I always wanted to go into advertising. I was a musician who could easily write catchy radio jingles and produce the music to go along with them, so I thought that’s probably how it would go. But a funny thing happened on my way to the ad agency, advertising kinda stopped working. 🙁
And you see, I’m a big fan of things actually working, not just looking or feeling like they do. The appearance of marketing-looking work is NOT marketing in my opinion. The RESULTS are. And the thing that works the best for me (and my clients) is public relations. Good old PR.
PR is a tough one to describe in 2019 mainly because there has been quite a blurring of marketing disciplines in the digital age. But, here’s a really good way to keep it straight. PR is fundamentally about trust and credibility. And no other marketing arrow is gonna give you that. Not advertising, not promotions, not events, not social media —only PR.
And we live in a world where trust and credibility are at all-time lows, but somehow no one in the entire marketing profession wants to talk about that. Because marketing is actually the villain in that story.
Smoke, exaggerations, hype and just outright lies are the tools of some marketers, and we as consumers (both b2b and b2c) have learned from a very early age that they are NOT to be trusted. If trust is the goal, none of these paths will get you there. They won’t.
Now, some people (even PR people) will say PR’s primary role is “brand awareness”and “we don’t want to be measured by sales and things we cannot control.” LOL. Ok. Brand awareness is good, but the real treasure we’re seeking is trust and credibility. Because without those things, you aren’t selling a darn thing to anyone.
PR looks for credible and trustworthy messengers (media, analysts, influencers) to take our clients’ messages to their audiences and somehow transfer that trust to us. That’s the whole game right there. And it REALLY works. One of my clients recently SOLD OUT of two complete runs of a very cool product simply because we put the gadget on TV, radio, online and lots of credible people were saying “Wow, this is super cool — you have to have this.” …And so they did.
Now I love advertising. I love the control, the power, the creativity — everything about it. Except the fact that it just doesn’t deliver very much value except in a supporting role. The star of the marketing show in the trust-free world of today must be PR.
And we are SO much more than simple brand awareness. We do something that simply cannot be done in any other way. We systematically EARN trust and credibility for brands, which leads to sales and growth and all of the good stuff. And maybe, done in this way, marketing doesn’t have to be such a villain after all?