Marketing & Advertising are great but relationships are born and cultivated through PR messaging that hits people at their core.
By Karla Jo Helms
PR is all about presenting your company in a way that is not possible with advertising which is one of the many reasons PR is significantly different than marketing. PR and marketing are both essential to the sustainability of your business and a top-notch PR professional knows how to integrate both units to position your company as you envision it and create a great return on investment.
So if the two units are completely different, how do you integrate them to produce a great result? Ah…..that is the power of an experienced PR professional so if you do not already have one on board you should start considering hiring a competent Public Relations company that knows how to do this. Meanwhile, here are a few tips on how to integrate marketing and PR and the effect it can have on your company when implemented correctly.
Tip No. 1: Use PR to Change the Mindset of the Consumer
If you are marketing your product and not getting results it is highly likely you are not backing your marketing strategy with a great PR campaign. Marketing encourages people to make a decision about your product where PR positions your company in the mind of the consumer before they have to make a decision about your product. If people go, “Oh, those are the guys who do……” then your PR campaign is working. When it comes time to purchase a product the consumer will choose yours over the competition because they will say, “Well, I am going to go with this product since I know this company.”
Tip No. 2: Create Profitable Images
As part of your PR strategy, you should create profitable images. These are tactics you use to create a visual image in the mind of the consumer that becomes profitable to you in some way. People tend to remember visual images better than they remember something they read. For example, if you see a business executive shaking hands with a celebrity, this paints a picture in your mind that you will be likely to remember. If you read an article about the same business executive meeting a celebrity will you remember this when you see their product? Yes. Pictures are worth a thousand words, but in place of that are words, concepts, and ideas.
Communication is the tool of a PR professional. How things are said, presented and placed in the public’s mind is the skill of an adept PR. The pictures only back up what is being said. Profitable images include awards, endorsements by opinion leaders in the community, proclamations, etc., etc. The list is endless. But you have to make sure that the images presented represent the company or product that is using them – otherwise, it can backfire.
Tip No. 3: Marketing Should Be Reserved for Marketing
What? I thought PR was marketing! No. Marketing is how you present your service or product when you take it to market to be sold – and should support your PR message. So make sure you save marketing for its intended purpose which is to encourage decision-making after the consumer knows who you are and what you are about. Never use PR to advertise your product! That is one of the ways “PR” gets misused. This is the whole reason why PR can present your company in an entirely different light than advertising can because it is about credibility and not peddling your product or service. PR can tell your story in a myriad of ways to a multitude of people that marketing simply cannot.
Tip No. 5: Overlap PR with Marketing
Although we just said that PR and marketing are different there is a point where they overlap. PR professionals who are masterful at their craft know exactly when and how to overlap PR with marketing. Timing is crucial from this standpoint because if you wait too long to start the marketing after you have launched your PR campaign the gap will create problems with your return on investment. On the other hand, if you implement marketing too soon this can also be detrimental to the end result. There is a point where PR and marketing must meet before you begin to accelerate the marketing campaign.
I know I said 5, but I thought of one more. I’m generous I suppose.
Tip No. 6: New Companies Place PR before Marketing
If your company is a startup, chances are you are thinking in your mind, “Well maybe I should start getting revenue before I think about PR.” This is a perfectly natural way to think because you want to get going, however, it is important to remember to start PR as you are ramping up because it will shorten the road to success and get you there much quicker. Without PR, nobody knows who you are or if they like you and are less apt to want to know anything about what you are selling.
Remember not to give in to the temptation of waiting to get established before you do PR. PR can lend so much credibility to your venture by communicating your story, passion or vision. This creates a connection whereby people understand you better, and the end result is that they become more comfortable in doing business with you. PR done the right way is less costly and more beneficial to your bottom line in the long run – and therefore is always better at the outset than an afterthought.
If you are in this for the long haul, do it right and work with a PR professional that will get you started off on the right foot. This will save you a lot of hassles not to mention it will be the shorter route to take to your success. With powerful PR backing you up, your company will also last over the long term and through tough economic times as well.