People doing research for case studies

In the theories concerning the effects of the media on human behaviour, the impact of advertising and PR is still a controversial topic. A current study by the University of Applied Sciences Mainz now repeated the analysis of this topic. The result: PR works, especially when it comes to communicating knowledge but the arguments need to be believable and convincing – like for the so-called “High Involvement”- products, with which the costumer specifically deals with before purchasing, for example a new car or a new television.

Traditional advertising has the most impact when it comes to products which the costumer is paying less attention to and which are regarded as interchangeable, like products in daily use such as cleaning agent.

„That’s what I always thought about it” is what many PR colleagues might think now, because that’s exactly what I thought when reading the press release.

The same – though not representative – feedback is what we are often getting from our costumers, because Technology and Clean Tech are typical High Involvement products. For example: I recently compared the page views of the company’s website against a client of mine, just out of interest. Whenever a new press release is published, the number of visitors grows rapidly. In contrast, when an advertisement for junior employees has been placed, we only see marginal traffic increases for this period; however, since we also support the HR-campaign for the company, we can tell that the job applications grow, so the effort is clearly worthwhile.

Another interesting story is the case of a customer whose Xing profile views increased to double digits just in a single day –  and had many more inquiries coming in – when we shared a press released about expand the German team.

Prof. Dr. Lothar Rolke, who led this study, believes that “the communication-mix is going to change a lot”. I’m keen to see in which direction. At the moment the trend seems to be that companies are reducing the advertising budget or replace it with PR, to the disappointment of the print media platforms. I think sooner or later new PR and advertising paradigms will emerge, influenced by new technologies and consumer behaviours. We’ll see which ones.

Jessica Schmidt