BRANDING is important. A strong brand can make any organization, or any product or service immensely easier to sell. Branding is the emotional binge that a customer feels when thinking about your product or your organisation.
Many times, we see entrepreneurs throw away thousands of dollars, trying to grow their businesses with various branding techniques, looking at others doing it. Many organisations, whether they are small or big, are really confused where and how to allocate marketing funds to build the brand, drive sales and increase revenue. Now, Public Relations (PR) and Advertising are the two main arms of marketing which can solve this problem.
Another question often arises is, which tool to use and what works better, Advertising or PR. In this article, I will talk why PR is better than Advertising.
What is PR and Advertising?
PR is a powerful way to generate awareness and brand recognition for any business. It is the practice of managing the flow of information between an organization and its publics. Common activities include working with the press, speaking at conferences, winning industry awards, and employee communication etc.
Traditional public relations tools include press releases and press kits which are distributed to the media to generate interest from the press. Other widely used tools include brochures, flyers, mailer campaigns, road shows, newsletters, annual reports etc. Now, as time has changed, technology has created new ways to build and brand your company. Beyond traditional techniques, increasingly, companies are utilizing interactive social media outlets, such as blogging, microblogging, social media updates etc.
Advertising messages are usually paid, by the sponsors and viewed via various traditional media, including newspaper, magazines, online media, television commercial, radio advertisement, outdoor Advertising or direct mail; or new media such as blogs and websites and text messages.
Which get more credibility - PR or Advertising?
Publicity in the media through PR is more credible than Advertising. Many big players are relatively light purchasers of Advertising but heavy proponents of PR. There are many organizations that use less Advertising, but are frequently featured in business magazines and the general press, which carry tremendous credibility.
Noticeably, public relations can make a long-lasting impact on public awareness at a small part of the cost of Advertising. Getting publicity through PR happens in a low cost and sometimes even free. It is considered to be a low-cost alternative and more effective to other marketing tactics such as traditional Advertising and media buying.
So, what is the reason behind?
In case of PR, the organization does not pay for the space or time to get into the media, but only pays for the PR person to develop and circulate stories and manage certain events.
The media is always in hunt of interesting news. If you target the right media at the right time, nothing like that. If the company develops an attention-grabbing story, it could be picked up by all the news media and be worth millions of Rupees in equivalent to Advertising. Besides, it would have more credibility than Advertising as it is the process by which one can create a positive image and customer preference through third-party endorsement. Some experts say that consumers are five times more likely influenced by editorial copy than by Advertising.
Advertising, no matter how intelligent, witty, dramatic or aesthetically pleasing, is self-promotion. Some people are very skeptical of advertisements. Furthermore, Advertising is very expensive, especially if you have a big market to cover. On the other hand, PR goes through a filtering process. The editor or reporter scrutinizes the information before publishing, and picks the matter which is newsworthy and thus has more credibility. What PR lacks is it has no control over how the media which presents your information. But, the crisis management can rectify the negative coverage. Besides, media is not compelled to cover your event or publish your press release just because you sent something to them.
Advertising claims, uses refinement, comparisons, and borrows from the arts and psychology to try to influence decisions. But, PR is based on information, not seduction.
So, PR is better than any marketing tool including Advertising. The creative use of news events, publications, social events, community relations, and other PR techniques offers companies a way to distinguish themselves and their products from their competitors and build their brand.
A survey done jointly by Worldcom Public Relations Group and the Transworld Advertising Agency Network (TAAN) found both PR practitioners and Advertising specialists think that PR is making better use of social media.
Though PR can bring more credibility, Advertising can reinforce it. It's what we call PR-oriented Advertising. PR first establishes the credibility of the brand, and Advertising then reaffirms and reinforces the brand's credibility and brings more popularity.