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The Differences Between Public Relations and Advertising...

Public Relations and advertising. Advertising and public relations. Same thing, right? Sure. You go ahead and tell yourself that, and you might as well give your competitors a 50-yard lead in the 100-yard dash. It’s two completely different things. Almost oxymoronic, in a way. Sort of like how we love the way the Crain family described Advertising Age magazine as a publication for marketers, not advertising agencies, despite the name on the masthead. (We also love the balls-y way founder G.D. Crain launched Ad Age in 1930, barely two months after the stock market crash and the onset of the Great Depression. But that’s a whole other story.) Let it be known upfront that this is not a dissertation on why public relations is better than advertising. Again, it’s two different things and you simply don’t compare apples and oranges. Rather, it’s more explanatory on how each functions in its own way. Advertising is the art of creating a message for a product and then promoting that product through paid media. Some of the most brilliant work in radio, television, print and now digital platforms have come in 30-second and 60-second spots. Think Just Do It, Have A Coke And A Smile, Whassup! and more – pop culture sensations that captured the public’s imagination with paid placements. Public relations is building connections and relationships while working in concert with the media to shape opinion on brand identity, reputation and image – without paid placement. Truly, it’s an art form.

There’s a misconception to PR. People think we replace the greeting “Dear (fill in the blank),” and then copy and paste a form letter to email, or a press release, or a review. Yes, it’s done in the industry. It’s done by the laziest village idiots who have no sense of personal obligation to a client.

This is a business built heavily on relationships on two fronts. It’s about immersing yourself into your client, gathering even what seems like the most innocuous information, understanding their business to the point where you could step in and run the show yourself, and realizing how powerful it is to have credibility with the public and consumers. And then you take it to the next front, while forging relationships with another powerful entity – the media. And, sorry, but we’re not big believes in the old adage of ‘any publicity is good publicity.’ Not in this day and age. Advertising, as great as it is, can’t buy you out of a crisis. But a good PR firm can help you minimize the damage. To see how well Media Maison delves into your business and brand, contact our CEO, Samantha Martin at Call, email, G-chat, send smoke signals if you have to. A chat with Sam will be enlightening.

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