The PR 360 Concept
Integrated 360-Degree Communication in Practice
What is the PR 360 concept?
The PR 360 concept uses a combination of Public Relations and marketing tools to increase brand awareness and induce demand for products and services.
Why did concept evolve?
The public relations and marketing communication theory is complex and often impractical. The goal of PR 360 is to utilise the current knowledge in these areas and to facilitate its application in everyday life based on verified knowledge and experience.
Who is it for?
Businesses, entrepreneurs as well as PR and marketing agencies. It helps plan, implement and evaluate all marketing and PR activities within a comprehensible system.
A Little Bit of Theory
Let’s start unconventionally from the end, i.e. with the 360-degree marketing communication. The PR 360 concept uses it as a fundamental principle for planning, implementing and evaluating short- and long-term campaigns. In short, it is an application of a combination of all relevant marketing tools and Public Relations tools that address potential and existing customers wherever they are. Whether online or offline. The following items are key to achieving a synergistic effect, especially in relation to the brand and product and service positioning on the market in relation to the competition.
- To build a mix of the most appropriate tools in respect of the budget, the target audience, and the offered products.
- To prepare a communication strategy and a value-added content for each tool.
The principles of 360-degree marketing communication are used by both smaller companies and multinational corporations (such as IKEA, Coca-Cola, Nike and others) as well as major PR and marketing agencies. It is a logical consequence of the development of advertising, marketing communication and Public Relations since the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and partly 19th century. Technical progress has enabled the automation of production, the use of new energy sources and, last but not least, the transportation of people and the distribution of goods virtually around the world.
In addition to globalization, overproduction of goods, the expansion of services and, in recent decades, the use of computer technology and the emergence of the Internet has also occurred. Goods production gradually exceeded the basic needs of consumers and there was a so-called hypercompetition – a situation where the needs and purchasing power of consumers are smaller than the volume of the produced goods and the range of the offered services. This created a certain imbalance between demand and supply. Nowadays, the main problem of businesses is not to produce goods but to sell them. It is similar in the service segment. In particular, to produce and sell at a profit that will allow permanent sustainability and growth.
Above the Line and Below the Line Communication
Hand in hand with these important changes goes the development of advertising, marketing and Public Relations. Traditional forms of promotion were previously divided into ATL (Above the Line) and BTL (Below the Line).
The ATL group included traditional media (radio, television) and the latter basically everything else. It is not so important that it is now almost impossible to define which forms of promotion and tools fall into one or the other group.
The milestone occurred when the division of the advertising and marketing communication forms made no sense and the term TTL (Through the Line) appeared. Marketing strategists have begun to use available tools and media collectively.
Prior to the development of the Internet and related new media, advertising in traditional media (television, radio, print), outdoor advertising, leaflets, printed publications and advertising at the point of sale played an important role. The sale itself was most often made during the personal dealings of the seller and the consumer.
With the development of new forms of advertising and marketing channels, the need to integrate all tools with a unified idea and to use the synergistic effect of combining multiple communication tools arose. Therefore, marketers started to plan integrated campaigns and use multichannel marketing. At the time of the boom of the Internet, new possibilities of communication were added and are still being added.
Integrated 360-Degree Communication and Public Relations
In parallel with this development, and until recently more or less separately, a field of Public Relations was established. It developed to a greater extent only after the Second World War, when the need for active and extensive communication with the public arose. The task was to develop relationships and, last but not least, to influence public opinion. At first, PR was primarily used by governments and political representations. Large companies and corporations also begun to use controlled communication with the general public afterwards, often through printed and later online media or press conferences.
The tools of marketing communication and PR have been linked at the highest level of integration only in the last two decades. While marketing communication is mainly concerned with inducing demand, the task of Public Relations is to build, develop and manage public relations (target groups in terms of marketing), thus raising awareness. As was more and more difficult to distinguish between ATL and BTL advertising in the 1990s (including the determination of the exact boundary), the boundary between Public Relations and marketing communication is more and more unclear nowadays. Awareness-raising and demand-inducing can then not be divided.
A Little Bit of Practice
The PR 360 concept is directly linked to integrated marketing communication and multichannel marketing using the latest experience in 360-degree marketing communication and Public Relations.
The main mission of the concept is to:
1/ Offer companies and agencies a credible, comprehensible, easy-to-use system for planning and managing short- and long-term campaigns.
2/ Increase awareness of the brand, company activities, products and services.
3/ Induce demand for products and services within a set marketing budget.
These goals are achieved through an individually chosen combination of tools, based on a 360-degree analysis.
Therefore, the basic PR 360 tools include:
1/ Public Relations through media
2/ Content Marketing and SEO
3/ PPC, PLA, RTB and other online campaigns (Google AdWords, Facebooks Ads and more)
4/ Remarketing (or retargeting)
5/ Social networks & media (Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and more)
6/ Direct Mailing (mostly in the form of a regular newsletter)
Advertising versus Marketing and PR
Significant changes and continuous development in the field of marketing tools, especially in the online environment, are a major reason for the PR 360 concept. Even the online environment is already heavily penetrated by active advertising (PPC campaigns, PLA ads, banner campaigns, pop-ups, video ads, contextual advertising, site background branding and much more). The space devoted to advertising is getting bigger than the space dedicated to the information for which the website exists. Therefore, consumer behaviour has undergone a substantial change over the last 10 years in purchasing decisions.
While consumers previously decided on purchases based on an ad that was actively viewed by them at a time they did not choose (such as a TV ad, space banner campaign, etc.), consumers now often want to make a purchase based on their own active search and choice of a specific product or service. Thus, consumers are less aware of the advertising that is trying to approach them, but the more they are influenced by the information they have sought.
In the planning, implementation and evaluation of campaigns, the concept uses generally recognized and proven principles it brings from theory to practice. The traditional concept of marketing communication and PR is also used in connection with new media and communication channels.
AIDA(S) - Attention, Interest, Desire, Action and Satisfaction
4P a 5C
4P – Product, Price, Placement, Promotion
SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats
Push and Pull strategies
Push marketing “pushes” customers to action; pull marketing responds to their impetuses
AIDA Model in 360-Degree Communication
Attention: The aim of the first phase is to get the attention.
Interest: The next step is to arouse the interest.
Desire: Then it is necessary to induce the desire, or to increase the feeling of need.
Action: The final goal is to ensure the action (for example purchase).
Satisfaction: The original AIDA model has been complemented by post-sell activities promoting satisfaction.
The AIDA(S) communication model is used by PR 360 in the overwhelming majority of activities, and it suggests the ideal message content for 360-degree communication in time waves. All marketing activities should logically follow each other and, in the long run, fulfil all five phases, where the result is the purchase of the consumer and at the same time their satisfaction with the purchased product or service. For existing customers, the AIDA(S) model is used to support both the recurring purchase and cross-selling (i.e. offer of related and new products to increase total sales).
Marketing Mix 4P/5C
The traditional marketing mix, called 4P (i.e. Product, Price, Promotion, Placement), has often focused on the perspective of the company in practice. That is on the production of the Product, its Price, Promotion and Placement. So, the product is in the centre of the action. One of the world’s most respected marketers, Prof. Philip Kotler, successfully worked with this concept and also made it famous thanks to the marketing bible named Marketing Management (first published in 1967).
In the 1990s, Prof. Robert Lauterborn defined a more modern concept of the marketing mix, called 4C (i.e. Consumer/Customer, Cost, Communication, Convenience). Much more emphasis is placed on consumers and their perception of products and services. However, the 4C model does not deny the traditional 4P concept, but rather emphasizes the view from the consumer’s/customer’s point of view and mutual communication.
The PR 360 concept adds another C to the marketing mix, which is Content (i.e. valuable content, or more attractive and comprehensible information). Content marketing principles have been proven since August Oetker added a recipe to the back of a baking powder package in 1891 and noted an increased interest in this otherwise same product. In 1900, Michelin released its Michelin Guide for motorists for the first time and then started to award Michelin Stars to hotels and restaurants. The successes of August Oetker and Michelin in building a brand by using valuable information are now, after more than a century, showed as examples of the power of Content marketing principles. At the time often referred to as “information”, and in connection with the online revolution, the Content/Information is of a fundamental importance and gains the highest value. The fifth C in the marketing mix is Content marketing and, to a large extent, Public Relations using the power of the media for marketing communications. Regularly delivering valuable content to consumers not only strengthens the brand’s position, but at the same time transmits important information for decision making and purchasing motivation.
PR 360 offers a clear order for marketing and PR activities set in the real world. Without an initial analysis, planning would be based only on subjective estimates or outdated information. Therefore, it uses the help of proven methods for the compilation of comprehensible and, above all, continuously usable source materials. The SWOT analysis is used to identify and define the company’s strengths and weaknesses (having an internal origin) and to identify potential opportunities and threats (having an external origin, such as competition activities, current market conditions, current demand, etc.).
There is often a need to promote more products (or even product groups) of trading companies on the market at the same time. To prioritize and identify a communication strategy, it uses the Boston matrix (often referred to as the BCG Matrix, defined by Boston Consulting Group). Within this matrix, individual products are placed within four segments with respect to their life cycle and potential in relation to the competition. A relatively witty designation belongs to official terminology:
1/ Question Marks
Newly marketed products where their market potential needs to be verified in practice. They often require considerable investment to launch, because they are new.
These include products with rapidly growing sales and market share. Maintaining growth also requires increased investment in marketing activities, but the result is an increase in the company’s turnover and, at a profitable margin, also higher profit.
3/ Cash Cows
Products with constant sales without too high costs that can hold the company’s financial stability.
These include products at the end of their life cycle, which are through being successful for objective reasons.
Ideally, the product will gradually pass through these phases. Even the last one is inevitable eventually. Regular work with the Boston matrix provides valuable feedback to determine the marketing strategy, budget, prioritize and spread the investments. And not only when first preparing the combination of tools or the content and communication strategy.
Push and Pull Strategies
The goal of Push marketing is to “push” customers to action, most often to purchase. It is a one-way communication in which the company acts on customers using unsolicited information. These can be (banner) advertising, leaflets, direct marketing, etc. Therefore, push marketing is most often used when introducing new products to market when we want customers to notice and want to own the product. But push marketing is also used to build a brand. The goal is to inform the customer, to encourage action or to raise awareness.
Pull marketing strategy is two-way. The main actor is the customer who acts actively. The customer is not just a consumer, they consciously search for product information. The second step is on the part of the company. However, to ensure this step, the company must take action beforehand to ensure that the customer finds it, finds information easily, and decides on the purchase. In practice, this can be a situation where the consumer searches for information on Google, gets to the web or e-shop via a PPC ad, finds the information required, the product matches their idea, captivates them and then they decide to buy it. The way to make a purchase decision is mostly much more complicated and the marketing plan must take it into account. The question is not whether to choose Push or Pull, but how, when and for which products to use it.