Is your public relations plan as strong as your marketing strategy? While strong and effective public relations communication is just as important to a company’s success as its marketing, many businesses still sweep the PR portion under the rug and never discuss it. In fact, small and large DC area businesses do not have a public relations position, have never evaluated the public’s perception of their brand and have never thought about their PR plan.
Public Relations, as daunting as it might sound, is not rocket science. However, it is a key player with an important role in the marketing communications game. For companies of all sizes, PR should be taken into consideration in every decision made from the marketing and social media departments to employment and partnerships.
Both marketing and public relations add tremendous value to the company’s bottom line and favorability, but their strategic plan and objectives vary. You could say that they are like fraternal twins because they look almost identical, with similar life goals, but their personalities are 100% unique.
Marketing, in its purest form, should represent communication to the target audience with the goal of satisfying a need by providing a product for profit. PR on the other hand, is communication to all audiences with the goal of creating or maintaining a public position that will continue to allow marketing to be successful. One of the major differences between the two is “target audience” vs. “all audiences.” Why? Well, I refer to this as “public peer pressure,” because the opinions of “all” can definitely effect the “target.”
Public relations and marketing not only work hand-in-hand, but the benefit they provide to each other’s success is a lifeline. However, PR still wins the award for most influential. Without a strong public relations’ position your good marketing strategy can be an inevitable failure. For example, if I am a consumer that enjoys a morning cup of joe, I might refuse to buy a certain brand of coffee known to mistreat its workers. Advertising will not convince me to buy that product nor save that coffee brand, but good PR messaging will.
We’re familiar with these public relations nightmares that have caused sales to plummet…regardless of their marketing advertising strategies. How many of these do you remember?
- Target Data Breach
- Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood Controversy
- BP Oil Spill
- Paula Deen's "N-word" Scandal
- Netflix DVD/Streaming Split
- Penn State's Cover-up of the Sandusky Scandal
From celebrities to universities everyone is at the mercy of the public. In these highly publicized events, crisis communication and a strong public relations plan are the key to reducing the damage. Although these issues were the catalyst for implementing large scale PR campaigns, a PR plan should be constant and regularly applied in all aspects of branding and social visibility in order to avoid catastrophes.
Specifically here in Washington, DC, strong public relations messaging provides you with a free marketing strategy and if PR is capitalized on, you should be building it into your integrated marketing plan.
Remember marketing and public relations are twins with different personalities. So be bold in your marketing and humble in your PR. Be persuasive in your marketing and supportive in your PR. With positive public relations your marketing will be even more effective.
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