Saturday, July 28, 2007

World’s Largest Advertiser Demonstrates PR’s ROI

Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest advertiser with over 400 well-known consumer brands, recently concluded an in-depth, 18-month study of their marketing tools and tactics. The result yielded a bit of a surprise. P&G found that public relations more than any other discipline provided the best return on investment within the company's vast marketing mix.

P&G developed the study to measures its PR efforts in the context of, and in relation to, all of its other marketing efforts such as advertising, sponsorships, promotions, direct response, and merchandising. The study incorporates detailed analysis, including information on cost, scope, audience, geographic markets, and possible synergy with other marketing tactics.

The result? P&G’s findings showed a greater ROI from PR than other marketing discipline in four of the six brands tested.

Given the difficulty in measuring PR’s effectiveness (this is an age-old problem and a good subject for a subsequent post) it is gratifying that a sophisticated marketer like P&G has finally put their analytical muscle behind what we in the PR field have known for a long time – that pound for pound, PR is the most effective way to market a product or service.

As always, I'm happy to hear your feedback on this article. Post your thoughts, or email me at

Monday, July 23, 2007

Advertising People are Finally getting on the PR Bandwagon (What took them so long?)

Ask any advertising “creative” person who the hot agency du jour is, and they will most likely answer Crispin Porter & Bogusky, the irreverent Miami-based firm that brought you the Burger King making a tackle in an NFL game, the Slim Jim “Snagalope” and Volkswagen’s “German Engineering in the House” campaigns.

Leaving aside the relative merits of those campaigns, what CPB’s CEO had to say last week in announcing that his firm had opened a PR division spoke volumes. Here are his words, as reported in the July 16 issue of PR Week:

“In truth, we have probably believed in PR more than advertising in terms of its power in the marketing mix. Everything that we’ve been a part of that has had any element of success has had large collaborations with PR.”

Virtually every major business book on marketing in the past several years has touted the power of PR. The most famous, of course, is the Al and Laura Reis tome The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR. A real sea-change is taking place in the marketing field. Smart marketers – including those with a stake in selling high-priced advertising campaigns – are joining the revolt. Will you get in before it has become a full-scale revolution?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Take Steps to Ensure That Your Brand is the One That You Want

When speaking to many marketing people on the subject of branding, I often hear an exasperated response along the lines of, “We don’t do any branding, and as a matter of fact we don’t even have a brand!”

I try to remind them that, of course they have a brand, because a brand is, by definition, a mark of distinction that is representative of how your product is perceived by its intended target audience. Like it or not, every organization and every product out there has a fundamental “brand” in the eyes of its consumers.

Sadly, it may not be the brand they want!

It is important to realize that the branding of your organization is happening, with or without your participation. Perceptions of your brand are being shaped through experience, word of mouth, and every public act undertaken by the organization and its people. Even though you may not be actively shaping the perceptions of your brand in the marketplace, strong (and lasting) perceptions are still being formed.

This begs the question, if you are not actively managing your brand, then who or what is?

If you are not actively shaping your intended brand message in the marketplace, then you can be sure it’s being shaped either by consumer scuttlebutt, or worse, by your competition. Either way, are you content to let someone or something other than you determine what the marketplace perceives about your organization?

An appropriate analogy might be a car hurtling down the highway. The driver has chosen not to drive (he may be napping or is busy doing something “more important”) but that does not mean the car will not arrive somewhere – it will – we just don’t know where it will arrive, how suddenly it will get there, or whether we will need a tow truck, an ambulance or a hearse to clean up the mess.

The bottom line is you DO have a brand, and it is essential that you know exactly what your consumers’ perceptions of that brand are. If you are happy with those perceptions, then your next step is to develop a strategy to defend and enhance it. If, however, you need to change your brand perception, a strategic and comprehensive program to move public perception in your favor is in order.

Consider this: Strong brands are sought out by consumers, who are willing to pay a premium for those brands (studies show that strong brands command price premiums of, on average, 7% over lesser brands).

Let me know what you think. Respond or email me at

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