Monday, June 25, 2012

Mobile Vs No Mobile and Internet Vs Liveliness

I was talking to my Guwahati University Classmate, Diganta couple of days back. We talked about our university days. Became a bit nostalgic about those days…..the evenings at versity market, hostel raggings, busy schedule during versity weeks and youth festivals, hostel freshers’ day and what not!!!

Diganta stays very nearby to the University, and has a Restaurant chain in Guwahati. I asked him when he last visited our University and he said that he very frequently has to pass through the Versity campus.  Knowing that, I asked him with heavy excitement, if the girls still tease the guys from the hostel balconies and windows!  He said, “No, not at all. I doubt whether they can spare time from internet to spend some time in the balcony or peep through the windows….!”.

His answer took me to my versity-hostel days. My hostel was RCC-1. In this girls’ hostel campus, there are six hostels: RCC1, RCC2, RCC3, AT3, Law hostel and Research Scholar hostel. Those days, there was no internet facility, no mobile connection, even no land-line phone in the hostel. In my second year, one lady – Lota didi opened one PCO booth in our campus. She used open the PCO from 6 am till 10am and in the evening, from 5 pm till 9 pm and on Sunday, it used to be open for whole the day. And, Lotadi was treated as the most important person of the campus. To call up my parents, I had to be in queue for hours. And the girls who used to have distant boy-friends, like me J….had to take double trouble as one person was not allowed to call up twice at the same time.

Gone are those days. Now a days, every girl/boy, it would not be wrong if I say – student, has mobile, if he/she does not belong to an extremely low-profiled family. Now, PCOs are of no use. Lotadi has gone through a great loss.  She is no more important like before.

Another important thing which takes maximum time of the students, off-lately is the PCs or laptops. With internet connectivity, Social networking is winning more and more consumers day by day. Facebook, Orkut, Twitter etc. are becoming the bridges to make friendship, gossiping and connecting with each other. So, now, updates on Facebook are getting more importance than passing time with roommates/wall mates or hostel mates.

I remember, my lovely and active roommate, Jyotika used to open the window to let in the morning breeze at around 5:30 am. Then, she used to wake me up giving the tooth brush in my hand, putting the tea saucepan on the stove. Lazy me, after having tea, I used to study a bit. My table was in front of the window from where we could see our hostel’s, RCC I and 3’s guest meet room. At around 8 pm, I used to peep through my window if any ‘longing to meet his girlfriend’ visitors had arrived. If yes, I was generally the one who used to start the Shouting/Teasing Show. My voice was not bad that time…..I used to start ….. “Oooo’ Moina ….”. In university, all girls and all boys were called Moina. While I used to start, Pratibha, Juri, Mala, Borno and some others from another hostel used to start pouring dialogues….sing songs….The atmosphere used to become very lovely…and energetic! Same kind of situation used to happen in other girls’ and boys’ hostel campuses also.

I have not visited university many years. But. I heard from some classmates, that no girls tease visitors or passerby now. Have they become more studious? Or serious? Or extremely gentle? Or internet maniac? Hope, all these are happening for some good reasons.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Why PR is more Credible than Advertising?

BRANDING is important. A strong brand can make any organization, or any product or service immensely easier to sell. Branding is the emotional binge that a customer feels when thinking about your product or your organisation.

Many times, we see entrepreneurs throw away thousands of dollars, trying to grow their businesses with various branding techniques, looking at others doing it. Many organisations, whether they are small or big, are really confused where and how to allocate marketing funds to build the brand, drive sales and increase revenue. Now, Public Relations (PR) and Advertising are the two main arms of marketing which can solve this problem.

Another question often arises is, which tool to use and what works better, Advertising or PR. In this article, I will talk why PR is better than Advertising.

What is PR and Advertising?

PR is a powerful way to generate awareness and brand recognition for any business. It is the practice of managing the flow of information between an organization and its publics. Common activities include working with the press, speaking at conferences, winning industry awards, and employee communication etc.

Traditional public relations tools include press releases and press kits which are distributed to the media to generate interest from the press. Other widely used tools include brochures, flyers, mailer campaigns, road shows, newsletters, annual reports etc. Now, as time has changed, technology has created new ways to build and brand your company. Beyond traditional techniques, increasingly, companies are utilizing interactive social media outlets, such as blogging, microblogging, social media updates etc.

Advertising messages are usually paid, by the sponsors and viewed via various traditional media, including newspaper, magazines, online media, television commercial, radio advertisement, outdoor Advertising or direct mail; or new media such as blogs and websites and text messages.

Which get more credibility - PR or Advertising?

Publicity in the media through PR is more credible than Advertising. Many big players are relatively light purchasers of Advertising but heavy proponents of PR. There are many organizations that use less Advertising, but are frequently featured in business magazines and the general press, which carry tremendous credibility.

Noticeably, public relations can make a long-lasting impact on public awareness at a small part of the cost of Advertising. Getting publicity through PR happens in a low cost and sometimes even free. It is considered to be a low-cost alternative and more effective to other marketing tactics such as traditional Advertising and media buying.

So, what is the reason behind?

In case of PR, the organization does not pay for the space or time to get into the media, but only pays for the PR person to develop and circulate stories and manage certain events.

The media is always in hunt of interesting news. If you target the right media at the right time, nothing like that. If the company develops an attention-grabbing story, it could be picked up by all the news media and be worth millions of Rupees in equivalent to Advertising. Besides, it would have more credibility than Advertising as it is the process by which one can create a positive image and customer preference through third-party endorsement. Some experts say that consumers are five times more likely influenced by editorial copy than by Advertising.

Advertising, no matter how intelligent, witty, dramatic or aesthetically pleasing, is self-promotion. Some people are very skeptical of advertisements. Furthermore, Advertising is very expensive, especially if you have a big market to cover. On the other hand, PR goes through a filtering process. The editor or reporter scrutinizes the information before publishing, and picks the matter which is newsworthy and thus has more credibility. What PR lacks is it has no control over how the media which presents your information. But, the crisis management can rectify the negative coverage. Besides, media is not compelled to cover your event or publish your press release just because you sent something to them.

Advertising claims, uses refinement, comparisons, and borrows from the arts and psychology to try to influence decisions. But, PR is based on information, not seduction.

So, PR is better than any marketing tool including Advertising. The creative use of news events, publications, social events, community relations, and other PR techniques offers companies a way to distinguish themselves and their products from their competitors and build their brand.

A survey done jointly by Worldcom Public Relations Group and the Transworld Advertising Agency Network (TAAN) found both PR practitioners and Advertising specialists think that PR is making better use of social media.

Though PR can bring more credibility, Advertising can reinforce it. It's what we call PR-oriented Advertising. PR first establishes the credibility of the brand, and Advertising then reaffirms and reinforces the brand's credibility and brings more popularity.
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