Introduction: Proving – and Improving – PR Value
The easiest and most direct way to examine the connection between public relations and sales occurs in isolated situations where public relations is the sole form of marketing communication. Simply stated, when no competing marketing communication activity exists except public relations, one may reasonably infer that PR drives incremental sales. For example, when a well-known New Jersey food brand celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its pioneering brand of frozen dinner entrees, it did so with just a modest media relations campaign but neither advertising nor promotions. Within the anniversary month, there was a 40 percent sales boost in the overall frozen entree category and an even greater increase for the anniversary celebrating brand. Because the media relations activity was the only marketing communication employed to support this campaign, the brand felt comfortable attributing the incremental sales to the PR campaign. The case was made using a simple cross-tabulation of stories generated and sales during the corresponding months. While this example does not quantify causation or correlation, the marketing investment decision-makers were comfortable with the assumption which — for them — demonstrated a positive relationship between PR and sales.
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