How To Create PR That No One Sees...And Succeed.
People who work with PR are often limited by the conventional wisdom that PR must be seen to have an effect. In our complicated media and social landscape, however, there’s another equally effective approach: create invisible PR that changes the landscape.
Called by many names: Zen PR, Silent Buzz, Viking Spin or just good ol’ word of mouth, this method has been used with extraordinary success by such legends as Patagonia and Absolut.
The best way to explain how it works is to start with an example. In the 1980s and into part of the 1990s, Patagonia, the outdoor...
...clothing manufacturer, donated ten per cent of its annual net profits to small grassroots environmental organisations. The donations were never made public, never mentioned in press releases or glossy corporate brochures. The donations were essentially secret. This policy was maintained for well over a decade, resulting in millions of dollars invested where it would do the most good — in small, grass roots organisations with specific, often local issues.
While carmakers and oil companies spent billions to advertise microscopic environmental contributions, Patagonia made an enormous commitment and remained quiet. Was this noble? Of course. Was this good PR? You bet. Even though Patagonia shunned publicity, the recipients of the funding talked to friends, family and neighbours, who talked to friends, family and neighbours. Word spread quickly in precisely the right target group for Patagonia’s products — people with outdoor interests — and Patagonia’s sales skyrocketed. The company has since made its programme public, but the company still retains the highest credibility. Regardless of whether this program sprang from purely altruistic motives or not, it had a profound effect on the growth of the business and making the world just a little bit better. In its Zen PR years,... continued on page two >