Advertising Snobbery

Public Relations, aka PR, is great, because it gives the consumer a sense of an impartial third-party endorsement. It’s almost like the media outlet is saying:

“This company is good because we have analyzed it. We like the product/service they provide. Their core values are great. We think you should give them a try.”

And, simply by virtue of this unspoken endorsement, the PR coverage makes people want to buy/try/invest in their product or service. People want to be part of “it” – whatever “it” is.Advertising Snobbery

This kind of PR coverage, if done well, can sometimes lead to a brand acquiring a cult status, especially among sophisticated buyers who don’t want to buy what everyone else buys. They don’t shop Wal-Mart or K-Mart. They’re “elites” and are looking for a unique brand experience – and they WANT to pay more for it because they want their experience to be different from a common, everyday experience.

Which is why, if a company is getting a lot of good PR, and developing a core group of devoted followers, one tactic they should employ is to pull back on their advertising, or stop it all together. A brand can be thought of a too “mainstream” if they advertising becomes too ubiquitous. Brands that have a cache can profitably stay off the mainstream “radar” by enjoying the loyal following of those who relish being part of a unknown, undiscovered brand.

In many cases, upscale brands can significantly damage their cache if their advertising appears too frequently or in too many media outlets. IZOD Lacoste polo shirts is an excellent example. A brand popular with the golf and tennis set in the 1980s, it became “mainstream” wildly popular in a few years. But, because of the brand’s overexposure in its advertising and its own popularity, it quickly lost its cache and sales dropped dramatically.

However, because everything old becomes new again, a new audience is rediscovering the brand. This time Lacoste is keeping the price point upwards of $100, which maintains it aspirational brand status and Lacoste is choosing to market the brand virally and eschew any mass advertising.

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