I had the fortune of attending a recent conference featuring one of the world’s top management guru Philip Kotler. Apparently, he is a museum fan too and may feature the National Museum of Singapore in his next book. Woo hoo!
At the lecture, Professor Kotler shared about the rising importance of PR versus advertising and gave us a new acronym – PENCILS – in which to desribe the dimensions of PR. What does it mean?
P – Publications: These are your brochures, annual reports, newsletters, yearbooks, corporate kits.
E – Events: Organising the kind of events to get folks interested in your company.
N – News: Getting a lot of good talk in the various media channels (both old and new).
C – Community relations: Companies tend to be better regarded if they are accepted by the community.
I – Identity media: Business cards, stationery, boilerplates, tag lines, uniforms, and codes of conduct.
L – Lobbying: This would relate to issues of government relations, activism, meeting of legislators.
S – Social investment: PR should be a conduit for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities for issues that a company cares about. A prime example is Body Shop.
To bring it all into context, do note that PR is one of the key tools in the Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) strategy of any company. It falls under one of the Push-Pull-Profile Strategies of IMC, which are namely:
Push – Marketing communication largely through channel partners (B2B). This is largely through incentivising your distribution channels through trade discounts, Point Of Sales materials, sales tools etc. Largely done through the sales force.
Pull – Marketing communication largely to end consumers (B2C). This is usually traditional advertising as we know it, as well as roadshows and direct sales targeted at consumers.
Profile – Communications to key stakeholders, and this is where PR comes in. PENCILS will come in handy here.
I thought that its neat that PR now has a greater focus compared to advertising. Traditionally, most firms have considered PR (or corporate communications) as a poor cousin to advertising, which gets the lion’s share of the budget. A greater focus on PR and its accompanying focus on the reputation and integrity of an organisation will only do organisations good in the longer run. Its no longer just what you say, but what you do that matters.