Long-term success rarely happens by accident. Thoughtful planning and promotion often occurs behind the scenes, with public relations (PR) and marketing campaigns forming the backbone of an overall strategy for longevity.
But which approach will get you the best return on investment for your brand: PR or marketing? To help you make a decision, let’s start with the basics.
What’s the Difference Between PR and Marketing?
PR and marketing both work to keep your brand memorable and your business poised for growth, but how they get you there may differ.
What Does PR Do?
PR maintains a favorable reputation for your business in the eyes of the media and the public. PR officers aim to get their company noticed through positive press coverage. They also promote the company by effectively managing communication channels between the company and external parties.
With PR efforts, the main objective is long-term reputation management—which takes precedence over anything else.
A PR firm can:
- Write press releases to announce company news
- Speak about their company at trade shows and recruitment fairs
- Write and edit in-house newsletters and magazines
- Contact media outlets to share their company’s news
- Make fact sheets and media kits about the company
- Act as a representative when company comment or statement are needed
What Does Marketing Do?
Marketing boosts public awareness of a product, person, or service. Effective marketing campaigns appeal to their target audience—then persuade them to think, believe, or accomplish some type of sales-focused action.
Compared to a PR team, a marketing team cares more about defining a target audience and building a relationship with them via multiple tactics, ultimately increasing revenue for the business or organization.
A marketing professional can:
- Identify a product’s target customer profile
- Generate creative, new ideas to promote products or services
- Create website and print content
- Better understand the market through research
- Organize conferences and exhibitions
- Evaluate the success of marketing campaigns
What Are Examples of Effective PR and Marketing?
Both PR techniques and marketing initiatives can be beneficial for a business.
You can even use both PR and marketing for one situation. For example, we developed an integrated communications plan using both marketing and PR strategies for a local Austin nonprofit, Partnerships for Children. Through the development of a new messaging platform, social media strategy, and proactive PR outreach, Partnerships for Children saw exponential growth across its social media channels, earned 90+ local and regional media placements, and exceeded their 15th anniversary fundraiser goal by more than 50 percent.
PR’s focus is not often on tangible goals and a positive outcome of a PR campaign is not always guaranteed.
Pledging Donations to a Current Crisis
In 2014, Google’s Fight Ebola campaign promised to donate a matching $2 for every $1 donated through its site.
Corporations oftentimes donate money for the wrong reasons. Committing good, genuine deeds that are true to your company’s mission and value can garner positive publicity. It adds a compassionate element to the face of your brand and improves consumers’ overall perception of your company.
Making You See a Celebrity in a Different Light
A well-known face doing something unexpected will spark interest. Here are some specific PR stunts that illustrate this:
- Lyft placed retired Red Sox baseball player David Ortiz as an undercover driver in one of their Boston cars—and then filmed his clueless passengers.
- HostelWorld, with the tagline “Even Divas are Believers,” ran a campaign featuring Mariah Carey to challenge the negative stereotypes of staying in a hostel.
- Lawyer.com announced Lindsay Lohan as their company’s official spokesperson in a smart move that played on her past legal troubles.
Successful marketing campaigns will increase brand awareness and build trust with your target audience, ultimately resulting in conversions, whether that’s a sale, donation, or new patient.
Utilizing the Interactivity of Games
Samsung recently launched a social media campaign to promote the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 + 5G. Using Instagram Stories, players are immersed in a Choose Your Own Adventure–style journey. To progress, you must visit different Instagram accounts to pick different paths. If you get the right outcomes, a special feature is unlocked at the end.
Consumers can easily switch off from traditional advertising if it isn’t unique, but a game is an exciting, interactive way to introduce a product.
Riding on Controversy to Highlight Something New
Publicizing its decision to eradicate artificial preservatives from the Whopper burger, Burger King devised the “Moldy Whopper” marketing campaign. The initiative plays specifically on its rival McDonald’s reputation for having burgers that don’t decompose within 20 years.
Displaying your product unfavorably can be risky, but gets the attention of the public. It also prompts marketing experts to discuss whether or not the marketing effort was a smart move. Overall, this stunt/campaign from Burger King generated publicity and buzz around the product and brand.
PR and Marketing Combined
New Zealand is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Social media influencers are no stranger to the stunning views the country has to offer. Roy’s Peak and Tekapo are some of the most Instagram-able places in the country.
Knowing that influencers flock to certain parts of the country to take the perfect Instagram photo, 100% Pure New Zealand, the country’s official tourism site, decided to create a unique, satirical advertising campaign, “Traveling Under the Social Influence.” The campaign pokes fun at the most Instagram-able spots in the country and encourages travelers to explore the lesser known parts. The campaign has already resulted in press coverage worldwide, in outlets like CNN and The Guardian, but will also result in more boots on the ground, encouraging visitors and world travelers to book their flights and explore the country even further.
Here at Bloom Communications, we’re also familiar with integrated communications campaigns. One example is a marketing and PR strategy we created for the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition. Our primary goal was to increase the influence of the nonprofit organization and its partners, including promoting visibility, share of voice, and credibility by generating public awareness for their policy agenda during the 2017 Texas state legislative session. To achieve that goal, we developed a new messaging platform and highly targeted media outreach strategy to continually earn positive media exposure and garner attention. Our representation of the Texas Criminal Justice Coalition and its partner organizations resulted in 45 original, high-quality editorial and broadcast feature media placements in a strategic combination of local and statewide media outlets with high visibility to target audiences.
How Can PR and Marketing Benefit Different Industries?
Typically, your goals will determine what services will benefit your business the most, more so than your specific industry. But, it is best to consult a marketing and/or PR professional, like Bloom Communications, to determine which tactics will support your bottom line.
If your products aren’t marketed well, consumers probably won’t view your company favorably. If people don’t connect with your brand, they’re not likely to buy your products.
Both marketing and PR are heavily influential in building your company’s success. How to spend your budget is ultimately your decision, but an integrated approach that includes both PR and marketing will keep your company well-aligned.
Looking for Marketing Services in Portland and Austin?
Bloom Communications helps mission-driven organizations grow and thrive. Through an integrated, research-based approach, we provide expert marketing, public relations, and creative services with the personal touch of a boutique agency. As trusted advisors to your team, we are dedicated to your success and to helping foster healthier and more sustainable communities.
Established in 2012, we support organizations across the U.S. and the globe from our offices in Austin, Texas and Portland, Oregon. Get in touch with us to learn more about how we approach market research, marketing, public relations, and creative solutions.