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Publicity As A Brand Building Tool


Publicity As A Brand Building Tool

Proactive publicity can be one of the most powerful and cost effective brand building tools, especially for smaller organizations that can’t afford significant advertising.  Publicity is free, almost six times as many people read articles as read ads and the articles are more credible as they are perceived to be third party endorsements versus self-promotion. And, the average salary of an in-house copywriter is very low compared to the average ad agency fee to create a comparable amount of advertising.

The following are some examples of proactive publicity that go beyond basic media relations:

•When Hallmark launched the industry’s first personalized, computer-generated cards, we sent some to talk show hosts, who read the cards on their shows.

•Easyjet invested a large portion of its marketing dollars in a lawsuit against the Dutch Airline KLM claiming unfair competitive practices, positioning itself as the underdog on the side of the public.

•Trivial Pursuit marketers sent games samples to celebrities featured in the game and radio personalities who had an affinity for trivia.

•A non-profit organization whose mission was to encourage women over 40 to get mammograms annually wanted a message that would “break through.” Brad suggested they feature a bare-chested woman with a double mastectomy on outdoor signs along major highways, use shocking copy such as “Over 40?  Don’t wait until it is too late.  Get a mammogram today.” Or, “Which pain is worse?  Over 40?  Get a mammogram today.”  (Imagine the buzz from this idea.)

•To create buzz about the movie Frenzy, Alfred Hitchcock floated a dummy of himself down the Thames River.

Can you think of others?

In March we touched on how to get the news media to cover your story.

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Maryam in Marrakesh on May 03rd, 2007 said

Hmmmm…food for thought. I need to market and brand my guesthouse in Marrakech for very little money. The fact is, we’re broke. I see blogging as good branding for my product, which will drive traffic to my guesthouse website once I have a site up and running. However, I don’t want my blog to have the same kind of brand or image as my guesthouse website. Do you think that is a problem?

What I am struggling most with these days is trying to create a brand that blends elegance with whimsy for our guesthouse. This is surprisingly hard to do. I am trying blend whimsical line drawings (a la Kate Spade) with a more real and upmarket product. Very difficult.


  1. Anonymous - April 18, 2007

    Branding Strategy Insider: Publicity as a Brand Building Tool

    Exploring (with examples) how proactive publicity can be one of the most powerful and cost effective brand building tools, especially for smaller organizations that can’t afford significant advertising.

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