Lesson 24. PUBLICITY

Module 6. Elements of marketing mix – IV. promotion

Lesson 24

24.1 Introduction

Publicity is a non-personnel stimulation of demand for a product, service or institution (firm) by giving important and useful news about it in a published medium or clinching nice presentation about it on radio, television or stage which is not paid by the concerned institution.

24.2 Important Characteristics or Features

Non-personnel / mass media: Publicity reaches many people simultaneously with the use of mass media such as new papers, magazines, radio, television etc.

Important and useful news: When some important and useful news about product or institution is available, the mass media intends to communicate such items free of cost. Moreover such news items are considered to have high credibility as they are issued by the media instead of advertiser.

Sponsor less: The information published by media has no sponsors and are unsigned.

Payment less: As the information is not published by the institutions, they do not also pay for it.

Function: Publicity may carry out the function of creating a favorable image about the product or institution there by increasing the demand.

24.3 Role of Publicity

In the present competitive scenario, the concept of publicity has given way to Marketing Public Relations (MPR). Publicity played the role of obtaining editorial space (free space) instead of paid space in print and broadcast media so as to promote a product, service, idea, location, individual or an institution. The new form of publicity i.e. ‘MPR’ is broader in use and carryout following roles:
  1. Mature product repositioning
  2. New Product launching
  3. Developing interest in product category
  4. Sensitizing target group consumers.
  5. Supporting products facing public problems.
  6. Developing corporate image so as to favour their product.
24.4 Publicity Tools

24.4.1 Publication

Annual reports, articles, brochures, institute newsletters, magazines etc are widely used for publicity by the companies so as to reach and make impact on target population.

24.4.2 Events

News conferences, outings, seminars, exhibits, trade shows, anniversaries, contests and competitions are used by companies to draw attention to new product or other company activities.

24.4.3 Sponsorships

Sponsoring special events like any sporting events such as cricket or soccer world cup or any cultural event provides opportunity to companies to promote their brand and corporate name.

24.4.4 News

This is one of the important tasks carried out under publicity wherein the company tries to finds or develop favorable news about the company, its product and its people and let media accept press release and press conferences.

24.4.5 Special service activities

Firm can develop favorable image in the society by donating money and time and perform certain activities for good cause. Speeches

Management should positively respond to media queries. They should give public speech at trade associations or important sales meeting. Identity symbols

Firm should possess visual identity marks in the form of company logo, brochures, stationery, business firms, signs, buildings, business cards, uniforms and dress code.

24.5 Difference between Advertisement and Publicity

Advertising and publicity are different forms of promotion, with different subject matter, costs and expectations. Some organizations may blur the line between the two, which can cause misunderstandings with the news media and negate organization’s efforts to improve business and its image. Knowing the differences between the two and how to use them as complementary efforts can reap benefits in spreading organizations message.

24.5.1 Cost

The organization pay a charge to place an advertisement in a newspaper or magazine, run on a broadcast station, or appear on a website, and organization pay each time its run or clicked. But the organization can schedule when it appears, and run it as many times as it want based upon providing necessary price. For publicity, the organization can send out a press release or stage an event, but it does not pay for any news coverage that results. Any coverage usually runs only once, and the organization don’t control when the coverage will appear. Even the organization can't even guarantee there will be any news coverage unless an editor decides the release or event has legitimate value and interest to readers or viewers. A sale or self-promotion will not pass the editor’s muster.

24.5.2 Content control

The organization get to control what appears in their advertisement. The organization decides the wording and the design. The subject of the advertisement could be a sale, description of a product or an image-building presentation for the organization. With a press release, the organization may decide on the wording for the release, but an editor will likely rewrite the release before it appears in a news media outlet. Depending on the story, the editor may assign a reporter to do additional interviews for the story. That can be a big plus for a business organization, though the reporter may interview people outside of the business organization for objective viewpoints. The organization doesn’t get to see the story before it runs.

24.5.3 Style

Advertisement can use ‘great,’ ‘stupendous,’ ‘best ever’ and any other superlative adjectives to describe products or a business organization. But if the business organization is sponsoring a charity or community event, using a ‘sponsored by’ banner with just the business organizations name can have a stronger positive effect than any blatant promotional message.

24.5.4 Going viral

Though media coverage of an event or press release runs only once, it lingers on the Internet for viewers to call up again and view. Press releases that business organizations post on their organizations website can be picked up by blogger, Face book users and other reporters digging for stories long after you wrote the release. You Tube videos end up being seen around the world. Publicity has a much better chance than ads for going viral on the Internet. The organization can’t control its spread or how their publicity is used, but it can be seen by far more people than any advertisement bought if it strikes the right chord.

24.5.5 Creativity

In advertising, the advertisers get to fully exercise their creativity as they create new materials and ad campaigns. Conversely, publicity is limited to how you look for any new information that you can give the media.

24.5.6 Consumer effect

When consumers see or read an advertisement, they already know that the organization is attempting to sell them a service or product. However, when someone sees a news article written concerning any organizations product, they are essentially viewing something that an organization did not pay for and thus view it in a different way than they normally do paid advertisements.


1. http://smallbusiness.chron.com/primary-differences-between-advertising-publicity-3557.html
2. http://differencesbetween.com/difference-between-advertising-and-publicity

Last modified: Tuesday, 9 October 2012, 4:52 AM