When I was in a college rock band, I learned that someone had to hear or see your band name in print more than a dozen times before they would even notice it. It’s been long known that advertising is all about reach + frequency. You have to reach the right audience multiple times. A “one-off” advertisement doesn’t work.
The same is true in public relations. Your key messages need to reach your target audiences multiple times from multiple sources in order to move the needle. It’s a great compliment to hear from a customer “I don’t know where I saw it, but I have been hearing a lot of good things about your company lately.”
Back in 1885, Thomas Smith wrote famously about frequency in Successful Advertising:
The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
The second time, they don’t notice it.
The third time, they are aware that it is there.
The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
The fifth time, they actually read the ad.
The sixth time they thumb their nose at it.
The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.
The eighth time, they start to think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”
The ninth time, they start to wonder if they’re missing out on something.
The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they’ve tried it.
The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.
The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.
The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.
The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.
The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.
The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what is offering.
If you would like to hear more about public relations messaging, listen to the PR Wars podcast “What’s in it for me?”
The PR Wars “Comms 101″ segment recognizes core communication principles to help you become a better communicator.
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