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With Consumers Clearer About Their Values, Marketing Becoming More Like PR
By: Doug Bedell
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Marketing keeps becoming more like public relations with PR enhancing marketing. Samara Farber Mormar, of Hunter Public Relations, explains on PRWeek a good part of the reason why that's happening, backed up by a seminal article, "The Power of the Post-Recession Consumer," by John Gerzema and Michael D'Antonion on the strategy+business blog. The trend's occurring because chastened consumers are becoming more values-based in their choices. And that's a good thing.

Samara calls the trend "values-based" marketing and sees it as "an opportunity for our discipline (PR) to contribute more than ever as drivers of brand marketing. Simply put, values-based marketing sparks an emotional connection between consumers and brands by focusing on the values they both share."

 It's more, perhaps, like marketing recognizing that consumers have become more value and relational-conscious in this painful post-recession period. Samara notes: "They express core wants, desires, needs, and passions. The 93 values they've defined include everything from justice, compassion, and integrity to playfulness, speed, and my personal favorite, moxie. So although all cause-related marketing is inherently values based, not all values-based marketing must be cause-related."

As Gerzema and D'Antonion say in their article, "people are returning to old fashioned values to build new lives of purpose and connection. They also realize that how they spend their money is a form of power, and are moving from mindless consumption to mindful consumption, increasingly taking care to purhase goods and services from sellers that meet their standards and reflect their values."

We say, right on. That's really putting the public into public relations. Marketing folks, here's how that's done... 

The marketing firm Live Innovations provides an example from the French nuclear power industry in a press release on a study commissioned by the British-based Public Relations Consultants Association noting how tight PR and marketing budgets have become.

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About the Author
Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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