Being famous is equally important as creating a value-added product or service in today’s world. Corporations spend hefty budgets on their marketing strategies in the form of sponsorships, advertisements, social events, etc. But, these are paid forms of marketing.
One extremely important objective of devising marketing strategies is to strengthen public relations. Talking about public relations, companies often go for a cost-effective, or you can say, a cost-free method of promoting their brand identity, commonly known as Publicity. The question is, what is publicity and how it affects a brand’s reputation? Let’s find out!
What is Publicity?
Publicity is a mode of promoting a business to create brand awareness among people through media coverage and other modes of public communication without incurring any costs. The core objective is to create brand awareness via spreading brand-relevant information through non-paid mass media platforms.
Publicity is actually a part of any brand’s marketing strategies where marketers target all possible effective sources of mass communication. Marketers strengthen their networks with vloggers, bloggers, public figures, celebrities, and other similar channels and provide them with favorable information that can get a brand to headlines (in a good way).
How Does Publicity Work?
It is important to understand that publicity is not based on advertising your products or services. Rather, it focuses on promoting your brand identity in a neutral way. Also, publicity cannot replace a business’s traditional or regular marketing process. It just helps businesses and service providers to strengthen their personal or business profile.
Businesses mostly hire publicists employing these strategies, but sometimes marketers do a similar job as well. Publicists provide any positive brand-related information to media outlets or other influential third parties such as bloggers, vloggers, podcasters, etc. Here are some common ways publicists use to keep their brands in the limelight:
- Press Releases: Press releases are one common way to keep people interested and informed about your activities. Press releases are a good source to disperse information about your new product launch, an upcoming social or commercial event, etc.
- Networking: Networking includes developing professional links with media personnel, influencers, celebrities, etc.
- Social Activities: Indulging in charity and social events not only creates brand awareness but also helps in winning customers ‘ trust.
- Creating Viral Trends: As it is the age of social media, anything can get viral within no time. A lot of businesses grab the attention by creating funny or challenging trends.
Characteristics of Publicity
Publicity has the following basic features:
- Cost-Effective/Free Tool. Publicity is either free or a pretty cheap strategy to promote your brand.
- Short-Lived. Any information dispersed through publicity channels is often short-term such as announcing a product launch, a social event, etc.
- Spread Information. Publicity is a channel to spread information rather than advertising products or services.
- Less Control. A brand cannot control things when it comes to publicity. For instance, a news channel will report the related information in its own way, and it may possibly go wrong as well.
- Media-Driven. It is a tool that entirely depends on media. Media can make it viral within no time, and if things wrong, it can have terrible outcomes.
Importance of Publicity
Publicity helps businesses grow and create a positive brand image among the general public; here is how:
- Builds Credibility. The idea behind publicity is to promote or create brand awareness rather than advertising. That’s why when a neutral or independent credible source spreads information about a brand; it creates a sense of credibility in public.
- Lightening Quick Promotion. Internet and social media have made it super easy for brands to disperse information in the minimum possible time. Just create a trend or a hashtag, and off you go.
- Cost-Effective. Publicity, if done right, can be very effective in creating brand awareness but most importantly, it is way cheaper as compared to traditional modes of marketing or brand promotion and can yield more benefits.
- Spreads High Volumes of Information. Advertisements or other traditional modes of marketing/brand promotion contain limited information. However, publicity is a great tool to educate people with more information in the form of word of mouth, video content, journals, news articles, and viral marketing.
- Maximum Readership. Publicity allows brands to reach a massive audience. For instance, regularly featuring in news and high readership blogs/vlogs/channels can boost your brand awareness.
Objectives of Publicity
As mentioned above, the core purpose of publicity is to create brand awareness or brand image. However, businesses use this channel for other important objectives as well, such as:
Educate the Public
Companies use this tool to spread valuable information, which they cannot communicate through regular marketing tools. They may present the benefits offered by them in “coded” words.
Trigger Public interest and Demand
Corporations, especially industry players, create hype or trigger public interest by notifying customers or potential customers through media outlets. People love suspense, and that is what brands create through publicity.
Misinformation or misunderstanding can make brands lose their customers, most importantly, potential customers as well. Companies use this mode of communication to clarify such things.
Comparison of Publicity, Marketing, and Public Relations
|PR is a broader strategy of a company to accomplish business goals.||Like public relations, marketing is a broader strategy in any organization to sell products or services and develop a long-lasting relationship with customers.||Publicity is a smaller portion of a company’s marketing or public relations strategies.|
|PR is comparatively cheaper than advertising or other marketing strategies.||Marketing is generally more expensive than publicity and PR.||It is often free or highly cost-effective.|
|It basically focuses on creating brand awareness among the public and strengthen brand image.||It entirely focuses on selling a product or service.||Publicity, just like PR, focuses on creating brand awareness and spread awareness.|
|Lesser or no control over information and outcomes.||Better control over things.||Lesser or no control over the outcomes.|
|PR targets a broader audience.||Marketing strategies always have a target audience.||Publicity is a tool used for a greater and general audience.|
Types of Publicity
There are different types of publicity depending on how companies want to propagate or disperse information.
Dispersing information by featuring in any recognized media outlet. For instance, Toyota was featured in Forbes as how the company bettered their employee policy during the corona pandemic.
Companies organizing a charity or other social events to create brand awareness. For instance, Coca-Cola Ireland donates funds to youth with amazing business ideas through a specific charity fund.
Brands share different types of images, activities, images, etc., on their social media platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Innocent Smoothies tweet images or video content shared by their fans on their official Twitter account.
Partnering with other established brands helps businesses to gain publicity. If one brand hits the headlines, the partner will also get its share. For example, the partnership between Lyft and Netflix is a classic example of gaining publicity by partnering.
A lot of brands sponsor music concerts, trips, tours, or other such events. Moreover, companies also sponsor influencers, celebrities, industry experts, etc., to get into the limelight. Reebok sponsored Shakira’s worldwide concerts back in 2002. The company announced it in a press conference, and Shakira officially became Reebok’s brand ambassador.
Business conferences help the brands get the attention of investors and other industry giants. For example, India Mobile Congress holds conferences every year to attract entrepreneurs and “big boys” from Digital and Telecommunication Industries.
Unique and exciting offers are a great way to gain public attention. For instance, Buzzfeed Quiz from Turkish Airlines grabbed public attention through its uniqueness. It is basically a travel quiz that assists you where should you plan your next trip/tour.
Firms often come forward with their helping hands and get the organic promotion. For instance, The Red Cross recorded an official request to help Tornado victims.
Industry players easily get a lot of public attention whenever they launch their new product or service. Intel announced their new, improved, and fast-speed microprocessor.
Press releases are one of the most common channels adopted by businesses to promote their brand identity. When Reebok sponsored Shakira’s music concerts worldwide in 2002, they announced their sponsorship through a press release.
Advantages of Publicity
Although it is evident that publicity can help a business in many ways, here is a summarized form of advantages of publicity:
- Cost-Effective. Publicity is arguably the cheapest or most economical form of brand promotion. It helps a brand in getting more public attention, exposure, and awareness.
- Trendy/Viral. Trendiness and virality are two core features of publicity. If anything goes viral or becomes a trend, a brand can get a lot of public attention without even paying a single penny.
- Credibility. When a brand features in highly admired or highly trusted media outlets for good reasons, it can easily win the public’s trust.
- Innovation/Creativity. Publicity promotes innovation because it is not easy to get viral or grab mass attention.
- Connectivity. Publicity also assists brands in joining forces and connect with each other in any capacity.
Disadvantages of Publicity
Good or positive publicity always bears fruits, but what about bad publicity? Well, it can hurt a brand in many ways:
- Loss of Credibility or Trust. If a business makes it to credible media outlets for good reasons, it boosts its brand image. However, if the reasons behind the publicity are bad, it can demolish that trust and credibility gained by the firm over the years.
- Effects on Sales and Revenue. It is obvious that bad publicity hits a company’s sales hard. Sometimes, an unknown business may get booming sales, but it is infrequent. Besides, it always affects a company’s performance in the long run.
- Weak/No Control on Outcomes. Publicity is a risky part of the promotion mix. That said, once you throw the ball in the media outlets’ court, you have no control over the outcomes.
Publicity, without any doubt, can help businesses to hit new heights of fame. More importantly, it can give a push to struggling or new corporations if they can create something magical and value-added. However, publicity is a component of a company’s overall marketing mix. That said, it works better when it is integrated with the company’s overall marketing strategy.