What is the Difference Between Public Relations and Advertising?
Public relations and advertising do the same function of promoting a brand and its products and services. This make many of us think that public relations and advertising are same, but it's not so. These two industries are completely different and their mode of operation is also different from each other. Let's discuss the difference between public relations and advertising in detail.
The first and foremost factor that differentiates public relations and advertising is the cost factor. In advertising you need to pay for ad space in the newspaper or in broadcasting channels, whereas in public relations you get free publicity as well as free media exposure. The other differentiating factor is the creative control. In advertising, you can use your creativity in making the advertisement that would be published or broadcasted, but in public relations you have no control on creativity and it is completely in the hand of media how it presents your information. In PR, the media is not obliged to publish your information and it completely depends upon their whims and fancies, as you are not paying a single penny to them to do so. Advertising generates tangible benefits like sales, while public relations bring intangible bounties that gives you result in the long run. In terms of shelf life advertising has a greater shelf life in comparison to public relations. This could be understood with the help of an example. Suppose your company deals in beauty products. You can keep repeating your advertisement of your product in the newspaper over and over as long as your budget allows, but in case of beauty PR you just submit your press release once about your products and the editor would publish it just once not three or four times in the beauty magazine. So, your beauty PR will have lesser shelf life than your beauty advertising.
The other factor that differentiates advertisement and public relations
is how people perceive each of them. When people read an advertisement
in the newspaper they know that this advertisement is trying to sell its
product or service to them while in PR when they read a third party account
they tend to believe it more and they perceive it as an unbiased version.
In this way PR generates more faith of the people in your product and
service in comparison to advertisement, which is taken by people as marketing
gimmick. You can't advertise about your event by self praising or advertising
its success, here you have to take the help of PR and send out press releases
so that your event gets adequate media coverage from third party angle.
All these differences mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg; there are thousand of differences that establish the fact that PR and advertisements are all together different entities. So, don't take them as the same.