Because public relations is not advertising, I often get asked to define PR. The short answer is: PR is a dynamic function that allows a brand to drive greater visibility, credibility and connectivity with various audiences. The best way to illustrate this is through an actual project Spaulding Communications recently completed for one of its clients.
Spaulding Communications played an important role in the launch of American Seating’s newest commercial seating product called the Us® Chair. Our primary role was to develop the press release and all related materials needed to promote the product to the media. After researching the product’s background and conducting extensive interviews with the product’s engineers and designers, we developed a tightly written press release, a one-page product fact sheet and Q&A documents that provided greater insight into the product’s design. Together, these media materials served a number of different functions and helped create greater visibility, credibility and connectivity. For example:
Visibility – The media documents (as well as photography) were distributed to trade outlets and via social media. As a result, the Us Chair was featured in numerous targeted magazines and websites increasing its visibility well beyond the few ads that were also placed to promote the product. What’s more, content from the media materials we created – including brand messages, quotes, etc. — were used in the development of the product’s microsite, www.uschairfamily.com. This smartly designed microsite further increased the chair’s visibility.
Credibility – Unlike a paid ad, an article in a respected publication can generate instant credibility for a product or a brand. With the media placements we secured, the new Us Chair gained well-deserved credibility among the design and architect community it was designed for. Adding further credibility, the product also received a 2012 GOOD DESIGN award and an honorable mention for another high profile industry award. The language and content used in the submission of those award entries were derived from the media materials we created, thus providing even greater efficiency and value to our client. Finally, the Us Chair was featured on the cover of an important trade magazine. Of course, no amount of advertising can buy a cover spot, let alone generate the kind of credibility that comes with it.
Connectivity – The materials we developed and the results generated enabled American Seating to create greater “touch points” and connectivity with its various audiences. For example, news about the media coverage was communicated via an e-blast to the company’s sales force. Specifiers and designers were alerted to the award recognitions through American Seating’s social media efforts and a newsletter. Lastly, the stunning magazine cover placement was converted into a collateral piece which the company is now using as a marketing tool at trade shows and in sales efforts.
Advertising certainly has its place in the marketing mix. But no other discipline has the robust ability to drive visibility, credibility and connectivity like PR. I hope this example of just one project better explains what PR is, what it can do and the value it can bring.
Let me know your thoughts.
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