04 December 2006

And the rising sun means it's morning…

Earned Media Coverage More Effective than Paid Coverage

Not my words, dear friends. But where could such a statement of the bleeding obvious have come from? The nursery school guide to public relations? The idiot bluffer’s guide to all things marketing? The CIPR’s homepage?

Of course not. As you’ll have realised by now, those words were penned by someone – or at least an organisation – that really should have edged just a little way further along the PR learning curve by now. They’re from Edelman…more specifically, they’re from Edelman in Japan.

OK, so I’m no expert on the Japanese PR market, but I’ve a feeling that even in the land of the rising sun they probably already know that “earned media coverage using a PR agency is more effective than paid media coverage using an advertising agency” to quote the press release.

Of course, it’s a press release based on some research - the the 2006 Edelman Japan Stakeholder Study, no less. The survey “polled a total of 140 Japanese opinion-leaders from seven stakeholder groups: senior business executives, institutional investors, government, media, NGOs, up-scale consumers, and employees.” All those groups and only 140 respondents? One from each, was it? "Up-scale consumers"? What, big ones?

Other “striking” (or rather, not) statistics reveal that “engagement” in blogging is on the increase…and by “engagement” Edelman Japan means either writing or reading…and the fact that CSR is regarded as a “sincere business shift” by 49% of respondents. That’s nice…until you realise that another 46% of respondents thought that CSR is just a “way to improve image in the marketplace.”

I’m not sure what upsets me most about this. That Edelman feels the need to explain that earned media coverage is better than paid media coverage, or that it believes that a survey of 140 people is statistically sound. This respondent thinks they’re both a bit suspect…

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