PR and Marketing - Your Blades of Glory
"If I was down to my last dollar, I'd spend it on public relations." - Bill Gates
According to the Collins Cobuild dictionary, marketing is the organisation of the sale of a product, for example, deciding on its price, the areas it should be supplied to, and how it should be advertised.
According to the same dictionary, public relations or PR is the part of an organisation's work that is concerned with obtaining the public's approval for what it does.
Whilst some organisations have conveniently put the two together under one function - or more often the responsibilities with one person, the truth is PR and marketing are two rather distinct and separate entities.
For one, companies that have separate PR and marketing departments would know that having professionals from the two fields come together and drive brand campaigns can easily give competition a run for its money. Synergy, however, in this instance is critical.
Whether it's marketing or PR that is in the driver's seat, a robust marketing or brand campaign coupled with an equally sound PR plan would spell success, most times.
What would the ‘marketing mix' be without PR? Though arguably marketers would point out that PR is part of the ‘Promotion' decision (of the 4 Ps), PR is not just about or part of promotion. It is that and more.
I read in one of Bill Nielsen's (retired corporate VP of public affairs and corporate communications, Johnson and Johnson) speeches that PR is like the ‘glue or connective tissue' that binds an organisation together. A renowned PR consultancy defines the PR work that we do as managing the perceptions of our stakeholders. According to Wikipedia, although public relations professionals are stereotypically seen as corporate servants, the reality is that almost any organisation that has a stake in how it is portrayed in the public arena employs at least one PR manager. In fact, if you look at PR today, it entails a lot more - corporate and financial communications, corporate responsibilities, crisis and issues management, government relations, internal communications, community or grassroots relations, media relations, analyst relations, and the list goes on.
Depending on the need(s) of an organisation, PR can achieve one, if not many, result(s). Citing the simplest of examples, we - as consumers - read and perceive advertisements and editorial differently. However, our individual brand preferences (and in turn purchases) are almost (solely) formed not only based on needs but also how our perceptions are shaped, in more ways than one, by the plethora of advertisements and stories in the media.
Though the quantitative and qualitative measurements of successful PR are plausibly arguable, we cannot deny the effects and power of effective public relations campaigns at work; similar to marketing.
PR and marketing can and should co-exist, albeit separately but working together. Like a pair of ice skates, the movement, momentum and rhythm can only be achieved when two blades work together in tandem.
In theory, it may be too easy to compartmentalise the two. But in reality, the true glory lies in harnessing the synergy of both. PR may well have been the blade neglected for too long. But of what use is one blade without the other?
Things to consider:
- If you think PR and marketing are synonymous, think again
- PR is fundamental to every organidation
- PR is more than just media relations; it is that and more
- PR when used synergistically with marketing can effect positive ROI
Head, Corporate Communications
Asia Pacific Breweries Singapore
- Asia Pacific Breweries Singapore Pte Ltd
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