So we have arrived at the 4th and last part of this series. It all started with what seemed to be a trademark battle and in the past three episodes, we have covered some very interesting topics. Part one was about the role of colors in design and branding, which was followed by the role of brands in marketing. Last week, I wrote about trademarks and copyright in the graphic design field, be it industrial design, web design or advertising. And today, we are going to take a look at the subject of Public Relations – and see what we can find out about why knowing a bit about it can be the best thing that ever happened to us.
Welcome to the Wonderful World of Public Relations
The term Public Relations (PR) is used to describe the management of information between one party and another. Every company that is large enough to have a public face will employ PR in one way or the other. In fact, it is mandatory to make use of PR when managing brands. To explain Public Relations better, think about how you want your target audience to perceive a brand.
As a marketing manager, you will want to connect a certain image to a brand; one which the target audience can identify with. We covered this in Part 2 of this series. So, next to the other promotional elements of marketing (advertising, personal selling, direct marketing, sales promotion), we have publicity, which, in Public Relations, is the arm of action.
What is the Difference between PR and Publicity?
While Publicity goes out and creates a story around a given subject, with the objective to leverage certain aspects of it while making it easy to overlook others, Public Relations aims to oversee and control the flow of information on a much larger scale, e.g. with the goal to not even let bad news became public.
Let’s say that some company wanted to raise their text message rate in the U.S. from currently 15 cents to 20 for every message that exceeds the monthly budget. If we were to make the assumption that they needed more money and the 15 cents (which, right now, is 5 cents below industry standard) is really busting their butts, we could see a task for this company’s Marketing Manager coming up: Make this bad story a good one for our customers. To do that, he could employ a variety of techniques: from simply letting it slip under the carpet to spinning it into the brand’s premium positioning as a differentiator.
This example is based on the assumption that this company wants to make more money from the text messages their customers send.