Advertising vs Public Relations

Advertising Versus Public Relations

When you or your clients see information about a product or service, do you know if the information is provided as advertising, or is it considered public relations? Knowing the differences can help you decide what might work best in your marketing efforts.

Advertising

Advertising is described as a paid, non-personal, one-way public communication that draws public communication towards a product, service, company, or any other thing through various communication channels, to inform, influence and instigate the target audience to respond in the manner desired by the advertiser.

Advertising can be done through print ads, radio or television ads, billboards, flyers, commercials, internet banner ads, direct mail, etc. Social media platforms are now a major source of advertising.  The advertiser has exclusive control over what, how and when the ad will be aired or published. Moreover, the ad will run as long as the advertiser’s budget allows or determines it is effective.

As advertising is a prominent marketing tool, it is always present, no matter if people are aware of it or not.

Public Relations

Public Relations is a strategic communication tool that uses different channels, to cultivate favorable relations for the company. It is a practice of building a positive image or reputation of the company in the eyes of the public by telling or displaying the company’s products or services, in the form of featured stories or articles through print or broadcast media. It aims at building a trust-based relationship between the brand and its customer, mainly through media exposure and coverage.

Public Relations can be called as non-paid publicity earned by the company through its goodwill, word of mouth, etc. (It is often referred to as “earned media”).  The tactics used in public relations are publicity, social media, press releases, press conferences, interviews, crisis management, featured stories, speeches, news releases.

Key Differences Between Advertising and Public Relations

Adverting draws public attention to products or services through paid announcements. Public Relations uses strategic communication to build a mutually beneficial relationship between the public and the company or organization.

  1. Advertising is a purchased media, whereas, public relations is considered earned media.
  2. While advertising is a monologue activity, public relations is a two-way communication process. The company listens and responds to the public.
  3. Advertising is used to promote products or services with the objective to induce the targeted audience to buy. Public Relations aims to maintain a positive image of the company in the media, with an indirect result of those effected becoming customers.
  4. In advertising, the advertiser has full control over the ad, such as when, how and what will be displayed. In public relations, the company pitches the story, but has no control how the media uses or does not use it.
  5. In advertising, the ad placement is guaranteed, but there is no such guarantee of placement with public relations.
  6. In advertising, as long as you are willing to pay for it, the ad will be published or aired. Usually in public relations, the story is only published once, but it might be published in many media.
  7. Credibility is higher in public relations than advertising. This is because customers know it’s an ad and may not believe it easily and be skeptical. For Public Relations, third party validation improves credibility.
  8. Advertising mainly uses paid announcements (ads) to draw public attention to products or services. Public Relations is the use of strategic communication that aims at building a mutually beneficial relationship between the company and the public.

Advertising and Public Relations both use communication channels to inform and influence the general public. While advertising is a highly expensive marketing tool, it can reach a large number of people at the same time. Public Relations is “free of cost” implied endorsement along with validation of the third party.

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This blog contains general information only, not intended to be relied upon as, nor a substitute for, specific professional advice. We accept no responsibility for loss occasioned to any purpose acting on or refraining from action as a result of any material on this blog.

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