This week B-to-B magazine named us one of the top 25 newsmakers of the new millennium! Quite an impressive and flattering honor. I actually first learned of the honor when I got a call from a woman in a phone center trying to sell me a custom plaque of the article. With the hundred or so magazines we get every month, sometimes it takes a while to read each new issue, so I hadn’t read it yet.
It is funny that as soon as you get mentioned, quoted or profiled in the media there are all sorts of companies that immediately call, email and write you trying to sell reprints, plaques, DVDs and other memorabilia. We certainly live in a culture that values publicity, fame, and celebrity. And I’m not ashamed to admit, I probably will mount the B-to-B article at some point and hang it on my wall. But more importantly it will now be a permanent part of my bio. Laura Ries, a B-to-B top 25 newsmaker of the new millennium and Business 2.0 management guru. Third party endorsement is the key to building credibility for a brand. Nothing builds brands like PR!
Al Ries, chairman; Laura Ries , president, Ries & Ries
Big year: 2002
Headline: Al and Laura Ries publish “The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR”
Behind the news: Al Ries and his daughter, Laura, wrote one of the most controversial marketing books of the nascent century, “The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR.” The book posits the theory that advertising is no longer the way to build brands; PR is. The Rieses contend advertising had lost its believability, especially when it came to new products. The way, then, to introduce a new brand to the consciousness of the market is through the media. To influence the media, PR is necessary. The Rieses cited several examples of new brands—Starbucks, Red Bull and Google—that were built with almost no advertising but a bucketful of public relations. Of course, ad agencies vociferously disputed the Rieses’ conclusions, and others say the notions put forth in the book are obvious. But they got people talking—and sold a lot of books.
Update: The Rieses’ next book, “The Origin of Brands,” didn’t strike the same chord. —S.C.
Other Newsmakers: Robert Bernard (former CEO, MarchFirst); John Beystenhner (COO UPS); Shelby Bonnie/Halsey Minor (CEOs CNET); Sergey Brin/Larry Page co-founders Google); Beth Comstock (CMO, General Electric); Jay Fiore (Senior manager, eBay); Carleton Fiorina (former CEO HP); Bill Gray (President Ogilvy & Mather NY); Bill Gross (CEO Idealab); Gordon T. Hughes II (CEO American Business Media); Peter Kann (CEO Dow Jones); Abby Kohnstamm (Sr. VP-marketing IBM); Dave Morgan (CEO Tacoda Systems); James Murphy (Accenture); Kevin O’Conner (Chairman Double-Click); Rosalind Resnick (former CEO NetCreations); Thomas Rogers (former CEO Primedia); Don Scales (CEO Agency.com); Tom Siebel (Chairman Siebel Systems); Jim Spanfeller (CEO Forbes.com); Greg Strakosch (CEO TechTarget); Mark Walsh (former CEO Verticalnet); Favie Wetherell (ECO CMGI); Jerry Yang/David Filo (co-founders Yahoo!).
Just one note on the last comment in our profile. Origins hasn’t struck a chord YET! We still have tremendous faith in the powerful ideas presented in the Origin of Brands book. Divergence, Darwin’s theory which is the key to a species’ survival is also the key to brand’s survival. As soon as the false god of Convergence is unmasked, Divergence will reign supreme as the way to brand building success.
There will be a powerful article written by Al published by the Financial Times of London next week on Divergence and the Origin of Brands that will surely get some attention. I will post a link when it appears.