We get this question a lot. There is actually lots of confusion from some well established companies that we start working with that seem to confuse public relations with advertising or overall marketing. While PR is a part of the marketing mix, and we certainly don’t want to downplay the importance of advertising in many instances. There is a discernible difference that was penned beautifully by someone whom I read who I can’t remember, but will now steal from:
Advertising is saying how great you are. Public relations is getting someone else to say how great you are.
In our business, our job is to get a credible resource, the media or a thought leader, to vouch for you. In many cases this will build awareness of your business and get your customers the knowledge that you actually exist and that you will indeed serve the needs they need fulfilled in some way, shape or form.
But isn’t this precisely what advertising does? Sometimes.
Advertising can build awareness, but the core principle of advertising is branding. Ads don’t always tell the customer the precise information that PR and other forms of marketing can like where to buy, who else is buying, who is behind the product and other stories that can build a solid relationship between the customer and your business.
We try to be very diligent in understanding your goals and what your business is all about because we represent your message to the media and ultimately your target audience. Where a lot of PR fails is when the goal is to simply get placements rather than using your message to create a bridge between you and your customers. That’s what good PR is: conveying that message of awareness and detailed understanding.