Public Relations

Advertising and Public Relations: The Un-identical Twins


Eventually, I have started the new act of ‘blogging’ after a prolonged period of thinking and laziness. I would like to appreciate and say thanks to those who actually dared to read my previous article `Social Media – an Evolving Trend in Public Relation’. By not spending much time on thanking speech, I am proceeding towards the epicenter of this post, i.e., how Advertising differs from Public Relations (PR).

Apparently, Public Relation is often confused with Advertisements. In fact, it is repeatedly considered as `free advertising’. Moreover, they are considered the twins. Whatever general perception may be, there is a sea difference between the two.

PR includes activities intended to promote product/services of a company, to boon the goodwill and to understand its target audience (TA). Through PR activities, you may access and influence public opinion by delivering messages in print, electronic, and online media vehicles without incurring direct media costs. Whereas, Advertising include activities intend to persuade, inform, remind, or to recall the messages given about a product/services of a company. Direct media cost is always included in every visibility of the advertisement in all the media vehicles.

In advertisements, the timing of message is in the hands of company. It can be managed and controlled as per date/ day/ month of appearances. Whereas in PR the dates and days of the coverage are cannot be defined. In the majority of the times, they are in the hands of Media.

From the time of their inception, advertisements comprise of mass media vehicles in order to inflate their platter with customer/buyers/clients. The use of mass media does not allow receiving feedback from TA and thus the focus is on one-way communications. PR significantly uses mass media and “new media” services for spreading consciousness among TA. There are several more personal avenues (e.g., speaking engagement columns, special interviews, events designed for better communications and facilities tours) thereby leading to two-way communication with customers.

All through the aforementioned PR activities, the company should be listening as well as talking with the help of various public relations avenues often providing for immediate feedback.

New Media and Mass Media refer to any type of media that is used for public relations or marketing. In today’s times, New Media has become a significant element in everyday life. It allows people to communicate, bank, shop and entertain. It allows huge increase in the volume of interactive communication as well as provides the possibility of increasing the speed of communication.

The public may view advertisements as commercial because the public recognizes advertising as an attempt to persuade or in some cases, manipulating. However, advertising is very powerful in creating a brand image. While on other hand, public often sees public relation activities covered by the media as news and therefore, regard it as more neutral or believable. PR can also create image, but can sometimes stray from how it was originally intended.

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3 thoughts on “Advertising and Public Relations: The Un-identical Twins

  1. Aah good one. I always thought of PR as only relationship building but never understood the essence of it much. This give me a good insight.

    So Would you say PR is a lot about Listening skills ?

    Will like to know more.

  2. @Abha di,
    Yes, PR is external communications used for relationship and image building…

    No, PR is not about listening skill, it about Speaking and communicating skill..

  3. A good blog Preeti. Keep it up.Good classification of Adv and PR.
    A lot of PR and adv is take care nowadays by Data Science teams- a new concept / dept coming up as part if IT teams whose main focus is gather data, analyze and provide value out of it to Organization.

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