Although these two marketing tools often are thought of as supposed to be playing similar roles in promoting an organization’s activities, advertising and public relations have similarities and differences unique to their roles, objectives, strategies and even communication mediums. Similarly both tools aim to draw as much positive feedback from individuals and groups surrounding the organization although advertising is focused more on customer awareness, public relations’ game ball is creating and nurturing good relationships for the benefit of the company.
The word advertising itself conjures up images of neon billboards, television commercials, internet pop-ups, radio jingles, glossy magazine pictures and even junk emails. Some of this information hit consumers every waking day without them realizing it and this is the fundamental role of advertising – to promote an organization’s cause to various target publics. Most businesses are renowned to invest heavily in advertising to (Kotler & Armstrong, 2014, p. 434) persuasively communicating brand values to the target markets.
Whilst advertising focuses on selling a brands’ story, public relations has the power to engage consumers and make them part of that brand story. This mass-promotion tool works around various company activities aimed to build and promote favorable working relationships with the company’s various publics.
With technology companies developing at a faster rate today, public relations can be effectively used to disseminate awareness cheaply with the same effect as advertising. Although many technology companies put little effort into developing their public relations departments, its impact stand to provide numerous company benefits when integrated strategically into a marketing communication program.
Kotler & Armstrong (2014) pointed out in this digital age consumers are thrown too much information that most cannot differentiate clearly anymore. Users browsing a Facebook page today may ignore the advertisements that pop-up from time to time but will not forget it and may discuss this later with peers. The point is (Niederquell, 1991) as consumers continue to get smarter; they are also becoming increasingly harder to reach and many are trying to avoid commercial advertisements as much as possible. Companies can reach target audiences and achieve results using public relations more effectively by integrating public relations into the marketing communications program when marketing plans are conceived and developed. Sarah Sherik (2011) gave a good analysis on using Facebook for public relations (Sherik, 2011) saying this strategy can be either an obvious win or a terrible idea as companies have to researched its audience well, consider the desired outcomes it hopes to achieve as well as incorporate this strategy seamlessly into its public relation plans.
Harnessing public relations also gives technology companies the benefit of building credibility and nurturing brand image, services and products with its consumers. Dell and Sony are seen doing this well amongst their consumers in Asia and South Pacific.
Seeing that advertising is costly for companies, public relations (Niederquell, 1991) can have a much lower cost to deliver inexpensive support to external marketing budgets.
Too frequently, public relations is often undermined in many companies including technology companies, the reasons vary from rise in online marketing to limited budgets, however by focusing on communicating the value of brands to target customers, many companies forget that public relations can be a powerful brand developing tool that importantly engages the views of customers and maximize the marketing opportunity.
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Kotler, P & Armstrong, G (2014) Principles of Marketing (15th Edition) Pearson Education, Inc.
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Laureate Online Education B.V. (2013) Weekly Readings Week 06: PRNMKT: Principles of Marketing: [Online]. Available at: https://elearning.uol.ohecampus.com/webapps/blackboard/content/listContent.jsp?course_id=_1470925_1&content_id=_7047452_1 (Accessed: 20 June 2014)
Niederquell, MO (1991), ‘Integrating the Strategic Benefits of Public Relations into the Marketing Mix’, Public Relations Quarterly, 36, 1, pp. 23-24, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, [Online] Available at: http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.liv.ac.uk/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=e0c93210-8dd8-4eb6-ac0c-1e9b93879f9d%40sessionmgr4004&vid=1&hid=4211 (Accessed: 22 June 2014)
Sherik S (2011) Using Facebook for Public Relations [Online] Available at: http://blog.prnewswire.com/2011/08/09/facebook-for-public-relations/ (Accessed: 22 June 2014)