A long time ago, when I was giving a presentation on “What is Public Relations,” I came across this definition of marketing terms:
- If the circus was coming, and you went looking for a site to pitch the ‘Big Top’, that’s market research.
- If you painted a sign before the circus came to town announcing, “Circus Coming to Town on Saturday!”, that’s advertising.
- If you put your sign on the back of an elephant and marched it through town, that’s promotion.
- If the elephant, still with the sign on his back, tramples through the mayor’s garden, and it makes the evening news, that’s publicity.
- If you get the mayor to laugh about it, that’s public relations.
- If you deliberately lead the elephant past schools and through residential neighborhoods, that’s market segmentation.
- When town’s residents come to your circus and you show them the array of games, treats and entertainment stalls, explain how much fun they’ll have enjoying the circus performers, answer their questions about the attractions, and ultimately, they spend their hard-earned money at your circus, that’s sales.
- If you created, planned and managed all these activities, that’s MARKETING!
According to the Public Relations Society of America, Inc., public relations (PR) is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.
What does all this mean? Through PR, businesses or organizations influence and build relationships with their audiences (internal and external) across a number of platforms to shape public perception of the business or organization. PR works within traditional media, social media or self-produced communications to build a brand’s reputation.
If a business doesn’t have any public perception built over time through these platforms (especially with social media which is largely free), it’s both easily forgotten as a viable business, and in an unlucky time of crisis, has no loyal and listening audience to communicate with.
Having PR experts on your team allows for a long-term strategy when it comes to how the public perceives you. And, in times of a crisis, having a relationship with a PR agency is beneficial so they can plug in and guide communication, protecting the reputation of the organization.
Below are some of the tactics employed under the umbrella of public relations:
- Corporate Communication
- Crisis Communication
- Internal Communications
- Investor Relations Communications
- Media Relations
- Social Media Content Creation and Monitoring
- Special Events
- Reputation Management
- Brand Journalism/Sponsored Content
- Press Releases
The major difference between advertising and public relations is that advertising is paid. Public relations is free.
If your business or organization needs a solid public relations strategy, or if you find yourself in need of some public relations advice, BOLD is ready to help. Contact us today.