Billboards, Instagram and Facebook ads, Spotify ads, and newspaper ads are all forms of advertising. It is a communication drafted by the brand to the users. Advertising is an age-old industry that promotes brands and 'sells soap'.
In recent times along with advertising a new industry has bloomed called Public Relations. It is an industry that works in the shadows.
How is that so?
1. Name a few famous advertisers.
2. Name a few big advertising firms.
3. Name your favorite advertising campaign of recent times.
I am sure you have answers to these. Now try answering these questions-
1. Name a few famous PR professionals.
2. Name a few PR agencies
3. Name your favorite PR campaign done in recent times.
I am sure you do not have all the answers to these questions.
PR is hidden in plain sight. In PR brands do not say that they are good, other users or even non-users say that the brand is good.
In today's world, everything is PR. Let me tell you how.
What is Public Relations (PR)?
PR means managing how others feel about your brand or company. It manages how you identify and perceive the brand. Accordingly, it sends across communication to influence, reinforce, or change your perception.
It works on the subconscious mind of people. It is very layered and not as upfront as ads.
There are 2 types of PR- earned and bought. Earned pr is free. Here you don't need to do anything. People themselves will talk and create a buzz around your brand.
Bought PR is any activity that you do for pr in which you need to spend money. Examples- newspaper articles, conferences, events, etc.
How are advertising and PR connected?
People have got saturated with seeing the same ads across digital and OOH platforms. At times they do not believe what the ads try to communicate. On the other hand, people also believe that a lot of activities that brands do to promote themselves is a PR stunts.
They believe that the brand is not genuine. Hence both advertising and PR go hand in hand. One cannot effectively communicate without the other.
How do big brands do PR?
Big brands like Amazon, Apple, OnePlus, Political parties, etc. do a lot of pr. This creates a positive brand image, builds brand persona, and increases people's liking-ness towards the brand. All this leads to more sales.
Big brands employ PR agencies for it. They organize press conferences, and events with influencers, make sure newspapers write about them and they get good press coverage. For example, Apple before releasing its new phone every year creates a lot of hype around it. It organizes an entire event for its product launch. It is telecasted across the globe.
All of it is PR. It creates that superior and exclusive image in people's minds. Now even if another brand provides all the same features as Apple does at a lower price still people will opt for Apple due to its brand value.
PR gets people talking. After doing one event brands make sure they get such good press coverage that it spreads like wildfire. If you open your newspaper, you will find that many articles as disguised and promote a brand secretly. The best part is that you will feel that it is the writer's opinion but that is not true. Many times, they get paid to write it.
How can small businesses do PR?
PR is still a growing industry and not every brand can afford to spend money on it. Brands are realizing how important and effective it is. Small businesses can also do PR by putting in some extra effort. Here are some ways in which they can get both paid and free PR-
- Sponsor events in your locality/city
- Sponsor events like walkathons, marathons, or any social initiative that you want your brand to be associated with. Be consistent in supporting it. this way people will associate your brand with that cause. Plus, you will get press coverage as well.
- Approach your local daily to write a piece on your brand
- If you are a lifestyle-based brand then you can approach a lifestyle paper or magazine and tell them to write a piece on your brand.
- Tell your customers to review your products on their social media. Request your customers to make reels or upload some content related to your products on their social media. You do not need to pay them as they are your customers. This way it will spread across their circle.
- Take up stalls in exhibitions
- Organize contests and giveaways
These are some easy ways to get people talking about your brand. Do let me know which one worked for you in the comment section below.
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