What is Public Relations - marketing or advertising?

>> Wednesday, March 20, 2013

It’s one of the most frequent questions we are asked. Many people are unclear about the roles of PR, marketing and advertising, and even within these disciplines there is ongoing debate, so let me try to clear some of the mist surrounding this subject.

Marketing, is about creating and retaining customers. It should be based on a well-researched plan that includes the four basic principles - product, position, promotion and price, and uses a mix of different tools to achieve its goals. Advertising and public relations play a part in the delivery of a marketing campaign.

Advertising is the process of persuading people to buy your product or service. It involves paying for your sales messages to be printed in newspapers or magazines, and provided what you are saying is legal, you have total control over the content of the advert.

On the other hand, public relations is managing communication between an organisation and it’s public. It’s more subtle and is targeted at elevating your profile, increasing awareness and building a positive image for your company, brand, product or service. It focuses on getting your name out there, and communicating the right messages to the right people.

Put simply, adverts are telling your customers how good your products are; PR is encouraging editors to say good things about your products or services.

You pay for advertisements, so they are printed exactly as you submit them. They have no news value, and readers are aware that it’s you telling them how good you are. Editorial stories reflect the view of the publication and as no payment is involved, editors will only run the story if they feel it has merit as news or is information of value to their readers. The advantage of editorial coverage is that it is perceived by the readers as independent and therefore has greater credibility, so we PR practitioners encourage editors to print stories on the grounds of newsworthiness.

Media is only one aspect of PR. As it is about managing communications globally, it transcends many other aspects of your business. Externally it encompasses support for all promotional activities, from exhibition support, direct mail, corporate newsletters, customer surveys, focus groups, sponsorship, damage limitation, in fact any communication with the outside world. It also has a role to play within your company, ensuring that all audiences that are outside of the remit of marketing are addressed. These can include your employees, shareholders, professional bodies, suppliers, local authorities and local residents for example. If they all receive the right messages, then it will create a positive perception of your company and its products and play a key role in growing your business.

If you have a public relations, branding or marketing question you would like answered please contact Colin Caldicott at Ultimedia Public Relations Tel 01767 601470 or e-mail info@ultimediapr.co.uk

Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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