Public relations play a crucial role in the modern world because they have a great impact on the perceptions and attitudes of potential buyers. Public relations perform the necessary functions of informing and persuading, which are both complementary and conflicting. Consumers want it to guide their consumption decisions in an objective manner, whereas advertisers want it to achieve mass selling by aggregating mass demand so that mass production can be stabilized and supported. The reasons for the use of public relations are clear. Public relations affect both costs and revenues; used effectively, it can increase sales and profits. It supplements and improves the effectiveness of other elements of the marketing mix, alters the predisposition of potential purchasers, provides information, and gains brand loyalty, attracting customers and stimulating consumer desire and action (Botan 150). As a principal means of illuminating the attributes that differentiate a product, public relation is a competitive weapon that can secure a market niche and assure some stability in the marketplace by shaping demand curves, making them more inelastic and extending markets.
From the consumer’s standpoint, public relations inform and persuades. It furnishes information, calls attention to some clues and not others, changes attitudes and opinions, relates products to consumer needs, gives consumers support for their decisions, affects the intensity of desires, and thereby generates action. A lack of consensus often exists within a company as to what public relations is designed to do. Is it aimed at immediate sales impact, the introduction of a new product, the development of a general image, or the promotion of a brand name? (Public Relations Society of America 2009). All of these are legitimate public relations tasks, each of which requires a different solution. It is germane to distinguish the task of maintaining market position from that of cultivating and developing new markets. The recent examples of effective public relations campaigns are such brands as T. J. Maxx, Victoria’s Secret, Valentino, Gap and Adidas. For each of these brands, the nature of public relations tasks is indicated by the decisions that must be made: the amount of money to be spent on public relations, the allocation of the budget among classes of media, the specific media to be selected within each class, the frequency and continuity of ads, the makeup of the specific messages to be presented, and the kinds and amount of public relations research. These are difficult decisions to make (Brassington and Pettitt 32). For instance, Victoria’s Secrets management is faced with the decision of whether to advertise in markets where sales are high or low. For these brands, the role of public relations in the marketing mix varies with the product and its stage of development. Public relations compresses time horizons for the acceptance of products and facilitates the introduction of new products. Fundamental and functional innovations necessitate basic changes in consumer habits, which are difficult to achieve and require heavy public relations (Chitty et al 28). Strategic and tactical innovations do not demand great change in consumer habits, a fact that may shift the focus of the public relations job. During periods of expanding markets, volume, price, and distribution channels are important factors and mass public relations support them. As markets mature, public relations becomes a competitive weapon. Now minor product adjustments are stressed to persuade consumers who know the product to select it over competitors’ products, and to endeavor to increase the rate of use. Public relations do support the actual distribution of products and can be used to push or pull a product through distribution channels (Schultz and Kitchen 87).
The examples of gap and Adidas PR campaigns show that by creating demand at the ultimate consumer level, public relations can influence retailer and wholesaler decisions to carry a product — this pulls the product through the channels. To a large extent, the product is presold (Clow and Baack 87). Conversely, by aggressive promotion, by the development of dealer and retailer campaigns, by providing public relations allowances, and by preparing merchandising programs, public relations can also push a product through the channels of distribution to final consumers (The Institute of Public Relations 2006). Public relations also helps create and maintain marketing systems. It can foster interfirm coordination and linkages of manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers. For the marketing task is not complete with the sale of the product; satisfied customers must be retained. Reaffirmation of consumer choice, a post-sale activity, is important (Harris 44). Continued public relations after purchase gives the customer public acknowledgment of his wise choice and tends to eliminate or reduce cognitive dissonance. The customer is reassured and resold. Repeat business is the avenue to continued success, and postsale public relations is often the course to repeat business (Public Relations Society of America 2009). Publicity, which is an integral part of many promotional campaigns and sometimes precedes the public relations and sales effort, lies outside them. Although it can be important in gaining market acceptance for products and companies, publicity, like word of mouth, is often a relatively low-grade communications channel with a high degree of interference, distortion, and noise. Public relations can be appraised meaningfully only in terms of its effect on other aspects of marketing. As in all decisions, management is concerned with the returns on resources expended (Keegan and Green 2004). The true measure of a strategy’s effectiveness is how successful it is in accomplishing the goal or purpose. In a balanced scorecard, a strategic approach is a primary objective, while an employee remains the means, not the end.
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The current collection of Victoria’s Secret represents a unique combination of fashionable clothes and a unique perception of women’s beauty. A new concept of Victoria’s secret is based on beautiful forms mainly aesthetic (meant to induce innocently pleasurable sensations, even if on occasion they threatened to appeal to amoral tastes), and they must be explicitly moral in order to further principles of love and virtue. Ideal beauty image requires that each generation collaboratively create and declare its own social and aesthetic standards, codes, and norms for ideal truth and beauty. The Victoria’s Secret ideal is a matter of individual preference, and individual since the experience of truth and beauty can neither be created nor discovered but can only — simply, amazingly –happen. For instance, the modernism movement wore a harried masculine face. Classicism and serenity were feminine in feature and arrayed in the white folds of a Grecian garment. Ordinary men might want to go forth to “make” a society founded upon stable rules of thought and conduct, but women. The new vision of Victoria’s Secret will change the life of every woman.
Botan. C., “International Public Relations: Critique and refomulation”, Public Relations Review 19, #2, 1992, pp. 150-151.
Brassington, F. and Pettitt, S. Principles of Marketing, Financial Times Management, 2003.
Chitty, B., Barrker, N., & Shimp, T. Integrated Marketing Communication – First Pacific Rim Edition. South Melbourne: Thomson Learning, 2005.
Clow, K.E. and Baack, D. Integrated Advertising, Promotion and Marketing Communications, Prentice Hall/Pearson Education: Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2002.
Harris, T. Value-Added Public Relations: The Secret Weapon of Integrated Marketing. McGraw-Hill, 2000.
Keegan, W. J., Green. M. C. Global Marketing. Prentice Hall; 4 edition, 2004.
The Institute of Public Relations. 2006.
Public Relations Society of America.. 2009. Web.
Schultz, D.E. and Kitchen, P.J. Communicating Globally: an Integrated Marketing Approach, Palgrave-Macmillan: London, 2001.
Victoria’s Secret. Home Page 2009.