Advertising and PR - which form of promotion is more effective?

Service Business

Currently, concepts such as advertising and pr are familiar to both large corporations and small and medium-sized enterprises. It is obvious that the presence of an organization on the market is largely related to the effective conduct of advertising campaigns or the effective implementation of Public Relations. However, as it turns out, many people still equate these terms with each other. Well, it is a mistake to say that these two domains practically mean the same, because when juxtaposed them one can see many differences. So how does advertising and PR influence building brand awareness among recipients? What are the differences between these forms of promotion and are there any similarities?

Public Relations - what is it and what is it about?

There is no clear-cut rule that defines the concept of Public Relations. Attempts at definition focus mainly on building and maintaining a positive image of the company, but the path to achieving this goal is often long and difficult. Another definition says that Public Relations is the art of achieving harmony through mutual agreements based on true and complete information (Black 2015). In turn, in the Encyclopedia of Business, you can read that Public Relations is a conscious, purposeful, planned, systematic and long-term influence of organizations, authorities and associations on the public, known as the environment, aimed at shaping a specific quality of relations and systems with it, using communication and nurturing contacts as the only classic method, and subordinating these influences ethical rigors (after: Wójcik K., 1995, Encyclopedia business, vol. 2, Warsaw).

It cannot be denied that over time, the activities in the PR sector have undergone significant modifications, which is why today they concentrate many areas within them. Today's PR is an extensive profession that is often a foundation for other marketing activities, such as content marketing or social media.

Advertising - definition and examples

According to the definition, advertising is one of the communication channels of the company with the environment. It is an important element of the marketing strategy that clearly influences consumer behavior (Altkorn J., 2001, Fundamentals of marketing, Institute of Marketing). As an impersonal and paid form of communication, consistent with the law and morality, it is addressed to a mass recipient.

The basic functions of advertising are three factors:

  1. informing,

  2. persuasion and

  3. reminding (building loyalty), the task of which is to bring the customer closer to a given product.

Therefore, the advertising message presents the product and its advantages in an appropriate way, so as to make the recipient want to buy it. To illustrate the definition of advertising, we will use some examples:

  • Wedel chocolate

  • caffeine tablets Vigor Up!

  • Audi car

Advertising and PR - 4 most important differences

Although both areas of advertising and PR belong to the category of promotion and use the same patterns of social communication, using similar distribution channels, the main difference between advertising and PR is certainly payment and information transmitters. Advertising is a paid form of transmitting information to the external environment, praising the company or its product, while PR is an activity that begins inside the organization and works on the basis of a dialogue with external recipients. Public relations uses journalists and public figures as transmitters of information, while advertising is a one-way transmission of information via radio, press, internet or television.



The content of the message presents the product or service and its benefits

PR information presents the motives and intentions of the decisions made by the company

Advertising campaigns focus on short-term goals and assume a quick effect

PR campaigns are characterized by the development of long-term strategies

The main purpose of advertising is purchase incentive and profit, where the criterion for evaluating the effectiveness of the campaign is the amount of sales from goods or services

The key goal of PR is to shape public opinion by building and maintaining lasting relationships between the company and the environment, where the criterion for evaluating the effectiveness of the campaign is the increase of recipients' trust in the company and its positive reception

The message in the advertisement is a one-sided message in the form of a monologue

The PR message is a two-way message in the form of a dialogue

What are the similarities between advertising and PR?

Among the many factors determining the differences between the advertising strategy and Public Relations, are there any features that testify to the similarity of these forms of communication? At first glance, it might seem that advertising and PR are completely separate areas, but this assumption is not entirely correct. It is worth remembering that the basic feature that connects them is, above all, the promotion of the company. If we use different methods of communication, appropriate for each of these methods, it is important that the fact of the company's presence on the market is fixed in the awareness of the recipients of the message, whether advertising or PR. And as it is commonly known, building such awareness is a long-term process, where there is often a long and bumpy road to achieve the intended goal.

Advertising campaigns vs. PR campaigns - summary

It is commonly believed that advertising is often treated as an unreliable form of promotion. PR, on the other hand, is an objective picture, much more reliable in providing information about products and services when advertising only informs about their availability.

Regardless of which form of promotion seems to be more effective, it is certain that neither of these strategies should function alone. Having a common goal, which is the promotion of the company, in a sense, they even complement each other. Choosing between "advertising and PR" does not make any deeper sense, because only in a pair can they constitute truly effective tools that will contribute to the promotion of the company and its offer, as omitting any of them may disrupt the brand's survival on the market.