Can you recollect the instances when you saw an advertisement and were almost compelled to buy that product? This is exactly what advertising does. It is a process where a product is publicized and marketed in such a way that people are tempted enough to buy that product. On the other hand, public relations is a tool which connects a company or an organization with the public. To know more, read on…
These days, it is almost impossible to visualize a situation where there are no ‘zoozoos’ to convince you to buy Vodafone sim cards, or there are no advertisements at all – either in print or the electronic media. If it was not for public relations, organizations or the media would have been crippled. The reason being, that is the liaison between the public and a company. These two are interconnected and have to work well in tandem for a business to flourish.
Advertising, typically deals with a type of communication which attempts to lure the potential customers to buy or use a certain brand of product or a service. With developed technology, mass production and modernization, advertising has gained a lot of importance. There are skilled people who chalk out the advertisement strategies and generate its content. Advertisements are communicated through every possible media, like TV, radio, print media, Internet, billboards and so on. Sometimes, vehicles are also used to advertise a product. In most cases, companies have their advertisement agencies which carry out the responsibility of ensuring enough publicity for a particular brand. These advertisement campaigns can create or destroy a brand.
Types of Advertising
Advertising media, purely for commercial purposes, has many forms like wall paintings, billboards, printed flyers, cinema and TV advertisements, web pop-ups, bus stop benches, in-flight advertisements, etc. As you may have realized, they don’t give you a single chance to stop thinking about them. They are present everywhere!
Another type of advertising, which is a recent phenomenon, is covert advertising – like advertising a product through the protagonist of a movie. The actor is showed either using the product or talking about it. Jingles are the most common and popular form of TV advertisements. TV has a mass appeal and reaches a vast audience at the same time. A current trend in advertising is getting celebrities to endorse products so that it instantly creates a wave among the customers. Internet, mobile phones, infomercials or direct response TV commercials are the upcoming advertising channels.
Advertising cannot be effective if there is no public relations mechanism. Public relations department of an organization or a company ensure that a company’s new ventures reach the different media. The media in turn gives it coverage so that it is communicated to the people.
Public relations (PR) is basically the process of managing the flow of information between the company and the customers. Each company, organization, or even an individual professional has his own set of clientele and potential customers. Public relations obtains the right exposure for them by including topics which interest the public and news items where direct payment is not required. This is quite unlike advertisements, where the company needs to pay the advertising medium like TV, magazine or a newspaper to give it the due coverage.
Public Relations come in handy when a company needs to build a rapport with the employees, voters, and customers. In big companies, there are corporate communication departments which carry out the task of establishing a company’s repute and create a link with the public. Public relations, typically includes addressing the public at conferences, employee communication and collaborating with the press.
Tools of Public Relations
There are various methods by which a Public Relations Officer (PRO) or an agency accomplishes its goals.
Public Appeal: This is the basic tool of public relations. It first identifies the target audience, followed by a message which will instantly grab the attention of the customers. In some cases, the same message needs to be put forth differently to different segments of the audience.
Lobby Groups: These are usually used in relation with the government, industry or a public opinion. Lobby groups are formed to influence the government policies, public opinion or a corporate policy. They mold the policies in accordance with their particular interest.
Spin: It resembles the ‘spinning’ of the ball in the game of Cricket. However, here in PR, it is spinning the public opinion in your favor for an event or a situation. It involves manipulative tactics as well.
Meetings between two parties, coupled with a meal, publicity events, talk shows, desk visit – where the PRO physically goes and gives the publicity material to the media and many more, constitute the methods used in public relations.
Fundamentally, PR offers a third-party legitimacy, which is lacking in advertising. Advertisements can be imposing and they can brainwash the audience into buying something which they might not even need. PR is more organized and it makes sure that the product or the event information reaches the media. The onus after that is on the media.
Advertising and public relations, both are crucial aspects when it comes to generating publicity for a brand. If used intelligently and made to complement each other, advertising and public relations can catapult a company or a brand to the top.