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Creating Consumer Value: Public Relations and the New Brand Strategy

Creating Consumer Value: Public Relations and the New Brand Strategy

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Published by CouncilPRFirms
This research paper makes a compelling case for public relations in this age of “self-empowerment and self-assertion on the part of consumers.” Published in May, 2009
This research paper makes a compelling case for public relations in this age of “self-empowerment and self-assertion on the part of consumers.” Published in May, 2009

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Published by: CouncilPRFirms on Nov 02, 2010
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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A White Paper from the Council of Public Relations Firms
May 2009
Creating Value:Public Relations and theNew Brand Strategy
lmost a decade ater Al and Laura Ries boldlyproclaimed the “all o advertising,” it’s becomepainully apparent that traditional advertisingno longer works quite so well as it used to.
In act, withsocial media and peer-to-peer infuence starting to aectthe ortunes o companies in obvious ways, commentatorsare now wondering whether marketing itsel is obsolete,even whether “customer service” or “listening” is the “newmarketing.”
 This isn’t merely idle talk; marketers areincreasingly shiting their dollars away rom TV and othertraditional mass media and toward options like online. They are also dabbling with increasing sophistication insocial media vehicles like Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. The rise o social media has gone hand in hand with abroader shit toward increased sel-empowerment andsel-assertion on the part o consumers. What someobservers miss, though, is the extent to which such a shitcalls into question the basic parameters o the company-customer transaction. Consumers don’t merely want to belistened to or their own sake; they air their views—andexpect businesses to listen—so that companies can thenprovide them with better value or their dollar. Valuethinking is everywhere, and not merely because o therecession. As one recent study ound, 83% o Gen-Xersand 91% o Boomers reported that a brand’s ability toprovide more value was an important actor in theirdecision to switch brands, and large majorities also citedother value-oriented reasons like the new brand being“better than the one they had been using” and “lowerpriced.”
In another study, almost 60% reported that abrand’s ability to provide “better value or the money” was“extremely important when considering purchase” o anew ood, beverage, or personal/household care product.
A new model o marketing is emerging. No longer ismarketing just a ‘communications discipline’ oreven a ‘dialogue discipline’ that explains brand benetsto consumers.
We at the Council of Public Relations Firms believe thatmarketing activities themselves must deliver enhancedvalue – tangibly contributing to the consumer’spositive brand experience.
 Today the marketplace isrejecting conventional mass-media advertising becauseconsumers don’t eel it adds value. To the contrary, manybelieve its constant, repetitive presence actually corruptsthe brand experience and erodes value.Winning companies are increasingly eschewing advertisingand instead deploying social and conventional media inways designed to enhance the perceived value they deliverto customers. In recognition o consumers’ newoundpower, enhancing value now involves embarking on a
project o creating goods and services that betterserve consumers’ needs at an equal or lower price. Thiswhite paper explores seven areas in which companies havebegun to squeeze out more value or consumers throughmarketing. In each o these areas, the public relationsindustry and dedicated PR agencies in particular areproving themselves uniquely equipped to spearheadcorporate value-enhancing eorts. Experts in the latestsocial media, public relations agencies help companies addconsiderable amounts o value or consumers in disciplinesas diverse as customer service, business ethics, promotions,and many others. And public relations agencies do it moreeciently than traditional ad agencies, providingextraordinary bang or your marketing buck.Public relations has a rich, proven history o enhancing abrand’s experiential and social value. As consumerstransorm today’s marketing environment – seekinggreater value or their hard-earned dollars – publicrelations is emerging as the marketing discipline that’sright or the times.
Creating Value: Public Relationsand the New Brand Strategy
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One creative way companies are providing perceivedadded value is by oering a useul product or serviceabove and beyond what consumers eel they are payingor. Businesses have long devoted marketing dollars tosponsoring art exhibits, sporting events, and non-protorganizations. During the recession, however, somecompanies have sought to enhance value by going urtherand directly providing public services ree o charge.KFC, or instance, recently paid or 350 potholes to berepaired in Louisville, KY, or a total cost o $3000. Eachpothole carried a sprayed-on message: “Rereshed byKFC.”
Charmin bathroom tissue oered some love o itsown by creating SitOrSquat, a ree service that providesconsumers with advice on bathroom conditions via theirmobile phones. Starbucks has given ree coee toconsumers who themselves perorm public service.
Withconsumer interest in public service rising since the 2008presidential elections, the opportunity seems right orother brands to raise their prole by oering publicservices themselves. What i Clorox launched a campaignto clean-up grati in inner-city areas? What i Exxonoered to pay or heating inner city schools? What i Nikepaid or athletic programs in the schools?Rather than jam ads in consumers’ aces, companies canenhance brand awareness and create avorable brandassociations by giving something back to the public atlarge, trusting that appreciative citizens will in turn rewardthe brand with loyalty and positive buzz. How dobusinesses crat brand-supporting public servicepromotions? Public relations rms are well positioned tooer a number o helpul services, including strategiccounsel, assistance with media placements, and publicityvia social media websites such as Facebook or MySpace.Internal public relations departments are also capable o contributing, as was the case in Walmart’s recentpromotion o its $4 generic prescription drug initiative,which was publicized via direct pitches to the news mediaand without any paid advertising.
1. Public Services
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Creating Value:Public Relations and theNew Brand Strategy
KFC recently paid for 350 potholes to be repaired in Louisville, KY
Photograph courtesy of KFC
... companies can enhance brandawareness and create favorable brandassociations by giving something back to the public.

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