Counting the Christmas PR effect

christmas-saleIn the run up to Christmas, PR activities are vitally important in setting the scene for public sentiment, profiling must-have products, and promoting the marketing promotions.  This is the topic of #3 in my 12 Days of Christmas blogging series.

The effect of PR efforts devoted to generating media headlines over the past month or so should be evident this weekend when holiday shopping steps up a gear. However, it would appear that despite all the early focus on “the battle of the Christmas adverts“, media coverage is already emphasising discounting as the main method being employed to generate sales. Rather than building sales through brand and reputation, the spiral of cutting prices seems to reflect a failure in stimulating customer Christmas confidence.

According to the Telegraph, retailers are following the lead of Walmart’s Asda which has claimed its ‘Black Friday’ sales promotion campaign was a phenomenal success. Brands are desperately creating their own special money-off promotions which means they will be expecting PR teams to scramble launch events, churn out media releases that talk about the marketing efforts and generally attempt to maximise hype.

Others are scrutinising the effects of PR and marketing efforts after making predictions about the increase in online, and click-and-collect, sales.

The need to shift stock and tempt customers in any way possible has taken over. But as the public are now active players in the pre-Christmas commercial game, it is difficult to see how the investment in million pound campaigns involving PR, advertising and promotional activities will return much profit.

Of course, there is a short window of opportunity to talk about Christmas, but one of the consequences of such a focus for PR on the marketing-sales effect, is that the usual discussion of the function being about relationships and reputation seem sidelined.

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Heather Yaxley PhD

Dr. Heather Yaxley is passionate about sustainable careers, reflective practice and professional development. I am a rhizomatic educator, practitioner, consultant, academic and scholar. As a qualified academic, I teach the CIPR professional qualifications with PR Academy and have experience teaching at various Universities. I run the Motor Industry Public Affairs Association (MIPAA) and my own strategic consultancy. I was awarded by PhD researching Career Strategies in Public Relations by Bournemouth University in 2017. I'm a published author, with books, chapters and academic papers to my name.