Advertising vs. Publicity
I had the opportunity to speak to a group of salon owners and stylists participating in the recently-developed Washington State Cosmetology Apprenticeship Program. It was a wonderful chance to hear a report on the progress of a program that started as a grass-roots, industry-led effort and has blossomed into a recognized and functional training curriculum.
My task was to speak to the group on the benefits of leveraging publicity, complete with examples from within their industry. I've worked in the salon/spa industry for years, so finding examples was easy enough; and it was an opportunity to showcase some of the stellar efforts of my clients.
But it triggered an interesting conversation. As one salon owner stated: "Advertising doesn't work." As an advertising major in my undergraduate program, few things get my blood to boil faster. But, her words did hold some truth. The industry is changing. Consumers are savvy. Credibility is thin. What's a business to do?
I've had significant success working with clients to leverage publicity efforts that then transition to marketing efforts. Here's an example of how this works: someone in your business receives advanced training. You tell me, and I generate a media release and launch it in the direction of appropriate media outlets. With a little follow up and the use of some long-trusted techniques, various media outlets produce stories on the advanced training received by your trusted employee. You leverage this in your business, typically with great success because it's no longer your promotion- it's the promotion of XXX newspaper or 123 blog. It goes up on your website, out in your newsletter, and is posted within your business. And so it begins. Your customers see the media talking about you, their trust in your abilities increases, and, if I've done my job, the next time that media outlet needs some information on your industry, they call you.
And the best part? It's free. Because it's publicity, it's non-paid. Advertising is generated by business and paid for by business. The seeds of publicity are generated by business, but by the time it hits the eyeballs/ears of your clients, it's generated by the media.
Viola. Instant credibility!