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The PR Credibility Factor

» Introduction
Unlike advertising, or other forms of marketing, it is the credibility factor that makes PR so effective.
» Step 1
Let's look at an example of how advertising and media placement differ. You're interested in buying a new car and just happen to be thumbing through a copy of Fortune magazine. You come across an ad for a car. The ad is pretty and glossy. It is a photo of a beach scene at sunset. The colors are more beautiful than those in real life. The photo has an attractive man and woman dressed in sophisticated evening attire standing by the car, which is parked in the sand, just beyond the reach of the aqua marine waves. The copy tells you that this car is the best thing to hit this country since sliced bread and that you can't exist another day without running out and buying it. The photo tells you that if you do by the car, you will be transported to that idyllic beach scene. You live in Cincinnati, Ohio, it is the dead of winter, and damn if that idyllic marine scene doesn't look inviting.

You continue to look through the magazine and come upon an article on the year's best cars. The article mentions a certain car (not the one you saw in the ad), and touts the car as being one of the most efficient, best-built, luxurious, yet cost-effective cars on the market. The article is simple, direct, and informative and is written by an expert in the automotive field. Which do you think will have the most impact on you, the ad or the article?

My guess is, after the Caribbean fantasies die down, the article will have the greatest impact on you. Why? Credibility. The ad may give you some basic information, but it primarily offers you a fantasy. The car is bright and shiny. It is parked on an empty, pristine beach. The sun is setting in the background. There is a sexy, tanned couple, in evening attire no less, standing by the immaculate, gleaming car. Nine times out of ten, you're not buying the car; you're buying the scene - the fantasy.

The article, on the other hand, raises your comfort level. You have been given objective
information on the car's effectiveness and quality. An expert has kicked the tires for you and given you a positive report. You have moved from fantasy to reality. The car featured in the ad may seem more sexy or romantic, but the one spotlighted in the article becomes real. It is a news story. Not only is it luxurious, it is dependable, efficient, and reliable. Remember, it's 20-below outside, reliable is important. It is this type of credibility or validation that cannot be bought in the form of an ad. It is the credibility factor that makes PR so effective.

Copyright © Anthony Mora 2008
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