Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Public Relations vs. Advertising

In today’s society, there is a clear-cut understanding of what advertising is, while public relationsremains a mystery to many.

Advertising, as we know it, is paid space and broadcast time. There is complete control over the message, medium, and the target audience. It can be very expensive, especially if you have a big market to cover. For example, advertisers paid $2.5 billion to $3 million for a 30-second Super Bowl ad in 2010. It is now more difficult to launch a product through advertising, because consumers don’t pay as much attention as they did in the past. One reason being there is too much “clutter,” meaning consumers are exposed to several messages all at once.

Public relations is the management of communication between an organization and its publics.  It involves analyzing trends, predicting their consequences, counseling organization leaders, and implementing planned programs of action which serve both the organization’s and the public’s interest. A simple, yet brilliant example would be when IKEA sent out letters to 3445 households nearby the first IKEA to open in Croatia. The letter was more than just introducing themselves to their neighbors, and informing them of construction; it was a small example of what IKEA stands for through the form of the letter. The letter was not only its own envelope, but also a t-shirt folder, exemplifying the simplicity of IKEA furniture.

Here are a few facts on the topic to consider:

·       The fastest-growing retail chain in the world is Zara, headquartered in Spain and now operates in dozens of different countries. Zara does no advertising except for two sale ads a year.

·        PlayStation and PlayStation 2 were introduced with a fanfare of publicity and went on to become the leading video-game brand.

·       Linux, an open-source software has not advertised because no one owns the brand. Yet Linux has some 99 per cent name recognition in the high-tech community.

·       According to Interbrand and Ad Age, these are the top five brands and advertisers.

Top 5 Brands:
1. Google
2. Apple
3. Coco-Cola
4. Starbucks
5. Ikea

Top 5 Advertisers
1. General Motors ($3.3B)
2. Procter & Gamble ($2.5B)
3. Ford ($2.4B)
4. PepsiCo ($2.2B)
5. Pfizer ($2.1B)

It is interesting to note the disconnect between the top 5 brands versus the top 5 advertisers. Advertising used to be top dog when it came to businesses promoting themselves, but in today’s age of technology and internet public relations are taking on a much larger, more significant, and different role.

What is your stance on the advertising versus public relations debate? Do you deem one more important or necessary than the other, or are they equal players in the business playing field?

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