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PR, WOM & earned media

Public Relations (PR) is a discipline related to marketing but often treated separately within organisations. Traditionally it was focused on managing a brand’s reputation, particularly via media coverage; increasingly it overlaps with marketing in terms of managing perceptions of a brand across multiple touchpoints. PR as a marketing discipline can promote positive word-of-mouth (WOM) and generate earned media through, for example, mass media news stories and working with ‘influencers’.

Key Reading

Important papers from across the Warc database

This paper makes it clear that earned media should not be considered as a lucky break for a brand, it can be strategically planned and optimised for reliable outcomes. One key element of this is that early momentum in a campaign leads to a greater result overall.
Why using PR in tandem with advertising can maximise value – as press coverage is linked to higher sales.
Best Practice paper arguing that PR should now be afforded a more important role by almost all companies.
Why the redundancy of PR in a cynical user-generated content world has become a favourite industry theme.
This article outlines practical guidance for brands to make their online videos 'go viral'.

Case Study

This case study describes how The New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation created a simple way to help women check their breasts and help detect possible cancers as early as possible.

Case Study

This case study details how ActionAid, an international charity, raised awareness of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) among the UK population through online video.

Case Study

This case study details how Kuoni, a luxury holidays company, promoted Indian Ocean holidays through photo editorials focusing on how sand differentiated the various destinations.

Case Study

This paper describes a global research project for PayPal, the online payment service, which sought to contemporise the brand and align it with people's attitudes to money.

Case Study

This case study describes how Prada Group, an Italian fashion company, repositioned its brand and evolved perceptions of the company.

Case Study

This case study describes how tech company Google set out to build love for its brand by creating a dedicated hub, The Voice, to give young Taiwanese citizens a platform in the country's presidential elections.
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Research Paper

Agencies routinely report word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) campaign results in terms of reach but do not deliver insight about the people who are reached and the types of conversation in which the WOMM message is embedded.


This event report explores how brands have partnered with Guinness World Records to drive engagement and awareness in unconventional ways.


This article examines the two top shared auto ads from the 2017 Super Bowl through a testing tool that includes biometric, neurological, emotional and audio testing, leading to a better understanding of the business impact of the broadcasts.


This webinar discusses how social media can help plan and amplify content and why the shape of social media conversations needs to be analysed to give a full picture of effectiveness.


This event report outlines Lenovo's approach to content marketing, which revolves around being different and makes use of influencers, crowdsourcing and media co-creation using VICE.


This event report describes how Adidas, the sportswear manufacturer, utilised influencer marketing and dark social to boost engagement internationally through its Tango Squads.
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  1. Article

    This article, taken from the Warc Toolkit 2017 report, explores how the proliferation of video is transforming social media marketing by turning social platforms into broadcast media.

  2. Article

    This exclusive report analyses the most effective social media campaigns, including an in-depth review of how social strategy drives effectiveness and practical suggestions for other brands to follow.

  3. Article

    This article offers best practice advice on engaging influencers - defined as consumers who are much more likely than the average to seek out and share information - for campaigns based around word-of-mouth strategies.

  4. Article

    From January to October 2015, U.S. brands published 35 million posts across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, sparking 65 billion actions with social audiences (i.e., comments, shares, re-Tweets, etc.).
  5. Article

    This Warc Trends Report analyses case studies that represent the best in social media strategy and draws lessons from them for other brands to follow.

  6. Article

    This article discusses various approaches used by marketers to understand what consumers want.

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