Working hand in glove with advertising, PR provides credibility.
The importance of PR in one’s communications drive cannot be over-estimated.
Whereas advertising says: “We’re a great company” PR says: “They are a great company” ie the statement comes from a third party. Because of this, PR tends to have a bit more credibility. While working well together, and in tandem, advertising and PR are different disciplines.
Differences can be seen in the way in which messages are conveyed to the public and in the control a business has of the communication once it's been released into the public domain. When, where and how one's advertising appears in the media is controllable. Whereas, in PR, whilst the message creation is controllable, once the news is out there, there’s really no turning back.
The fact is, viral communication and the internet renders a large portion of corporate communication outside the control of the client or PR agency. Be it positive or negative. But, this is where fame turns to fortune. As Oscar Wilde said “The worst thing than being spoken about, is NOT being spoken about”.
Despite their differences, PR and advertising go together like salt and vinegar in flavouring the perfect marketing mix and combine well in generating interest and awareness around a brand or service. As they both engage the same channels of communication ie print, TV, radio and the internet, the combination of the two is extremely powerful.
Consumers receive ‘one way’ messaging through advertising, but by adding the power of PR, are able to be moved closer to the purchasing decision through the media, online articles and social media platforms. Whereas advertising raises awareness NOW, and shouts the product benefit from the proverbial rooftop, PR amplifies and supports the message over time, and in a variety of ways - with the aim of keeping the communication upper-mind.
Well-positioned PR increases public exposure to niche target groups while third-party communicators such as bloggers and journalists increase the importance of the brand message via endorsements through blogs, articles and reviews. Whilst advertising ensures paid-for exposure, PR secures free editorial exposure based on tailored, timeous and relevant news. And while advertising can break through the clutter and stop people in their tracks, it is ultimately seen as "just advertising". Public relations, on the other hand, has more credibility and is perceived to be more believable. In a cynical world, this is important. By adding credibility to hype, advertisers get more bang from their buck.
This being the case, if your marketing budget extends to PR - and your product or service has a PR “angle” that a PR person or company could successfully exploit - PR is a non-negotiable. Just make sure that you utilise the services of a PR person well-connected with journalists - and who lives in the digital space.
There are way too many PR people out there - in my opinion anyway – who are stuck in the old way of doing things and do the same tired things over and over. These days, the action is largely online and digital PR is the way to go. By appointing someone savvy, you could get great coverage at little cost.
I could give you the contact details of two very sharp and experienced PR people if you’re interested.