Quiz 21: Public Relations, Buzz Marketing, and Sponsorships


Rumor is defined as a statement about something that may or may not be true. In a competitive market, companies face rumors and deals with different types of consequences. There are a number of examples that have damaged the brand name completely and have given an advantage to competitive brands. At times, companies prefer to not react to rumors while sometimes they start anti-rumor campaign. False or baseless rumors are generally preferred to not react while rumors that are directly affecting the brand image and creating confusion in the mind of the audience are dealt with anti-rumor campaign. As a restaurant owner, a false rumor about head chef has a contagious disease, can be handled by claiming hygiene of the restaurant with the help of credibility prove. There are following methods that can help in dealing with this situation: 1. Adding a statement on material served in restaurant "all chefs and employees are medically fit as per doctor" can ensure customers about medical fitness of all employees. The name of doctor and clinic credibility can also be provided with detail. 2. Selection of credible spokesperson is another way to deal with this situation. Whereby doctors can be asked to come at a restaurant and talk about hygiene of restaurant services in front of customers or students. Emphasis should be given to untrue statements spread about the restaurant in college. 3. The people who are spreading such rumors can be requested to give proves of such disease. 4. A small leaflet should be distributed to all students in the college to ensure quality of the restaurant.

Publicity is an informal means of spreading information about company, brand and person. It may be positive or negative for promoting something. Though it is similar with advertising, but with many differences. Advertising is a precise form of marketing communication that understands the customers before deciding message to be delivered. Following differences can be considered to differentiate between advertising and publicity: 1. Paid or free : Advertisements are paid means of promoting brand while publicity can be free. Marketers try to find free space for publicity such as press conferences, word of mouth, and news conferences. 2. Control over promotions: Advertisement is paid and marketers pay for what to advertised, thus, the company can fully control over promotions. While publicity is generally not under the control of marketers because it is media personnel who take brand information and decide how to spread information about the brand. They are not obligated to show all the event and information marketers want to show. 3. Incorporating creativity : Advertisement demand rigorous efforts of creativity. It is based on understanding what, how and when information has to be transmitted. The knowledge and efforts of experts are incorporated into advertisements. In contrast, publicity is designed by experts, but it is at times informal in nature that may or may not be creative. In advertisement, one can ensure the credibility, while in publicity proving something become difficult. 4. Long lasting : Advertisements reaches to the public at large and may drag the attention of the non-target audience as well. Publicity presents the information in certain program or conferences that may or may not get into memory of customers for long. People may get familiar with the products or services advertised in the case of advertisements. In contrast, publicity carries short term memory in the mind of customers.

Publicity is an informal means of spreading information about company, brand and person. It may be positive or negative for promoting something. At times publicity takes the form of rumors when some negative information is spread. Spreading information about bad quality, hygiene and poor staff of the company are very common examples of bad publicity. While positive feedback from customers, good quality products and efficient services are positive publicity. Marketing experts consider publicity to be too difficult to control and measure due to following reasons: 1. Uncontrollable information : Information floated in publicity are not in control of marketers unless spread by the company itself. Due to the uncontrollable nature of publicity, marketers cannot stop the negative information flowed in the market. Secondly, publicity comes into notice when already flowed and taking action after customers got some untrue information become very difficult for the company. 2. Give birth to new competition : It has been seen that publicity that is based on secret information or policy of the company give an advantage to newcomers in the market to change their strategies. Thus, marketers face challenges in dealing with competitors when they are well prepared in advance with existing brand's weaknesses. 3. Publicity from word of mouth : Marketers have found that they cannot satisfy all customers at one point of time. The critiques have more influential power than satisfied customers. It has also seen that satisfied customer does not leave a positive word unless asked, but unsatisfied customers spread bad word about the brand in the market. The market has a tendency to absorb negative information more than positive detail. This problem is a challenge for companies to deal with publicity. 4. Publicity as a means or as a tool: Marketers believe that publicity is used as a means of promoting brand can enhance brand image, but when used as a tool to compete in the market then it becomes challenging for the company. Though it can be controlled when timely noted, but can increase the chances of damage too when ignored.