Corporate America’s Most Common Misunderstanding – The Relationship between PR and Marketing

Over 20% of the CEO’s surveyed confuse PR with advertising—they actually don’t know the difference, while another 18% believe PR is merely some form of promotion.
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Oct. 20, 2011 - PRLog -- Some of the most successful companies in the U.S. never learned or reaped the additional and very real market rewards open to them by the correct use of PR in marketing.

Based on market research done with business leaders named to the U.S. Inc. 5000 list, JoTo Extreme PR and Marketing found that over 20% of the CEO’s surveyed confuse PR with advertising—they actually don’t know the difference, while another 18% believe PR is merely some form of promotion.

But to be fair, Public Relations and Marketing firms have obviously done an abysmal job of educating their clients and the business world in general on the correct use of PR and how exactly it relates to Marketing.  Since most CEOs are not educated or trained as marketers or PR consultants, it is up to the people running PR and marketing agencies to educate their clients—to fail to do is often counterproductive to PR’s goals as an uneducated client can inadvertently ruin an entire PR campaign with the utterance of just a few wrong words.

Another common misconception about Public Relations is that it is completely separate from marketing; that effective marketing can be done without PR.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  These two subjects are actually intrinsic to each other as they both ultimately have the same goal—a positive result from the public, whether it is in the acquisition of acquired admiration, trust or respect, or whether if it is in the form of product interest and purchase.

There is a natural flow and order to the use of these subjects which is almost always violated by most businesses. Ordinarily, a business creates a product or service and then simply starts promoting it; in many cases this process gets less than great results despite having a terrific offering and very well executed marketing communications. The reason: the people you are trying to convince to purchase your offering don’t know you well enough, may not trust you or may not believe your marketing message.

Why do you think Apple sells so many products? Yes, their products are good, but so are many of the similar products offered by their competitors—at lower cost. Yet Apple is the Big Man on Campus as far as familiarity, respect and sales.  One very big reason Apple sells so many products is because people trust Apple.

Trust can be very contagious. The more people see other people with Apple products and hear how much they like them, the greater the trust and familiarity becomes toward Apple as a Corporation and for their products…and that corporate trust and admiration even translated into respect and admiration for their late CEO, Steve Jobs.  That is the power inherent in third party endorsements—others saying your products, services and corporation are wonderful. That is the power that a good PR campaign will channel (and it IS supposed to channel – not be something separate) so that when you do run your marketing campaign it is well received with some degree of familiarity and trust.

Today, Social Media makes Public Relations more powerful than ever before.  It can be used effectively to improve your company’s image and to garner trust through other user’s experience.

Consumers can post their product “Like’s” on Facebook, they can Tweet about them, they can discuss them in Chats, they can Blog about them—consumers can get your message out in ways that you cannot. But you have to know how to channel and use that power. It is not just a matter of “throwing up an FB page”; what you do with that page is what it’s all about.

So how do you acquire trust and familiarity for your business and your products? Public Relations.

In an ideal world, PR would always be done before marketing starts; there is a natural law behind this. This fundamental concept applies to all aspects of life, not just business.  A business or a person’s reputation and activities should precede them to make communication and transactions smoother, easier, faster or even possible at all.

It applies to dating or marrying someone, it applies to selecting a school for your children, it applies to voting for a politician (although you are still likely to be disappointed with a political choice at one time or another—the reason being that politicians often misapply Public Relations by lacing their PR with “white lies” or in some cases with blatant distortions). In the end they are always found out. So, remember, always be truthful in your PR as well as in your marketing.

In a similar way that a person who doesn’t know you well enough would not be inclined to date you, or in the same way that you would not entrust your children to anyone that you had no familiarity or comfort with, so too will an individual who does not know your company to some degree be hesitant to doing business with it—and may in fact do business with a competitive company they are more familiar with despite paying more for an inferior product or service. The power of familiarity, trust and credibility is usually underestimated by business executives and not addressed seriously enough prior to launching a marketing campaign for a new commodity.

For these and other fundamental reasons is why you should definitely apply the core concepts of good public relations to any venture you decide to embark upon.

It is almost never too late to start a public relations campaign.  Even when your reputation has already been smeared, the solution to gaining back ground and even once again attainting a good reputation is possible with correct application of PR.  The specifics of that methodology are contained in a sub-section of Public Relations known as Crisis Management and its sub-category Reputation Management.

A classic example of Crisis Management (and reputation management) is the case of Bill Clinton. Remember Monica and Clinton’s near impeachment? While people do remember her and the infamous proceedings where he was caught in a lie, President Clinton is more highly respected and admired than ever before—post Monica.  So much so that while Bill Clinton went into the White House with a net worth less than one million dollars, his worth is now estimated to be above $80,000,000. That popularity and demand for his services are the results of very good public relations work. Clinton is instinctively a master of PR, but even he knew better than to go it alone and instead made good use of professional PR people to craft and oversee the management of his image and PR activities. These led to lucrative speaking engagements and other revenue sources.

Any attempt at image management or increased product market share will be handicapped without the use of effective PR laying the groundwork first. In today’s electronic marketplace, a marketing plan without considering Public Relations is akin to spitting on a raging fire in an attempt to squelch the flames – the fire is the onslaught of messages attacking your target markets’ minds EVERY DAY. The spit is your marketing effort.

Ask yourself, how many new products are glutting the market each day, week and year? And even if you have enough money to pour at that raging fire, imagine how much spit (marketing effort) it would take to get that fire out.

A much wiser option would be to use some of that money more effectively to shape people’s image of your company BEFORE they see your advertising asking them to buy from you.  Get them to think highly of you first and then send them your sales promotion. With the proper utilization of Business PR, people will become more familiar, interested and comfortable in doing business with you.

So what do you do now? Simple. Recognize that you do not know all there is to know about Public Relations. Realize that your business and marketing efforts could highly benefit from the application of expertly done public relations on your behalf. Hire experts in the field with proven results.

Jamie Sene

Contact JoTo Extreme PR for a Complimentary Consultation at

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JoTo Extreme PR and Marketing is a full service Marketing and PR firm. We provide all services including Press Releases, Market Research, Website Design, Email Marketing and Delivery, Public Relations and more.
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