Menus of Persuasion in a new age of PR? by @sportmarketing1

Your business is changing, has changed, and will need to change ever more dramatically, to meet the ‘persuaders’ challenge in the dawning of the new business age we are all entering. As Philip Kotler so eloquently but practically put it “In the coming decade marketing will be re-engineered from A-Z.”

There is little doubt that markets and marketing are now operating on quite different principles as the early decades of the twenty- first century evolve. The vision of how this might be applied to business through a new PR lens has some valuable considerations and is the feature of this blog.

The suggestion is that the most influential businesses will organise demand rather than supply; where the dominant form of Marketing & PR revolves around helping buyers to buy, rather than helping sellers to sell. The way a new age business operates is primarily determined by the way they communicate. Effective communication is about breaking down barriers. One is reminded of the lyrics uttered in the famous musical ‘Paint your Wagon’ –“I talk to the trees, but they don’t listen to me, I talk to the birds, but they don’t understand”. The ultimate guideline therefore for effective communication is removing the noise! Ensure you make it easy for your customer’s to say yes and difficult to say no! The customers mind is like an umbrella- it works best when open- so stimulate it with positive messages, personal incentives and active involvement. Try and break the mould by being positively different, maybe turning right occasionally when you have always turned left. The adage that ‘familiarity breeds contempt should be re-written as ‘familiarity breeds favourability’ where the better known company is the better regarded. It is imperative that you have a story to tell and your products/brands/service indicate these four key characteristics:

1. Memorability

2. Image

3. Distinctiveness

4. Packaging for Purpose

These are sure ways for success and beating the competition. Additionally your business needs to focus on what I term ‘reputation management’ where your business strives to maintain the following core principles:

  • Be clear about your own distinctive purpose and values
  • Be prepared to give a lead in all relationships you foster by communicating a consistent themed message
  • Be clear that all your relationships are reciprocal
  • That your business is also not ‘closed’ but part of a wider system
  • You will need to be flexible and prepared to compromise and manage ‘trade-offs’ to benefit stakeholders
  • Have measures for assessing performance and change.

Remember we are all competing for the consumer’s attention. You are now competing in the ‘attention economy’ where wealth of information tends to blur and create a ‘poverty’ of attention. Your message and information therefore needs to stand out and be ‘memorable’- hence the need to communicate directly with the buyer to relate to them individually and to ultimately persuade. This involves direct ‘talk-to-talk communication’ where the age of ‘mass speak’ is reduced and a more personal dialogue is being developed. Hence a new preponderance of persuasive marketing is being fostered through ‘relationship marketing’ and MPR (marketing public relations)-the business of what can be termed ‘familiarity marketing’. This approach is engendered by:

  • Tailored objectives
  • Specific outcomes orientation
  • Unique benefits
  • Personal attention from inception to completion
  • Ultimate consumer focus driven activities
  • Win-win-win scenarios-business/-customer/-stakeholders

These ‘menus of persuasion’ should constantly be refreshed by having feedback dialogue and channels of communication with current existing and potential customers. Remember that time is the ultimate non-renewable resource’ – use it wisely and effectively


Alan J Seymour is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing & Public Relations at Northampton Business School, The University of Northampton.

Alan has spent many years in teaching, lecturing and media management and is currently engaged in research in Sports Management, Marketing & PR, Social Media, as well as authoring chapter in latest edition of Sports Marketing 4th edition by Mullin, Hardy & Sutton (2014).

Alan also has an innate interest in Education with a research portfolio in Teaching and Learning Management programmes together with a focus on professional practice, as well as recently being voted in the top 100 marketing Professors on Twitter. He will be presenting a keynote paper-“Fandom & Followers” on Sport & Social Media -at the forthcoming EASM (European Association of Sport Management) conference in September 2014.



Twitter: @sportmarketing1