Does PR drive sales?

According to SWIFT Communications it does, SWIFT has an interesting piece of research that they have written up as an article. From that research sales decision makers are more likely to believe in PR than their counterparts in marketing.

Why the perception gap?

– First of all I would enter forth a paraphrased version of the Charles Arthur explanation of media relations: Most information, the journalist won’t act on. They’re just content in the wrong context; they don’t make a story.

But who knows how useful it might be in a few days, or weeks, or months? journalists often archive their email, and search it on subjects; or read it and note the subject. That can come in useful later. However, how useful and when it will be useful a PR agency won’t know.

The problem is that the clients demanding a metric for a dollop of information cast out like bread on the waters are doing it wrong. The initial report is: the bread got soggy and sank. Damn, say the clients, and decide this bread-throwing exercise is a bad idea. But in the end the bread feeds ducks that come along. Or it nourishes things in the water. It has a value – even though you can’t measure it at once.

This means that PR is a tricky deal to measure, hell as an industry we can’t define the metrics ourselves. It is also very hard to separate the effect of PR from the rest of the marketing communications mix. So you can’t really give PR a sales target and what you can’t measure can’t be trusted.
– The backbone is connected to the thigh bone. PR is about influencing BUT not directly affecting the media or other influencers. Because of this level of abstraction away from the generation of coverage with the best will in the world a PR success is a best try, held fortune to the whim of fate. In addition, publication deadlines which vary from six weeks on monthly magazines to six months on consumer glossies mean it is hard to change the impact of a PR programme overnight

– Sales distortion field. Sales is often about the here and now, nothing matters but the next quarter. Many other functions within a business may have a longer time frame. It is exceptionally hard to structure salesforce targets to take into account the long term good of the business. Were PR to be purely sales led, it can lead to a distorted view of the company as the positioning will change each quarter to help meet sales targets and will not be based on the longer term aspects of reputation management and brand positioning. If you took it further and had performance related payments in the PR budget, agency folk like me would focus on playing the system for the most lucrative path of least resistance. Lets look at an example from the world of advertising: if you look at the direct response approach in advertising were the end results are measured like the pots and pans adverts in the back of Sunday supplements, sales can be generated, but you are not likely to remember the name of the company and recommend it to a friend or make a conscious decision to purchase from them again

– PR can help in providing sales teams with materials that bolster their credentials with clients, writing case studies, being able to show their clients coverage including product reviews or thought pieces. Some of the tools that PR people use to create news like ‘independent research’ or securing opportunities to speake at industry events and shows can also be used as an excuse to open dialogue with prospects or continue conversations with existing accounts.

Dream Marketing Role on JOTW email list

Unfortunately I can’t speak a word of Dutch.

Marketing Manager, Levi’s Netherlands, Amsterdam, Netherlands

  • To develop and implement a consumer and a trade marketing plan for the Levi’s(R) brand in The Netherlands.
  • To implement programs that support key retailers, in order to achieve country Annual Operating Plan financial and equity targets.

Critical Results

  • Implement the Levi’sR brand ATL pan-European promotional efforts in the Netherlands.
  • Define and implement BTL programs to support country goals:
  • Develop cooperative marketing activities with key accounts to drive equity and sell through.
  • Develop and implement local PR/Sponsorship and presence marketing plan.
  • Manage local agency relationships and monitor their performance.
  • Review impact of consumer facing activities in local market and ROI.
  • Provide youth market insights to influence European Brand Strategy.
  • Ensure sales team is fully aware and equipped to leverage marketing activities into sell-in arguments.
  • Partner with central Trade Marketing team to deliver optimal sell-in tools.
  • Optimize retail marketing resources through the successful implementation of provided retail and visual merchandising materials, through effective partnerships with Sales Team.

Required skills and competencies which could be an asset:

  • Bachelor or Master’s degree in business management, marketing or similar.
  • 5 years experience in FMCG, preferably within an international environment.
  • Below-the-line agency experience a plus.
  • Clear understanding of brand strategy essentials, brand equity concepts and tools of the marketing mix.
  • Appreciation of the role of market research and analysis.
  • Strong affinity with Denim/Jeanswear and fashion.
  • Personal/Professional interest in youth products, and lifestyle.
  • Creative flair and technical skills to carry out local visual production tasks.
  • Analytical skills, both verbal and numerical.
  • Business planning experience.
  • Clear and persuasive communication skills
  • MS Office and internet proficiency
  • Fluency in written and spoken English and Dutch.
  • Working knowledge of French an advantage.


Please send CVs to Chris Brewer,, and cc.

St Bez patron saint of ravers

St Bez patron saint of ravers

Whilst not a great consumer of television, I was pleased to see that the Celebrity Big Brother media circus picked Mark ‘Bez’ Berry of the Happy Mondays fame as its winner. Bez was the space cadet that inspired a generation to dance with this loping plod and ‘big fish, little fish,

cardboard box’ hand movements that went well with ecstacy-fuelled clubbing. When not appearing on stage with Shaun Ryder and Co. you could often see him doing his thing at the Hacienda.

Bez was an ideal clown prince for the Celebrity Big Brother farce. If you read the Daily Star on Sunday you would have found out that Bez was saved by Cliff Richard’s millenium prayer when he was hospitalised and had never had sex with more than two women at a time during the heightof his stardom. Then there is a keep fit video in the offing and a couple of gigs with the Mondays in March. All this work will help him pay off the 10,000GBP tax demand from the inland revenue.

Rave on, Bez!

That hoax VW commercial

That hoax VW commercial

For the past fortnight or so there has been a buzz building up on the web about a viral clip based on a Volkswagen commercial playing on the Polo. Small but Tough campaign. In the advertisement a terrorist steps out of his house into a VW Polo, drives to a European style cafe where their diners on the pavement including a child in a pushchair and detonates a dynamite body vest. Whilst the interior of the car is engulfed in flame and the car rocks a bit on its springs from the blast. According to the buzz on the web the clip is alleged to have been done by London-based creative team Lee and Dan, Volkswagen are said to be threatening legal action and extremely peeved over the fact this clip made into the wild.

  • Is it a hoax? Kind of, according to The Guardian the clip was made by Lee and Dan as a new business ‘calling card’ to get the attention of Volkswagen
  • Looks professional, was it expensive? Apparently about 40,000GBP


Young consumers reject converged devices allegedly

According to research by Mobeon Labs (via netimperative), 16-19 year olds are mostly likely to use SMS and voice on their phones rather than MP3 players, radios or video messaging. In addition, they do not understand the services offered by carriers or see much difference between operators. All the expensive brand-building work done by the likes of Vodafone and Orange has gone to waste?

Not surprising results really, remember the furore of WAP where banks like the Halifax rolled out WAP-baed online banking services only to quietly shut them down due to lack of use.I once heard tell of product from HP. The story went something along the lines of: HP developed a PC type computer that used a touch screen rather than a mouse called the HP 150. It was a considerable technical acheivement and they were proud of it. A consultant walked through the development area and noticed that the engineers were not using their own creation to write techinical documentations and reports. He told his client at HP that the product would be a failure. They boo-hoo ed the idea and went ahead launching the computer. It tanked. People didn’t want to use it because it would take thier hands away from the keyboard, unlike a mouse. The moral is that people want stuff that is easy to use to incorporate into their life.

More internesting from a PR point of view telecoms providers have once again failed to rise above the status of being a utility. All the expensive sponsorship deals with David Beckham and creative cinemas spots were for nothing.

Viral Craic-ers

One of my friends Jonathan sent over a viral link used to promote an independent property advice site, have a look here.

Fellow St Helens Saints fan and well known comedian Johnny Vegas does his sales pitch for their new home strip and makes some pretty outrageous claims in the process, have a look here. (Quicktime recommended)

Portfolio piece part deux

Portfolio piece part deux

I guess this is what Houdini meant when they did their electro hit The Freaks Come Out At Night. Pictures by Jonathan Pearson Photography.

Portfolio piece

Portfolio piece

My mate Jonathan took these pictures at an underground student club night and is available to do most kinds of photography including corporate, product and plain mad stuff.

Belief Systems

And yea it came to pass, Steve came before a multitude of the faithful and unveiled a small beige box and they saw that it was good. The box did say hello on its screen and was given the sacred name Macintosh. A name that shall be revered by the faithful for the next 21 years. Now you can share this biblical moment with friends on the 21st anniversary of the Mac with family and unknown passers by by downloading this 21 meg or so Quicktime file of the original Macintosh launch courtesy of a German media agency who kept their original copy locked in a vault. Thanks to Industrial Technology and Witchcraft.

Various Muslim organisations have been whipping themselves into a frenzy over the forthcoming series of 24. The Muslim Council of Great Britain have complained about series four of 24 not showing a balanced view of the muslim community. An old saying goes somewhat along the lines that the strongest voice often masks a weak argument, expect that Sky’s publicists must be over-the-moon by this counter-endorsement. Do not expect Sky to edit or halt the showing of 24. On the contrary this is a great way of making 24 into must-see TV.From a PR point of view the muslim community’s concerns would be relatively easy to rebuff. Coverage on Media Bulletin here. The Muslim Council of Great Britain press release on its concerns about 24 is here.

Slicing the cake

Why Apple makes a little money on a PC. Much electronics are based on open designs often developed by the likes of Quanta, Flextronics or one of their competitors. That laptop with Dell on the front, or a Motorola cell phone, do you honestly think that Dell or Motorola designed it? No they didn’t, many times now the ‘technology company’ only contributes a brand and marketing. Though the way most technology companies operate, marketing is a misnomer for a dogs dinner that passes for that business function. CIO magazine spills the beans here with a behind the scenes look on how modern hardware is made. Whilst they are worried about America losing its technical know-how, I would point out that the men in Taiwan make Apple products but they don’t give them the joie de vivre that makes them an Apple product. It is is this lesson that the Dells, Gateways and HPs of this world are struggling to learn.

This secret sauce is research and development, however even Apple is guilty of reducing the amount of long term research that it is doing, something that threatens the technoligical leadership of American and European technology brands.

Jargon Watch: Determined Detractors, BRIC, Happy Slapping

Determined detractors – persistent critics of a company, product or service who mount their own PR campaign. Examples include, Supersize Me and who use the gains made in digital technology (digital video, laptop movie production, websites, email newsletters, web logs, RSS feeds, flash animation) to develop asymmetric warfare marketing campaigns against their target brand, product or service. Thanks to Sense Worldwide.

BRIC – the emerging and increasingly influential markets of Brazil, Russia, India and China. Thanks to Wired magazine Jargon Watch.

Happy slapping – latest craze sweeping through schools where someone walks up, slaps someone in the face and records the reacton a mobile phone with a camera capability. As heard on a radio news report on LBC.

Yes, Yes Y’all

Yes, Yes Y'all

Old school hip-hop hero and heavy weight talent Biz Markie has been immortalised with this Ecko branded alarm clock. In a blow to designer jeans Carhartt European arm which has been involved in helping some of The Biz’s most recent work; Ecko has a plastic Biz hunched over a

record crate and will wake you up with a vocal samples from his greatest hits. A true gift for the aging b-boy!

Pulp Fiction

Like the magazines of old that brought the works of authors from Charles Dickens to Dashiell Hammett Nature magazine has started running a ten-part murder mystrey called Schrödinger’s mousetrap. The story takes its name from the Austrian scientist and philanderer Erwin Schrödinger and his thought experiment Schrödinger’s Cat, which was designed to show how incomplete the model of quantum mechanics then was.

Shiseido schemes to undermine Japanese manliness

Having managed to mine the Japanese market for women’s beauty products, Shiseido is now trying to convert Japanese men to a similar regime according to the Tigers Leap blog by Sense Worldwide. More details here.