertising


Although I still believe there’s an area for advertising as a brand maintenance or brand affirmation tool, i’m convinced that to create a brand today, you would like PR. At just one occasion advertising did build brands. But this was during a simpler America. That America, sadly, is not any more.

I’ve been re-reading the autumn Of Advertising & the increase Of PR, by Al and Laura Ries, and it’s their book that has moved me from suspicion of advertising’s demise as a brand-builder to conviction.

As the Ries’ say, “Publicity is that the nail, advertising is that the hammer.” What does this mean? It means your PR effort helps make your message believable in order that your advertising will have credibility when it hits.

Typically, companies want to hit the market hard and make tons of noise. Advertising allows you to launch quickly, control the message, and have your message in as many media as you’ve got the cash for. However, that doesn’t mean your message are going to be believed. The louder advertisers yell, the less likely i’m to believe them. How about you?

PR takes time and doesn’t necessarily work on your schedule. Planting new ideas or changing minds may be a slow process. When your PR program rolls out over a extended period of your time , prospects have time to regulate their attitudes. Brands that take this approach are longer lasting, too.

Chevrolet, for years the amount one auto brand, was still favorite in ad spending in 2001. It spent $819 million dollars – 39 percent quite Ford spent. That year, Ford outsoldevrolet by 33 percent. Since 1997, Chevrolet has outspent and undersold Ford. Chevrolet spends $314 per vehicle and Ford spends $170 per vehicle. does one think advertising is functioning for Chevrolet?

Kmart, embroiled in financial difficulty for years, had revenues of $37 billion and spent $542 million on US advertising in 2001. Wal-Mart spent $498 million and garnered fourfold the revenue: $159 billion split between its Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores. the typical Wal-Mart store does $46 million in sales annually while its Sam’s Club average store sells $56 million. Sam’s Club does almost no advertising.

Those are old brands, you’re saying. What about some newer brands, Harry?

OK, let’s check out Pets.com. Remember the dog sock puppet that starred in their commercials? It won awards, but not sales. In six months Pets.com had $22 million in revenues and spent fourfold that much on advertising. Off-base advertising creativity at work.

The Body Shop was built totally by publicity. No advertising in the least . Starbucks, until recently, did virtually no advertising. it’s built a brand through good PR efforts. Starbucks’ annual sales are around $1.3 billion, while advertising expenditures over 10 years, have totaled but $10 million.

Finally, what ad agency does one know that has built its brand with ads? Things that cause you to go “hmm.”

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