The Law of Publicity and Social Media

“The birth of a brand is achieved with publicity, not advertising”

Most advertisement and digital agencies are committed to building brands with advertising. It’s amazing how marketers confuse brand building for brand maintenance. Let me rehash some content from the chapter - “The Law of Publicity” from The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, by Al Ries and Laura Ries.

Starbucks does not spend a hill of beans on advertising, they spend around 10 million and that generates over a billion in revenues

Wal-Mart does not spend much on advertising either; they have revenues over 100 billion.

What might have worked in the past, with massive advertisement war chests might not even be relevant now. The problem is today the consumer is over-connected and communication was never this easy or simple! That’s a boon, and a problem as well.

What Al and Laura say in this chapter is simple. Generate publicity for your brand; and what’s the simplest way? Be the first, and make enough noise to be heard. This is of course debatable since you cannot be the first everywhere. But you can also read the “Law of Contraction”.

If we were to look at the Indian market

  • Tata Docomo was the first to introduce ‘per second’ billing
  • NDTV was the first English news channel
  • Raymonds was the first men’s clothing wear
  • Horlicks was the first nutrition drink
  • Amul was the first in milk products, most recalled product being the butter.
  • Rediff was the first Indian portal.

All these were the first in their category, and in the process generated enormous amount of publicity. The fact is, media loves anything that’s new. They only need a reason to talk about it; as a first!

What conventional brand managers and marketers tend to forget is others talking about you is so much more important that you talking about yourself. They only need a reason to do so. Today brands are built with publicity. The problem we often see with our clients as well is something that is very grass rooted:

  • They want a quick fix
  • They are immediate results.
  • They think advertising will increase sales.

What this does is, creates vicious cycle. The truth is, advertising does not increase sales and for every 100% more money you pump in advertising, the sales would increase by 1-2%. That’s the fact. And some more scary facts below:

  • 90% People who skip TV ads
  • 14% People who trust advertisements
  • 117 number of prime time TV slots needed to reach 80% of adult population (2002)
  • 3000 Number of advertising messages we are exposed to in a DAY!
  • 18% Proportion of TV ad campaigns generating positive ROI
  • 54 cents Average return on every dollar spent on advertising
  • 56% Per cent of people who avoid buying from companies they think advertise too much
  • 256% Increase in the TV advertising costs
  • 84% Per cent of B2B Sales campaigns resulting in falling sales

So what does Socialmedia do for publicity? Let me ask you one thing here, if there was just one attribute you could associate with social media, what would that be? Yes, you know it.

WORD OF MOUTH which effectively translates to PUBLICITY

What social media does, if done right is help you build your strategy around people and customers.

  • Gets people to talk about you and share with friends
  • 84% people trust their peers, why should they trust your advertisements?
  • PR is also about talking to your customers, can you talk through your TV set? But you talk with them using social media.

Great brands, built great engagement. But with the over communication we are now bombarded with, they need a reason to listen to you. You don’t necessarily have to be the first in whatever you do. But there should be enough inspiration for them to talk about you and of course with you.

Drop in your thoughts in the comments section, or drop me line using the contact form!

5 Responses to “The Law of Publicity and Social Media”

  1. VarshNo Gravatar says:

    People have a mentality to be the ‘first’ to use anything that’s ‘new’ in the market. Its almost like a necessity for people to keep up with what’s latest…and hence I agree…publicity and brand building matter more than advertising does.Getting celebrities to endorse for you and not concentrating on the quality and reach of your product won’t land you anywhere.

    And yes…making noise does help in the long way…the timing however…is important!

  2. RichaNo Gravatar says:

    Isn’t advertising a way to publicize a product. I agree that a new idea, a new concept is always one which creates the maximum buzz if it really is good. However, to reach out the maximum number of people when there are other competing products already, isn’t advertising is the best mass medium still? For example, for its new non tobacco fmcg brands, ITC spent a hell lot on advertising to get its brands firmly entrenched in the Indian FMCG market rather than any social marketing.

    • vinniNo Gravatar says:

      Well I am referring to it from the point of view of Brand Building.

      Why I say, you cannot launch brands with advertising is because advertising has little or no credibility. Its the voice of a company that is desperately trying to make a sale.

      On the other hand PR or publicity lets you tell a story indirectly through third parties primarily the media.

  3. KameshNo Gravatar says:

    Being the second also means doing something different.Advertising aims at making our brand superior to the competitors brand.But sometimes accepting that we are second also makes sense.Advertising mostly make unrealistic claims.Royal enfield does not spend huge money on advertising but its network of bikers is huge.They simply interact with these bikers and whoa! the publicity they get is huge.I was recently at their Southern Motors showroom in Chennai.Met a biker gang member there , who was giving us the complete profile of the bike and its power quotient.All this was achieved with less advertising spend(the guy blogs for enfield).At the end of the conversation i felt like buying a bullet myself.Now that is what i call customer interaction.Small is sometimes big.


Leave a Reply

Creative Commons License . Copyright © 2010 vinolxi