I’ve had this book on my shelf for several years: The Fall of Advertising & The Rise of PR. I dusted it off today after reading a New York Times story indicating the book’s prophecy is closer than ever to being realized.
When the book was written, in 2002, the term ‘social media’ was not part of marketers’ or PR pros’ lexicons. However the authors’ premise was that in the 21st century, successful brands are born with publicity and the credibility generated by PR. Advertising’s credibility is increasingly marginalized because it is a bought-and-paid-for message. The authors claim advertising’s true value is brand maintenance, not brand definition.
So no wonder then that new research finds that advertising continues to contract, while PR and ‘word-of-mouth marketing’ is expanding.
This is not to say that spending on more credible forms of communication will overtake ad spending – not even close. But projections that place the media industry as the third-fastest-growing economic sector in coming years (after mining and construction) are due primarily to the growth in PR and word-of-mouth marketing.
This is all good news for brands with great stories to share, and good news for those of us in the business of telling great stories.