Most businesses are confused on the difference between advertising and public relations and what functions they each play in boosting their market value, sales and brand. There’s even a small percentage of people who think advertising and publicity are one and the same. However, they are two hugely contrasting concepts that we are going to try and discuss together below.

When a company pays the media to showcase their product and services it is called advertising. It is simply referred to as paid media. Your product or service gets displayed in the paid portion of the newspaper, television or online blog. Publicity on the other hand can be referred to as warned media. This is what the public says about your product and services and it appears in the editorial section of a magazine, blog or newspaper. Usually it is the work of a third party and the public believes this more than the sponsored ads. This is probably because they feel like he reviewer’s opinion is not compromised based on any fee they might have collected from you.

There’s another way to look at this. Usually your business earns good publicity if your brand is strong, consistent and unique. Because a lot of people have realised the power of publicity, they now invest well in public relations management. Your public relations agency basically does the work of making your business newsworthy. They do this by generating publicity or by managing your public image. If there’s good news out there about you, they help to blow your trumpet. They get media houses to cover your events, activities and so on. They set up press conferences, interviews, and so on. They keep you buzzing in the media. The more people hear about you or your business, it makes you something of a household name that people want to identify with.

Your publicity agency also help to manage whatever bad press there is out there about you.For example if you are a cosmetics manufacturing company, and someone sues you for skin damage, it is your PR that will help to redeem your image by flooding the media with ideas of slander or they will help to tilt the light on the good reviews you have been receiving. Or they would set up a charity function where people will see your company giving out money to help the less privileged in the society.

Both advertising and public relations has it’s place in a business and thus they achieve specific functions.

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