- By Mr. Vikram Kumar, Co-Founder & Managing Director, SRV Media Pvt. Ltd
Advertising and Public Relations are two words that are often used interchangeably in the confusion that they mean the same thing. While they both fall under the umbrella of helping create an image for a brand, they are very different from each other.
One of the simplest sayings that points out the difference between them is ‘Advertising is what you pay for, PR is what you pray for!’
The financial factor changes everything. In advertising, you pay for a space (whether online or offline) and you are aware of exactly what will be displayed to your audiences. From the timing to the look and feel, the ability to control the entire communication lies with you. Public Relations on the other hand, as the name suggests, is about building relations with the media, showcasing your brand to them and convincing them to write a good review / article / story about it. The tonality, the length, the date – everything is led by the publication and its reporters.
Another significant difference between the two is that advertising targets potential customers in order to convert them while public relations reaches a larger audience with the goal of building awareness and knowledge. This also means that the reach your ad gets is directly related to the amount of money invested in it. The more you invest, the more potential customers you touch base with.
PR articles have no such guarantee because it depends on a lot of factors. For example,
- How big is the news
- How relevant is the piece to today
- How many people does the news truly impact
And many more. These aspects drive the reach of the article, how many publications choose to carry it as well as where it is placed. However, considering PR is not controlled by the brand, it is regarded to be more credible by readers / viewers.
Now the questions that may arise are –
What should a brand choose between advertising and PR?
What is more important / beneficial to the image?
The answer to this question is choose both. Each of them have a different goal and therefore, a different outcome. For a brand to be successful, it is vital to use all the tools possible and move forward.
In order to be able to reach your customers and show them that your brand is the right fit for them, advertising is a right path. In today’s time with the digital era, analytics allows brands to identify and target very specific people improving their chances of success and conversion. Digital advertising is letting brands speak directly to their consumers and it is definitely a must-do.
At the same time, PR increases awareness massively amongst varied audiences. Along with that, it is written authentically based on actual experience and brings immense credibility to the brand. With a host of different mediums offering information and news today, trustworthy news can put your brand much ahead of the competition.
To sum up, having the right combination of advertising and PR can boost your visibility, create the right opinion about the brand and allow you to reach your customers, convince them and eventually, convert them.