Thursday, December 18, 2008

Publicity + PR

[Today's post is by Laura Schmidt of the R+K's Public Relations practice]

I posted a couple of days ago (here) about the Diet Pepsi and Burger King ads (here) that are gaining a lot of publicity for their somewhat taboo approach to marketing. At the time, I promised to offer more insight into R+K’s point of view. Three points regarding publicity and PR – good and bad – for your consideration:

  1. PR is not publicity. Publicity, which generates consumer awareness, is only one function of public relations. A public relations campaign might include media relations, yes, but it also might solely be about public affairs, crisis communications, internal relations, events or message development and delivery.
  2. Publicity is about getting attention. PR is about influencing opinion. While a straight publicity stunt might gain public attention of a product, person, service, cause or organization, PR is meant to change public opinions and behaviors. At R+K, we dig deeper to identify credible insights and uncommon solutions to challenges that resonate with consumers, ultimately inspiring them to take action.
  3. Bad PR is bad PR. It’s a blessing and a curse, I suppose, that PR offers third-party credibility that other marketing approaches don’t. Why? It’s great for your brand or organization when you generate legitimate exposure among important, influential audiences. But your PR efforts can easily backfire when those same credible sources question, discount or attack you.

Need more food for thought? Check out our consumer education and advocacy Web site at

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