Volume 8, Issue 5, September-October  2004

Guest Column
The PR "Problem"

by John Miller

A thorough survey of the nation’s consumer, business and trade press for articles about the benefits of window film reveals an embarrassing deficiency of information. With a few notable exceptions (and aside from product advertising, new product blurbs and an occasional case study), there is no evidence that the window film industry has an on-going program to systematically advocate the benefits of window film through the press. 

Filling the Void
Apparently, neither most manufacturers, nor industry organizations are committed to seriously educating prospective customers and decision makers. Neither the print nor the online media contain much about the efficacy of window film as a means to save energy, reduce costs and enhance security; or as a component of green building design.

successful industries are a function of assertive and strategic marketing that effectively identifies, educates and motivates prospective customers. Sales efforts are not enough if the objective is to promote window film as offering cost effective solutions to customers. 

The tools to educate the market regarding window film require communication and advocacy through repeated press coverage in the editorial section of newspapers and publications. What’s needed are feature articles and white papers. 

such stories would reflect a long term, comprehensive, strategically defined educational press campaign. The focus of that campaign should be advocating window film by addressing the needs and concerns of the market.

Situation Critical
Serious and proactive communication to address market needs is critical. anecdotal evidence suggests the public holds negative perceptions regarding window film. frequently cited concerns revolve around the dependability, reliability, performance claims and warranties of window film and customer service on the part of dealers/installers. There is no evidence the majority of window film manufacturers and distributors are addressing these perceptions through pro-active public relations programs. 

With exceptions, my informal review of existing film public relations activity documents a “press vacuum” regarding the following market issues and industry needs:
• Consistently educating the market regarding window film and reducing the cost of air conditioning;
• educating architects, designers and the code compliance community about the role of window film in green building design;
• allaying market fears about applied film invalidating insulating glass warranties. working with glass manufacturers in a joint glass/film industry PR effort to promote energy conservation;
• positioning window film in the Sun Belt as a viable, cost-effective alternative to replacement windows;
• educating the market about the cost effectiveness of security film, especially for residential and light commercial installations for which security systems are perceived to be too expensive; and
• promoting effective dealer/ installers as the professionals they are.

Starting Line
every film manufacturer should look to industry leaders who actively address these issues in the editorial content of relevant publications. 

Window film manufacturers engaging a PR agency should ask what that agency is doing beyond sending new product releases. Agencies should be addressing issues and be positioning individual manufacturers in the market accordingly. 

Members of AIMCAL and IWFA should ask these organizations to fund and share market research. Above all, film manufacturers, distributors and installers, should establish an industry-wide public relations effort to educate the market.

a collective effort, supplemented by proactive public relations on the part of individual manufacturers and distributors, ultimately will increase sales and profitability throughout the industry. 


WINDOW FILM

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