By now you've heard the news—your paid marketing and advertising efforts are suffering from a loss of credibility with your target market. Marketing authorities Al Ries and daughter Laura have even declared the "Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR" when it comes to building brands and perceptions in the minds of consumers.

In effect, marketers are now dealing with a "credibility gap"—if you were to create an ad tomorrow that was 100% fact, your target audience may not believe the message solely because it came in the form of a paid advertisement.

The good news is that you can close the gap significantly for your brand's marketing activities by leveraging PR and marketing together. Specifically:

  • Use PR to drive awareness and credibility for your brand through the media.
  • Align your PR and marketing objectives to allow the credibility generated by your PR to rub off on your marketing—making your paid marketing messages more credible in the eyes of increasingly skeptical consumers.

In this article we'll look at how PR can be used to enhance a company's paid marketing efforts using the framework of a well-known marketing model—the product lifecycle. At each stage of the lifecycle, we'll identify the PR strategy and tactics that can be used to enhance the credibility of your brand and your marketing efforts.

Introduction Phase

The marketing challenge for most companies at this stage is to promote the benefits of the new category. Often, brand-building is put on hold in order to first establish the category in the minds of consumers.

PR Strategy

In the early days of a category, the key strategic consideration in PR is establishing your company (or a specific person) as a "thought leader." You want to attach your brand name to the category through the media, so that your brand recognition and credibility will grow as the category grows.

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Geoff Dillon is a Toronto-based marketing communications professional. You can reach him at or via his blog, The Marketing Blender, (