“This town ain’t big enough for the both of us,” said Adman to PRman.
If this was a battle for powers, you could pick a side—for a business to be an all-encompassing entity, such competition may not reap the rewards. On the contrary, advertising and public relations complement the final goal.
There’s a prevalent idea that a business that spends advertising dollars can dispense with public relations altogether. While there may be some similarities in the manner and media used to deliver the message to a particular audience, the way the message is communicated and the long term effects on the brand and the business are different.
What makes them different is what they are saying, and where they say it. As they essentially do two different but very important things, a business should not be too hasty in dismissing one or the other.
“My super power is sales-driving!”
First, let’s take a quick look at advertising. Very simply, this is when your business pays to send out a message that sells a particular product or service. That message can come in many forms.
There’s what is known as traditional advertising:
- TV ads
- Radio ads
- Print ads (magazines, newspapers and other publications)
Then we have non-traditional advertising:
- Outdoor ads (billboards, banners and the like)
- Flyers and merchandising (like a t-shirt with a product printed on it)
- Online ads
And there’s the wide and wonderful world of online or digital advertising, which includes:
- Onsite ads (which in turn covers banners, pop-ups and so on)
- Social media ads
- In-game ads (which can come with your favourite app or MMORPG)
Advertising, when used properly, has the power to drive sales. This power is most potent while the campaign lasts, which is directly proportional to how much is spent on media placement.
“My power lies in perception…”
While public relations might be seen as performing the same function as advertising by getting the brand name, product or service recognised and noticed, upon closer inspection, however, what’s important to realise is that the power of PR are more subtle—and potentially stronger, especially when building a brand.
What PR does is to manage the way people perceive a certain business or brand. While the effects may not be felt immediately as a super punch or kick, over time, PR encourages people to trust your business through a build-up of credible sources. Once a business or brand makes a good impression and earns the confidence of the public through third party endorsements like the media, for instance, when you put your product or service out there, people will gravitate towards it—feel good and comfortable about buying it, over and over again.
“But don’t take my word for it…”
One of the many differences between Adman and PRman is that the former uses advertisements to engage so the audience takes the message at face value. The latter, on the other hand, is able to manage the perception of the audience by making a connection through verbal and/or third party endorsements, for instance through the media.
While the public may not immediately rush out to buy something because of an advertisement that they had encountered, they may, however, go check out a product or service based on an article or review they might have read or watched on a news feed.
That article or news feed gives that particular product a certain “stamp of approval” or “seal of credibility” in the eye of the public. Very often, the mass audience pays attention to a publication that they might have read and feel that a product or service is backed by a credible source—so there is confidence to try it out. In comparison, the source of advertisements are the brands and businesses themselves—which is a harder persuasion for the consumer.
PR’s Other Super Powers
As we all know, Adman needs his billionaire’s bank account to fund his various activities. Inversely, PRman gets by on his comparatively more modest budget—as he is well-connected with the Daily News.
Learning to work with the news outlets is the best means of working when undertaking PR. Apart from the message being disseminated by a credible source, it stretches the marketing dollar a little further, as news outlets are not a paid source unlike advertising.
It is also often assumed that PR work is just about Reputation Management, when in fact a lot of work goes toward building and sustaining a brand’s image. This is done by making sure that a single, unified image for the business is well-presented to the audience through its:
- Logo representation
- Corporate communications
Public relations empowers people by keeping them informed and creating awareness of issues that matter. By creating thought leadership opportunities for the brand and businesses represented by PR professionals, these brand names immediately strike consumers as credible voices in the industry. This will translate into consumers trusting their products and services, leading to more sales.
“This is a job for PRman…”
As experienced PR professionals, we’ve been using the power of public relations to help businesses grow in the minds of consumers. We continue to hone our special skills and abilities in PR, marketing and corporate communications in order to provide our clients the best expertise and consultation.
We are always excited to meet new businesses and ever ready to share our knowledge on how to grow your business and build on your brand offerings. Call us today for a chat over coffee—that’s how most friendships begin.
Making Super Friends
As businesses form these crucial friendships with the mass public—thanks to PRman, this does not by any means relegate Adman to the sidelines. Having defined the purposes of public relations in relation to advertising, what becomes clear is that PRman and Adman must work together.
Once trust has been built by PR, consumers will be more receptive to advertisements and their messaging, resulting in a better sales outcome.
Public relations and advertising are both integral parts of the growth and marketing strategy of any business and are on the same team — they are both working toward that business’ growth and profitability.