Advertising and public relations are gradually ending their rivalry in the marketing communications family and joining hands. The key pressures which are forcing a fusion between these blood relations are:
- The worsening image of big business in the public mind.
- Decreasing marketing communications budgets
- The need to increase “share of voice” with greater cost efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
- The ever-increasing costs of doing business.
- Recognition of the importance of synergy between the two.
- Resulting wave of governmental regulations.
The fact is that businesspeople generally have been slow to mount counter-action programs.
This attitude is rapidly changing. The advertising arm of marketing is doing deep soul-searching about its own role in today’s consumer-oriented environment. It is coming up with a reconditioning job on its credulity. There is a growing conviction among business leaders that the direct approach of advertising can be helped significantly, by bringing in, at an early stage, the adroit approach of public relations.
It is important that, traditionally, advertising people have tended to be primarily product-oriented. However, this has at times resulted in a short-term view when it comes to corporate image-building. Here skilled PR professionals can make a vital contribution to a company’s long-range thinking.
By forecasting social, political, and economic trends in relation to the company and its products.
By advising executives on their public utterances, so that not only are they not misinterpreted but so that they communicate values which will enhance the corporate standing in the eye of the consumer.
By helping a company to exist harmoniously within a changing society.
By becoming an important part of the marketing team, involved in every phase of the marketing process from product conception to distribution and promotion.
Public relations people contribute expertise in many areas. For example:
- New Products: Do they present possible ecological problems?
- Copy: Experienced PR thinking may well help to improve the sales performance of copy by the avoidance of consumer irritation in areas of racial, ethnic, or even sexual sensitivity.
- Promotion: The marriage of advertising and PR can help the company get more mileage from advertising programs, a major plus in an increasingly cluttered advertising environment. For instance: sponsorship of a television network show.
- Advertising agencies, like manufacturers, have been slow to realize the necessity of professional public relations. But the ad agencies which have treated PR as a creative force in a total marketing program are to benefit. They and their clients profit from the synergism that results when the public relations and advertising groups have access to the same information, can develop and carry out a joint communications strategy, and together execute joint solutions to marketing problems.
Ron Owens is President, Ron Owens & Associates, a marketing consultancy specializing in business development, branding, diversity, equity & inclusion. Ron is a Co-founder / former Principal, LMO Advertising; VP, Bozell Worldwide; VP, TMP Worldwide and Director, Worldwide Advertising & Public Relations, Pitney Bowes, a Fortune 500 Company. He is the former Governor, 4A’s, Region III; Vice Chair, AAF, Region II; Committee Chair, ANA, and Vice Chair, Better Business Bureau. Ron is a frequent guest lecturer / speaker at regional colleges / universities can be reached via [email protected]
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