Marketers who want to grow their brands in these challenging times are looking to public relations to do more of the work and many are expanding their use of grassroots promotion, PR, events and multimedia marketing.
Marketers should be demanding big ideas that engage with their consumers - in multi-dimensional ways. The era of forcing a message onto the consumer is long gone. This where PR is so effective.
PR that integrates with your above- and below-the-line campaigns will get the best results. And will ensure you get a hearty ROI from your communications budget.
PR supports your above-the-line comms in two ways. Firstly, it is a highly effective preface to your advertising. “If you're introducing a new brand, a brand extension, news about an existing brand or a even launching a new campaign about your brand, then PR should always be included in the mix to add credibility to your above the line messages. Then allow the advertising to sustain its growth,” suggests Michael Gullan, MD of Gullan&Gullan Advertising.
Secondly, PR is successful in backing-up your advertising. “Post launch, marketers still have to provide solid information about brands, upon which consumers can make rational buying decisions and PR is highly effective in getting a trusted expert - a journalist - to explain what your brand is all about,” adds Gullan.
The most effective brand communications work together to nurture relationships between your existing consumers and strike up a new relationship with potential consumers. Such relationships will result when your communications - and their core ideas - transcend individual mediums. “What's important is that they all work together in a brand-centric™ manner to give a unified message to your target audience or any sector of your stakeholders,” adds Gullan.
Here are some reminders of the foundations of PR's success:
1. Media coverage increases credibility
Paid advertising increases your brand's awareness and your target market's recognition, while media publicity increases credibility. When your target market reads a story about the excellence of your brand online, in the press or hears about it on the radio, they are much more likely to have a positive reaction to your advertising and your brand.
2. Media coverage helps you attract "quality" prospects
As Public Relations increases credibility, it helps you attract those who want the best. When people have heard of your brand and have a favourable impression of it, it is easier to attract and hold their attention while you communicate your brand messaging.
3. Media coverage turns your brand into a player
Editorial coverage in important publications or broadcast mediums will enhance your brand's credibility and position it as a player.
4. PR gets a better ROI on your marketing budget
Your PR practitioner should get you more added value from the media in which you are placing your advertising spend. Also, a professional and highly networked team should syndicate newsworthy releases - written to the highest quality and relevant to the specific medium and their readers.
“Growing your brand requires multiple solutions. No one medium can do it all. PR is a powerful tool - especially in collaboration with other mediums - in preempting and supporting your messaging to ensure greater reach and greater results,” concludes Gullan.
Michael Gullan is the Managing Director and founder of Gullan&Gullan Advertising (Pty) Ltd. Gullan&Gullan's propriety brand-centric™ methodology forms the basis of every communication service ensuring that brand equity is enhanced through congruent, consistent expression at every touch point from the board of directors, to staff, to customers and in the media. www.gullanandgullan.com, , +27 11 887 6591.
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