What the Elephant and the PR, Branding, Publicity and Marketing Expert Have in Common
By Raleigh Pinskey

“Without promotion a terrible thing happens, nothing!” This phrase was coined by circus impresario and entrepreneur P.T. Barnum. He made millions in the 1800’s from his promotional efforts. Did you know that Promotion is one of the top five driving forces for a successful business?

Promotion includes the terms PR, Publicity, Public Relations, Branding, Marketing, and Advertising. Each may have a different application and strategy, but they all have a common goal. That goal is to make enough noise to attract a buyer of your services, convince them of your value to them, funnel business to you that will make your cash register say Cha Ching!

Promotion was very different in Barnum’s day than it is today. The only mass communication available was telegraph, telephone and newspapers. This didn’t stop him from creating The Greatest Show on Earth which made him one of the USA’s first millionaires, and an international force to reckon with. 

In 1980 I founded The Raleigh Group – A Visibility PR & Marketing Company and I adopted Barnum’s wisdom as my mantra.

Here is a scenario I created to support his great quote. When the circus comes to town and you need to let the people know that the circus is coming, you hand out flyers, put up posters and hang banners from the lamppost. That’s Event Marketing.

When you Joint Venture with the local merchants to help fund the effort, and in return you offer them Event Signage, that’s Sponsorship Marketing.

When you invite the town folk to bring their cameras to take pictures with the circus performers and watch the animals unload, that’s called Community Outreach.

When the circus performers and elephants parade down Main Street, with a preview of the skits and pranks they’ll do in the Main Tent, that’s Visibility Marketing.

If you throw a brightly colored embroidered blanket with the circus logo over the back of the elephants and parade them through town, that's creating Brand Recognition.

When your lead elephant sits on the mayor’s car, relieves himself on his lawn then tramples through his flower garden, all while the TV cameras roll, the broadcasters relate the incident, and the photographers snap away, you’ve created Publicity. 

If the mayor forgives the elephant, and you offer the mayor and his cabinet the honor of opening the circus by riding in on the forgiven elephant, that’s the art of Public Relations, which is all about Building Strategic Relationships.

That was the way promotion was primarily done in the beginning. With the addition of radio and TV it  improved, but a Media Opportunity still wasn’t quick to become a happening.  And the preverbal “15 minutes of fame” might have taken longer.

But that was then, and this is now. Enter the new technology. Now, that type of incident has turned those “15 minutes of fame” into a lifetime, giving a new meaning for the term the “shot heard round the world.” 

How? Why? Because now, people viewing the parade carry a video cell phone that instantly powers the happening to Media Outlets all over the world. In a blink of an eye you are up MySpace and YouTube, literally for the entire world to see.The radio and TV newscast is simulcast on the Internet, with the visuals on their site so the audience can participate at their leisure. The elephant’s activities become both a video and audio Podcast , the Bloggers and Eziners turn a local  story into a world wide event, and archive it on their Web site and in data bases for perpetual reference.

Members of the Social Networking Sites like FaceBook and LinkedIn, etc are spreading the picture of the elephant with the circus logo like wildfire. Professional Speakers and Trainers are turning the incident into a speech on Leadership, Anger Management, Attitude and Forgiveness. A Children’s Book Publisher options the story rights, and a star is reborn.PR professionals are sending out Search Engine Optimized Electronic Media Releases, putting it on their Online Newsroom or Press Room to make it available to journalists combing Web sites for interesting material and quotes.

I leave you with the image of every News and Talk Show staff feverously scanning the News Wire Feed, and the local professional story reporters’ electronic transmissions, as they simultaneously reference key Social Media Sites and KeyboardCulture.com type sites, looking for the next great guest that will up their ratings, their salary and keep them on the air. 

I repeat, without promotion something terrible happens, nothing!

Meet Raleigh R. Pinskey at VOICE 2008!  Raleigh Pinskey speaks internationally, coaches and consults on how to maximize your biz-ability thru visibility®. Raleigh Pinskey is the author of the international best selling 101 Ways to Promote Yourself (Harper Collins) and over 50 books, CD’s, MP3’s and information products to help you strategize on how to put your name and message in front of your target market over and over and over again, and get business to come to you. CEO of The Raleigh Group founded in 1980, Raleigh Pinskey is a recognized authority on PR, Branding, Publicity, Marketing and self-promotion. Check out Raleigh’s website, blog and e-zine at www.promoteyourself.com, it’s chock full of useful articles and case studies guaranteed to help you succeed. Raleigh Pinskey can be reached at 480-488-4840.


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