When it comes to business and branding, and when increasing brand awareness about a particular business, is being talked about, two things often strikes the mind. One is an advertisement and the other is public relations.
Often people tend to confuse with the two and they usually do not understand the concept of both. But, actually, in order to design your brand and in order to make sure that you have the best marketing ideas that would work the best for your company, it is necessary to understand the basic difference between the two. Public relations tend to span a wide array of various tactics and strategies.
In other words, if any two public relation campaign look alike, but indeed, they could be enormously different depending upon the goals. And, Advertisements alludes to a form of communication that a firm uses in order to instigate the prospective customers for choosing the product or services offered by the business, over any other products. Actually, Advertisements and Public Relations are the most important tools that help the promoting of products and services offered by a particular company.
Here are some differences highlighted between Advertisement and PR to help you decide what can really work for your brand:
Free Vs. paid:
While advertising, a business needs to pay for the ad space. Advertisements are often expensive because you have to run multiple advertisements at a time in order to make it work for your business. If you run only one ad, it is certainly not going to bear any good result as such.
On the other hand, public relationship is all about getting free publicity for a company or service through media pitches, press releases and good relationships with the media. It can actually align and position your brand, product, and services as a part of a trend or human interesting story instead of a product promotion. A media placement by a public relations firm is often referred to as earned media.
An Example, Newark NJ is a New Jersey-based real estate company partnered with five New Jersey municipalities for distributing thanksgiving turkeys to the needy families.
Controlling the Message vs. Influencing the Message:
If a company is paying for an advertisement, you can say what exactly you want. But, the customers often are skeptical because they know that you are paying. This might not be ineffective but your customers may end up thinking that these are biased.
On the other hand, when a company narrates a story to the reporters, they do not have the power to control what gets printed on the paper. But a good PR knows how to increase a brands’ awareness by doing some positive publicity.
For example, Cone and Edelman has adopted the red dress icon of the heart truth, go red for women in order target the women instead of men, who have historically been subjected to heart diseases and stroke campaigns. It was a great a PR campaign by the company.
A 10-second Spot vs. Perpetuity on the Internet:
Advertisements would seem to have a longer shelf life because of the creativity and the method of delivery. But once the ad runs, the shelf life actually expires. Seeing an ad for a few seconds online or fast forwarding it still has value because the audience is at least watching it.
However, once it runs, it gets over. But, with the Internet, an article, tweet or Facebook post is there forever. If a particular article gets in a newspaper, magazine, or television station, it often runs online and will show up in a variety of search engines. The Internet has extended the “shelf life” of a PR campaign.
An Example, There was a challenge called the #icebucketchallenge which was streaming there on various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and twitter and still if you search for it, you will get plenty of images and video of that campaign.
Biased vs. Unbiased Perceptions:
When your customers watch your ad, they know that you have provided the message and you are trying to sell them something, either product or some services. They know you are paying for the ad, so they perceive a certain amount of bias.
But in case of PR, on the other hand, it goes back to that third-party endorsement that removes bias and generates credibility to your story, products or services. The best ways to grab attention is to focus the creative and messaging on the user. ‘Essence’ does that brilliantly by tying in their brand awareness efforts to a contest and special event. The hero image is just that; an image that creates desire to enter the contest by transporting viewers into what they are going to win
The Grey poupon Facebook campaign can be a great example which did the marketing of the brands in an amazing manner.
Creative vs. Nose for News:
A good and productive ad uses colorful and descriptive language with a call to action. A wise and well-planned campaign can motivate consumers to purchase your product. Advertising can use different media that can incorporate fun games, interactivity, and calls to action.
A good copywriter can build slogans that will stick with people for years to come and even get kids repeating a jingle or phrase. On the hand, PR requires creativity, but in a different way. In PR, what you are doing is basically searching for the news, looking for angles behind various trends and events, anticipating events and reading articles and websites about your client’s industry. You have to put yourself in the reporter’s shoes. Today, there are many ways to do that. Pitching to a reporter is just one.
An Example, Drone industry leader DJI consistently puts out high quality content on their Instagram profile – and their latest marketing efforts have been no different. Recently, they’ve partnered with various Instagram filmmakers to promote their latest drone offering, the Phantom 4 Pro.
Marketing Research vs. Media Research:
Advertising is basically based on various demographics and market research. An advertiser actually has to find the appropriate audience and the correct medium to advertise in. You do not want to advertise to women in a publication of men or send a direct mail piece from a retirement organization to the young people.
But the case is different With PR, demographics and market research are important, too. But knowing the publications available in a particular industry or which reporters cover a certain topic are also critical. Nowadays, with the Internet, it is easy to research industry publications and follow reporters writing about a topic you are interested in.
For an example, the Marketing team behind the popular and hit TV show, Breaking Bad showed the audience how to increase audience engagement, encourage shares, and “delight” while immersing themselves in the brand.
Below the Fold Vs. Above the Fold:
Even though the business has to pay a significant amount of money for a sizeable print ad, it will not show up on the front page of a newspaper. In fact, many newspapers relegate the ads to the lower sections of the inside pages.
However, you can have your story and photo featured on the front cover of community magazines, although you have to pay for this premium space. On the other hand, “news” always gets priority. A “newsworthy” story may lead the news get top billing on the radio. It may also be featured “above the fold” in the newspaper. You simply cannot pay for that publicity.
In case of advertisements, the Consumers know when they are reading an advertisement that someone is trying to sell them something. On the other hand, in case of PR, when someone reads a news article written about your product or views coverage of your event on TV, they are actually seeing something you did not pay for with ad dollars.
The public views it differently than it would a paid advertisement because your information has third-party endorsement—it is, therefore, viewed by the news media to be of some value. Thus, the public relation campaign run by the various companies out there are able to gain more trust and looks more credible than advertisement.
For example, with a flurry of hype, the giant brand Apple introduced its new products at its one of its Special Event, and with it came the fresh campaigns for its new iPhone 11 and Apple Watch Series 5.
One way Vs. two way communication:
Advertisements are basically one way of communication. When an ad shows up, you just know what your input is from your side. But, you cannot see what you and how the audience are responding to those ads. You are just conveying a set of messages from your side but cannot receive any feedback from your audience directly. But it is another way around, in case of public relations. When a public relations campaign takes place, you are actually communicating in a two-way manner. You actually get to interact with the people out there directly and can pitch your story to them.
For example, OAK Milk is a brand who invited their Facebook fans to request a “Reverse Robbery” at their local stores that did not carry the brand, where men in masks would show up and stock the store with OAK milk, in order to increase brand awareness and to get their product stocked in more stores.
In-House or Out on the Town
If you are working at an advertisement agency, your main contacts are your co-workers and the clients of the agency. If you buy and plan ad space on the behalf of your client, then you will also interact with the media salespeople. But the main job role of a public relation firm is to interact with the news media and develop relationships with editors, news directors, and reporters. Y
ou are in constant touch with your contacts at print publications, broadcast media, and digital outlets.
An Example, Zara is a well-known fashion brand that advertise their products on various social media platforms like facebook, instagram, etc in a great manner!
Target Audience or Hooked Editor
Business tend to look for your target audience and advertising accordingly. You will certainly not advertise a women’s health product in a men’s sports magazine. You must promote your products in correct platform in a correct manner. In case of public relation, you got to have an angle and hook to get editors or news directors to use your information for inclusion in an article, or to cover your event. It has to be relevant and of the moment.
An Example, The brand USAA with the tagline, “we are with you” does great advertisements targeting the correct group of audience.
Limited or Unlimited Contact:
Some industry pros out there have contact with the clients. Others, like the copywriters or the graphic designers, may never meet with a client. In case of public relations, you are visible to the media. Also, PR pros are necessarily not called on for the good news. If there was an accident at your company or impending litigation, you may have to give a statement or on-camera interview to journalists, because you are the spokesperson for the company.
For example, McDonald’s is a famous burger brand, and they are just pioneering in attracting unlimited customers out there by advertising their products in various lucrative platforms.
Style of writing:
In an advertisement, you generally write call of actions like, Buy this product! Act now! Call today! These are basically all things you can say in an advertisement. You want to use those action words to motivate your clients and the audience to buy your product. But, in case public relation, you are strictly writing in a no news format—who, what, where, when, and why. Any blatant commercial messages in your communications will be edited out by the media—or its presence may dissuade them from wanting to deal with it.
By referring to above points, you can identify the basic difference between the advertisements and public relations and can decide what might work the best for your company or business.
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