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You are ready for action when armed with knowledge of your industry, market and audience; a media plan and schedule; your product or service’s most important benefits; and measurable goals in terms of sales volume, revenue generated, or other criteria.

The first step is to establish the theme that identifies your product or service in all of your advertising. The theme of your advertising reflects your special identity or personality, and the particular benefits of your product or service. For example, cosmetics ads almost always rely on a glamorous theme. Many food products opt for healthy, all-American family campaigns. Automobile advertising frequently concentrates on how the car makes you feel about owning or driving it rather than performance attributes.

Tag lines reinforce the single most important reason for buying your product or service. "Nothing Runs Like a Deere" (John Deere farm vehicles) conveys performance and endurance with a nice twist on the word "deer." "Ideas at Work" (Black & Decker tools and appliances) again signifies performance, but also reliability and imagination. "How the Smart Money Gets that Way" (Barron’s financial publication) clearly connotes prosperity, intelligence, and success.

Comparing Advertising and Public Relations

  • Space or time in the mass media must be paid for. Coverage in mass media, if any, is not paid for.
  • You determine the message. Interpretation of the message is in the hands of the media.
  • You control timing. Timing is in the hands of the media.
  • One-way communication using the mass media does not allow feedback. Two-way communication the company should be listening as well as talking and the various PR venues often provide immediate feedback.
  • Message sponsor is identified. Message sponsor is not overtly identified.
  • The intention of most messages is to inform, persuade, or remind about a product usually with the intention of making a sale. The intention of public relations efforts is often to create good will, to keep the company and/or product in front of the public, or to humanize a company so the public relates to its people or reputation rather than viewing the company as a non-personal entity.
  • The public may view the message negatively, recognizing advertising as an attempt to persuade or manipulate them. The public often sees public relations messages that have been covered by the media as more neutral or believable.
  • Very powerful at creating image. Can also create image, but can sometimes stray from how it was originally intended.
  • Writing style is usually persuasive, can be very creative, often taking a conversational tone, may even be grammatically incorrect. Writing style relies heavily on journalism talents any persuasion is artfully inserted in the fact-based content.

For more information, read PR Newswire’s Small Business ToolKit.



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