Trylon Communications  - Volume I Issue 2

"The Fall of Advertising and The Rise of PR"
by Al Ries and Laura Ries

Ok, we admit it.  Maybe we are just a tad biased.  However, this book makes a case for the argument that public relations professionals have held for years – that good public relations is essential to building a brand while advertising’s place is in a maintenance role.

Al Ries has built a reputation of taking on complex topics such as positioning, branding, and marketing, offering controversial opinions that later become industry tenets.  With his daughter, Laura, Al looks hard at the relationships in building awareness through both advertising and public relations. 

Perhaps the most telling argument presented is contained in his allegory of the sun and the wind.  Likening advertising to the wind, Al talks about how the harder you try to advertise your brand into a customer’s mind, the more resistant he or she may become to the concept.  However, by using effective public relations to build media awareness and publicity, thus slowly emerging as a concept inside the customer’s mind, a company can build brand awareness without the resistance.

The book makes excellent points regarding the effectiveness of advertising, demonstrating that increased ad exposure and expense will not necessarily increase sales.  We are all aware of the fact that an advertisement is simply a pitch – a blatant attempt to influence consumption.  The mantra “reach and frequency” hammers home the idea that in order to be effective, an ad must hit as many likely customers as often as possible to have any effect.

A good story in a newspaper, an article in a magazine, an interview in a television newscast - all will reach a prospect exactly one time.  However, the third party validation the company receives will contain enough force to build awareness and brand recognition.  A second similar publicity event will reinforce the perception and have an even stronger influence on consumer behavior.

The book focuses on new brands that have been built with virtually no advertising.  Examples are given and methods established for gaining positioning without the heavy advertising spending once considered de rigueur.  The book also points to studies that support public relations campaigns as effective brand building vehicles.

The final conclusion that advertising is best used to reinforce existing messages while public relations is the way to introduce new messages is not to be taken lightly.  We highly encourage our clients and all marketing executives to read this book and digest its ideas.  Doing so may save considerable time, effort and money when beginning the launch of a new product or service.

For more information on the book, or to order a copy, click on this link: