Building Brand Equity through Public Relation and Publicity

Recently in a marketing conference I came across a gentleman who had raw and unmatched opinion on Public Relations and Publicity towards building Brand Equity. Other than the actual session, I explicitly enjoyed exchange of thoughts between us and now putting it across for you to appraise.

Mr. Fuddy-duddy (an instant pseudonym which he welcomed with a striking smile,) was of the inclusive opinion, face to face interaction weights a lot in contrast to mass communication and more over it’s a cost to the company where one expects high expenditure and least returns!!

No doubt there are various marketing activities which can contribute to brand equity. Coming to the argument, it’s always good to personally meet prospects, which call for further expenditure on related incurred costs; secondly it pictures an experiment for the prospect to accept the deal or business pitch with no universal branding / client testimonial – yet another form of required marketing communication activity.

Globally it would not be wrong to state Public Relations & Publicity are a set of mutually beneficial relationships between a company and target audience who decides the satisfaction and retention power based on customer’s buying behaviour.

Few days ago, I came across an article on Product Recall with better brand management where in the year 1982 McNeil Consumer Products (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson) was charged with demise of seven people who ingested an Extra Strength Tylenol Capsule laced with Cyanide. It resulted into nationwide ordeal in USA. The incidence alarmed Johnson & Johnson (J&J) to initiate Public Relation programme for saving the integrity of product and brand on the whole.

The Public Relations decisions on Tylenol crisis arrived at two level pronouncement. Level one inference was to request public for not reusing the product till the extent of tampering could be determined and at the same point J&J recalled all Tylenol capsules from the market with a retail value of more than $100 million. This action was well praised by media and crowd for their socially responsible action. Planning for Level two was already in process steering at “comeback phase”. Tylenol capsules were reintroduced with better and safe packaging. The Company came up with explicit offers along with a guideline “to purchase Tylenol only if the package has glued flaps with tight plastic seal surrounding the cap, with a message – Do not use if safety seals are open!” The initiative rolled out very positive comeback coverage by media especially the confirmation spread out by medical institutions through well received press conferences and group presentations made by J&J sales officials.

J&J therefore, created a successful public relation programme protecting both the product and public interest in complete support with media institutions. It enabled J&J to recover fast from possibly the greatest crisis ever to hit in the Pharmaceutical Industry.

Mr. Fuddy-duddy finally supported my views that Public Relations should be a routine part of any marketing communication programme. If you will do justice to this media in return it will pay you high!

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