What is PR & How is it Getting Overpowered by Digital Marketing?

by | Oct 18, 2019 | Digital Marketing

12 Min Read. |

Want to cultivate a positive repute and effective credibility around your brand? Then knowing what is PR is important for you.

Adeptly incorporating Public Relations in marketing strategies is one of the most vital parts of successful branding campaigns. In this post, we will dive deep into the world of Public Relations/PR and understand how it plays key role in optimizing the online presence of your brand.

Defining what is PR in Marketing is not easy.

Maybe because of this very reason, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) opened its doors to thousands of submissions that attempted to capture the complete essence of what is PR in one single definition.

Ultimately, the submission that was most successful in defining Public relations explained it to be a strategic communication process.

It cited public relations to be a collective effort that forges mutually beneficial relationships between clients (organizations or individuals) and their target audiences.

In today’s time, when public eyes are always on you, your brand and your clients, it is important that you hold a credible reputation around you.

While talking about the significance of repute building, Warren Buffet says-

It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

PR plays key role in building that sort of reputation for your brand.

In this post, we will be unraveling the mystery of what is (PR) Public Relations meaning in more detailed fashion-

What are Public Relations?

Let’s break down the above mentioned what is (PR) public relations meaning into clearer terms to understand exactly what is PR.

In layman’s language, PR is the act of shaping and managing the online reputation of an organization, individual or company in the eyes of the various public of the client.

Here, the public is anyone who has the capability of forming an opinion about the client. This public can be anyone from potential customers, students, professionals, parents, etc.

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A deep understanding of the client’s work and the interests of the client’s public are two important aspects for the success of any public relations activities. News and business press are often the modes through which public relations is carried out.

Further, the most powerful weapon in the arsenal of a PR professional is ‘Publicity’.

While discussing the influence of PR, an American historian, Daniel J. Boorstin says-

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers”. 

The responsibilities of PR professionals in the modern-day have changed a lot. Today, it is no longer limited to sitting at a desk and drafting press releases.

To know what is PR, you first have to understand the scope of pr professional’s duties has increased to include reaching out to the community, building relationships with potential investors, and facing the grueling questions from TV anchors. In brief, PR professionals can very well be said to be the ‘face’ representing the client.

As per the recent study, in last 5 years, PR Agencies have been growing with 30% on yearly basis.

Marketing and public relations are two essential aspects of any organization. Combining both these aspects helps to propagate awareness and positive feedback to products, services, and businesses.

There has been a sudden increase in marketing PR over the years. It is because of the increased availability of markets. There has also been an increase in difficulty in reaching customers quickly.

Public relations marketing should be integrated into the daily and ongoing marketing plans. Every company has a unique mission and vision statements. It creates different goals and ways to reach these goals. It causes a difference in the way the PR marketing campaign is executed.

In a fast and quickly developing the technological world, the old and traditional methods of marketing are not yielding the results they should. It drives the organizations to adapt to new and improved public relations marketing techniques, which will help the company’s clientele base to increase.

Innovative PR Marketing Methods

(a) Marketing PR is visible on the internet, which is a highly saturated market. The internet has been established as a marketplace for commercial and non-commercial content. It causes companies to use “buzz marketing” and ingenious campaigns. It helps customers to get to know the products and services and promote the company as well.

(b) Marketing PR is also often seen on television. On TV, advertisements are made to catch the attention of the customers. For example, if a company has an ad depicting the fact that they have become more environmentally friendly, it puts across a public relations message. Through this, the company has a hope that their ethics will help increase the positive impression towards the products and services.

(c) Effective marketing and public relations, when combined, help to communicate information — launching new products and services, influencing a target audience, improving the image of the company. Also, it improves the reviews of the products which may have got a bad press or perception.

(d) An excellent public relations marketing campaign begins with clearly understanding the goals and objectives of the organization. A step-by-step breakdown process to achieve the targets should be made. Then the strategy should be formulated, implemented, and kept in check so that the results are accomplished.

(e) Communication is key. Unless the information and strategies decided by the company are passed on to the customers, there will be no positive response. The information has to be given in such a way that the exciting news is delivered in the most positive way to capture the attention. A bridge has to be built between the consumer’s mind and the product/service to improve marketing.

(f) Customer feedback is also an essential part of the process of marketing. Marketing aims to attract customers. If there is an issue or problem, the feedback of customers is what will help the organization to improvise the most. Better and two-way communication is attractive. It should be maintained internally and externally.

The Positive Side of PR

Till now you must have understood what is PR and the main responsibility of the public relations is to show their clients (individuals, organizations, or government) in a positive light to their public.

Therefore, in that sense PR professionals can be thought of as people who try to tell the positive stories of their clients. Now, they do this storytelling through unpaid and earned means.

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Here, you must note that PR is distinct from advertising since in advertising you have to pay for the positive influencing or promotions.

Some of the key statistics about the growing influence of public relations in marketing are-

(a) In the last five years, PR agencies have been growing with 30% on a yearly basis

(b) Around 19% of PR and Communications companies are contributing to marketing strategy

(c) More than 80% of PR professionals and marketers believe that the future of public relations is storytelling

To reach the public, PR makes use of the following unpaid and earned media:

(a) Social media

(b) Traditional media

(c) Speaking engagements

For instance, if a wedding consulting firm wins the best wedding consulting award of the year, then the PR unit may approach media houses to create and publish a story on it.

Here, the goal of the story is not just to spread the news to potential customers but to everyone.

The main aim is to improve the image, reputation, and the goodwill of the company. At the same time conveying relevant information of the company is another one of the main goals.

If in that endeavor, potential customers are also reached and the company acquires new paying customers it is just one of the PR activities’ additional advantages.

So, all in all, PR comprises the immense power for optimizing the credible presence for businesses, brands, and individuals. 

The Damage Control Side of PR

PR and Damage Control

PR and Damage Control

Besides painting a good picture of their client in front of their public, PR plays another immensely important role i.e. mitigating negative publicity.

A crisis can arise at any moment for an organization or a renowned personality.

During crisis situations, the PR efforts go into overdrive.

Saving the reputation of their client along with removing the effects of a tarnishing incident is the prime objective of the PR. This damage control side of the public relations can be understood more clearly with an example.

Suppose an oil company mistakenly caused an oil spill into the ocean.

The PR department responsible for that oil company will then control what type of news is being distributed to the public. In this situation, they will control the information flow and will try to convey to the public that the company is doing its best to prevent any damage to the wildlife and the aquatic environment.

One probable step that the PR may take in such a scenario is showing a series of video where the company staffs are busy cleaning the spilled oil and rescuing marine life.

All these are done to prevent the company to be perceived as a selfish profit-making entity.

Instead, the PR department tries to portray the company as an entity that cares most about protecting the public interests.

PR and Marketing

PR & Marketing

PR & Marketing

It is only recently (30 years to be precise) that public relations and marketing are being used in the same sense. People today, no longer think twice before using it interchangeably. However, 3 decades back, public relations and marketing were two very separate entities with two totally different motives.

Let’s set the records straight by stating that PR and Marketing are two different things. However, the boundaries or the distinction between the two is increasingly being blurred today-so much so that now people refer them as being same.

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In the Traditional View…

Goal of Marketing

The purpose of marketing is to serve, sense, and satisfy the needs of the customer for some profit.

The Goal of Public Relations

The purpose of PR is to increase the goodwill of a business among the public. This is done so that the public doesn’t interfere in the profit-making endeavor of the business.

What is PR in Marketing?

As mentioned before the sole goal of marketing is profit-making, whereas PR focuses on so much more.

It is not enough to just have marketing strategies in place and implementing them.

Marketing strategies can only work for about say 1 week after the launch of a product (in case of a marketing campaign focused on new product launch). However, what is PR and what PR does will be effective for several months or perhaps years.

Public relations is a very powerful communication tool which can take marketing efforts to the next level when used in the right way.

In a day and age where traditional marketing efforts are increasing yielding low return on investment due to tough competition and market saturation. Using public relations is a good idea to safeguard profits.

Role of PR in marketing

PR in marketing can be used to produce awareness and generate positive responses to the products and services of a business. Since traditional marketing efforts are not that successful in producing the desired results anymore. The PR in marketing provides brands an innovative way of scaling their growth and profit.

PR in marketing can be often seen in action on the internet. There is no doubt on the fact that the internet presents an integrated market where it is hard to distinguish between non-commercial and commercial content. Brands often resort to viral marketing and other innovative marketing methods to raise awareness about their services.

Many brands release videos on the internet or release adverts on TV where they talk about some pressing human, environmental, or societal issues.

Yes, mostly these videos or adverts are made to raise awareness or educate people on some pressing issues.

However, the said reasons are not the only ones behind making such videos.

By sharing such content, the brands hope that people will see the brand in a good light and this will increase the value of the brand on ethical grounds.

Moreover, the brands also hope that their ethical credentials will extend over to their products as well; ultimately, resulting in more sales.

Some of the skills that PR managers have are-

(a) Great communication

(b) Writing skills

(c) Creativity

(d) Strong research skills

To measure the performance of your public relations campaigns, you need to track some of the KPIs that will be useful. Let us have a look upon those-

Key KPIs for Tracking PR Campaigns

You need to track a few below given Key Performance Indicators that will help you gauge the performance of your Public Relations marketing campaigns-

(i) Backlinks

(ii) Brand mentions

(iii) Conversions

(iv) Domain authority

(v) Sentiment

(vi) Site traffic

(vii) Social media engagement

(viii) Social shares

Let’s walk you through a few examples to show you what is (PR) public relations in marketing look like-

Examples of Public Relations in Marketing 

1. The publicity stunt performed by Paramount Pictures for its movie ‘The Ring’

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures wanted to grab the attention of people and wanted to promote its upcoming horror movie.

To achieve this, they re-enacted an iconic scene from their movie on the news showroom where Samara (the protagonist) was shown coming out of the TV and haunting the newsroom.

The protagonist haunted the newsroom scaring everyone present there. This video became viral on Facebook and received 10 million views.

2. Just Eat helps a Sick Customer

Just Eat

Just Eat

Just Eat is a food delivery app. This online food ordering app allows the customers to leave a message for the delivery person to inform them about their delivery address (for example neighbor’s home).

One sick customer tried her luck and requested the delivery person to pick her some flu tablets and Benylin on his way. The message read that she is ordering the food just to get those medicines and she can’t get them as she is sick.

The delivery person delivered both food and medicine. The PR of that business took a photo of that bill with the sick customer’s request and posted online. Needless to say, the bill with the request went viral all over the internet and earned Just Eat some big brownie points over their kind gesture for helping a sick person.

Final Thoughts

We hope that you understood what is PR in marketing from this article.

Over the years, Public relations meaning,  the roles, and responsibilities of the PR have changed. Today it has emerged into an inextricable part of the business.

PR is now extensively used to enhance efforts of marketing to obtain desired goals.

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The values and actions of an organization are marketable commodities. Marketing PR strategies based on the goals, vision, and mission help to improve the image of the organization in the minds of the customers.

This was a different way as compared to years ago when the only goal was oriented towards increasing profits.

Marketing PR is a combination of programs designed to maintain the company’s image and improve the perception of products and services provided. Fruitful formulation and execution of the public relations aspects are critical to the marketing strategy adopted by the company.

Enrolling in a Digital Marketing Course will help you learn what is PR in marketing, give you an in-depth understanding of public relations meaning and include public relations in your marketing strategies in a dexterous and conversion-driven manner.

What are your thoughts about the power of PR in marketing? Share your views with us in the comments.

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