The message is determined by analyzing the brand being marketed, and doing
so with clear vision and self-knowledge. Too many marketing executives rely
on their own concept of the brand’s identity, and never bother to discover what
attributes the public has assigned to a product. Just because you’ve decided
that you want to project a certain image doesn’t mean that’s the image you’re
projecting. Extremely high-profile marketing campaigns have failed because
not enough market research and communication with the consuming public
When AT&T Wireless decided to consolidate its wireless phone, pager, and
Internet technology into something called mlife, it gave the public examples of
what the company meant. Unfortunately, the public still doesn’t understand,
and has no idea what the m stands for (it is messaging).
United Airlines has long invited the public to “fly the friendly skies of United.”
The public has noticed that the experience on the plane is not terribly friendly,
and is now distrustful of all airlines’ claims.
The criteria for effective public relations messages should be: (1) is it true? (2)
Is it unusual? (3) Is it interesting?
On the other hand, if a company already exists in the marketplace, a new
message will have to be identified. For retail companies, the addition of a new
product category or a price reduction are always effective messages.
Sales promotions, particularly very public or extremely unusual ones, make
good messages. Anything out of the ordinary being done by the company in
the name of public service or community aid is a legitimate message.
In order for the message to be even rudimentarily effective, it absolutely must
be true. Remember, the message is being disseminated by the legitimate news
media; a false message will be discovered and exposed, and win immediately
brand the company negatively. It will do more damage than having no message
at all, and such situations must be avoided at all costs.
Unique messages are going to be more noticeable and more attractive to the
gatekeepers who determine which stories are told and which are not. So an
unusual message–something a company is doing that no one else has
considered or been creative enough to conceive-will be considerably more
successful than one that seems tired or old simply because it has been seen