Invaluable Career Learnings
I’m indebted to this thirty-two-year-old pair of Ray-Ban®
It was the pre internet 1980s. I was settling into a junior marketing role in United Drug (now the UDG Group). My mission, to build the distribution and sales of Ray-Ban® in Ireland.
Then this ‘Driving Glass’ arrived on my desk, bearing the princely retail price tag of IR£79, no mean sum back then.
I soon had it adorning the front window of the 15 ‘exclusive’ Ray-Ban retailers. With zero budget I sat and waited, with fingers crossed. Then one evening, as I was glancing over the new car reviews in the paper, a glimmer of an idea took root. Could I get the motoring journalists to test-drive the ‘Driving Glass’ for me?
The following morning, I compiled what was to be the first of my many journalist contact lists. Fast forward three months (and lots of tooing and frooing), and reviews started to appear in the newspapers. My unusual request had stoked the columnist’s curiosity, offering them a ‘different’ motoring angle.
The result landed ‘my’ brand in front of the eyes of their readers, my target customers (car drivers). Sales of the Driving Glass which had been trickling, began to flow.
The press coverage proved to be an invaluable and cost-effective brand building tool. They helped:
- Stimulate consumer interest,
- Enhance the support I gave to my stockists
- Grow brand sales, and
- Facilitate extension of the distribution network.
So, back to my learnings.
- PR is a powerful revenue and brand building tool. It helped grow sales from a minimal level to a six-figure sum.
- The importance of context.
Marketing instinct led me to target readers interested in cars. Today’s neural researchers would point to the fact that the ‘Driving Glass’ reviews appeared in a premium editorial environment. This enabled me present my brand to the reader at a time when the front and left hand-side of their brain was actively engaged. This enhanced the encoding of my message, boosting its potential impact by over 20%.
- This new aspect of Marketing (PR) which was totally new to me gave me a real buzz. It still does.