The Power of PR
Oscar Wilde said that the only thing worse than people talking about you was people NOT talking about you. Al Ries couldn't agree more. Better yet, he can prove it. The message behind Ries' breakfast presentation, "The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding," is that public relations is the key to building a powerful brand. You've got to get people talking about you. The legendary strategist and author of no less than eleven books on marketing delivered indisputable proof.
Viagra, Botox, Volkswagen, Starbucks, Krispy Kreme, Harry Potter, Google, Body Shop, Linux? a seemingly endless list of multi-million dollar brands all launched with PR?and many of them barely supported with advertising. Why? Well, according to Ries, PR is far more powerful than advertising. It's got the credibility that advertising can never have. It's only logical. Who really believes ads these days? No one. Because what you say about yourself has no credibility. But PR? Ries cites Oprah's Book Club as the perfect example. Every book that Oprah picked made the New York Times bestseller list?and made the authors rich.
Ries is not saying that advertising is a waste of time and money. He says most advertisers have their priorities all wrong. You don't launch a brand with advertising. You blast it into the stratosphere with PR. Then you build sales with advertising. Heck, if advertising is so powerful, how come advertising agencies don't advertise? They certainly believe in the PR they get when they win all those awards for their creativity. Budweiser's agency won the most awards for their talking frogs and "whassup?" guys, while beer sales took a nosedive. The agency's sales have been great, thank you very much.
The key difference is that PR focuses on the new and different, while ads touch ideas that are already in consumers' minds. As Ries put it, "PR sets the nail and advertising is the hammer." The bottom line is that word of mouth is the most powerful medium. So, if you enjoyed reading this article, do me a favour and tell your friends.
Written by Rich Hammond
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