PR vs Advertising

What's the difference?
How are companies remembered? When someone’s thirsty, hungry, needs a service, or birthday gift or needs to grocery shop how do most people decide where they’ll spend their money? It’s simple, the place where they’ve had, or heard of, the best customer service experience.

No matter how companies try advertising, unfortunately, cannot prove customer service. But public relations, or any company’s display of its values, mission, services and so on can speak louder than any advertising and can serve as a customer’s or potential customer’s reason for business.

Companies need public relations (internally or externally) in order to
    get their message out...

For example, according to forbes.com, JetBlue, Starbucks, Zara, The Body Shop, Sony’s Playstation, and Linux rely on public relations to increase their business and customer loyalty and have invested fewer hours and dollars in advertising.

Even during crisis have these companies thrived. During any crisis, it’s not an ad campaign that can pull a company out of any negative light. It’s the way a company reacts to the media and how they do it. Companies need public relations (internally or externally) in order to get their message out to the right public. During some crisis a company may need to have their CEO/President briefed for an interview, they may need a press conference set up, or press releases written, which is sent out to the media and posted to their website.

If a company in the high-tech field has not been mentioned in the paper, it will be
    hard for that company to survive.

During good times companies still need public relations to relay any messages about their work in the community. Additional information about new products or services, involvement in events, awards, community outreach or changes to current policies can also be communicated through effective public relations. Very often, public relations can be the first step in a new sales plan.

Public relations provides a face to any business, according to Small Business Solutions. This ‘face’ influences a customer’s buying decisions and repeat business. The image created by a public relations firm or practitioner through the media, or publicity, can result in any company achieving their marketing/sales objectives, says Business Week.

Take The Wall Street Journal, a well-respected newspaper in the high-tech field. If a company in the high-tech field has not been mentioned in the paper, it will be hard for that company to survive. According to forbes, companies like Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, and Blackberry have branded their image and grown due to publicity in these papers. How did they get mentioned in the WSJ in the first place? Public Relations.

Yes, any of these companies could place a paid advertisement in any section within the WSJ, but it’s the fact that they’re being mentioned within the article written by a reputable reporter, which improves their credibility.