Public product publicity, product placement and the Internet

Public relations helps companies build more personal relationships with their customers using advertising messages as their foundation. Watch this video to see how public relations creates positive images for companies and products.

Public Relations and Advertising

Of the four Ps of marketing – product, price, promotion and place – several activities make up the promotion P of the marketing mix: advertising, sales promotion, personal selling and public relations. Of these activities, advertising and public relations make up a significant part of the promotional marketing efforts.Advertising is an impersonal mass communication about a product or service paid for by the marketer. Public relations is the element in the promotional mix that evaluates public attitudes, identifies issues that may elicit public concern and executes programs and acceptance.

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While advertising is a one-way, impersonal message paid for by a marketer, public relations focuses more on feedback and the public response.Here’s an example to understand the difference between advertising and public relations. Advertising is a lot like taking a huge, 600-student Intro to Economics course your freshman year of college. You sit and listen to the professor, take notes and try to absorb the information, but the chances of him or her noticing when you don’t understand something or stopping to answer a question from the back row are pretty slim.

Advertising is one-way communication with consumers while PR is more interactive.
product placement and the Internet and social media. Be sure to check out the next lesson on reasons companies use public relations to see these functions in action.

All of these functions have the goal of getting the company’s name out to the public while generating as much goodwill, or positive feelings about the company or product, as possible. This goodwill is most often created by developing a more personal and positive relationship with customers or potential customers by measuring the public’s response to the company or product, responding to any negative issues that arise and maintaining a positive presence that reinforces advertising messages.

Example of Public Relations

Sometimes companies encounter crisis situations, or negative issues that can cast a bad light on their brand or product.

When this happens, public relations can either make or break a company’s reputation.One example of a company using public relations to save the day is Johnson ; Johnson and the 1982 Tylenol crisis. In September of 1982, seven people died after taking Extra Strength Tylenol that had been laced with cyanide. Johnson ; Johnson immediately sprang into action, taking full responsibility for the issue even though they were soon cleared of any involvement with the tampering. As they sorted out the problem, they diligently worked to keep the public informed.Up to this point, it was almost unheard of for a company to announce a recall, but immediately upon discovering the connection between their product and the deaths, 31 million bottles of Tylenol were recalled or pulled from the shelves and customers were offered replacements free of charge.

The company promptly pulled all advertising for Tylenol and began a packaging redesign that would prevent this type of problem from ever happening again. All told, the recall and relaunch cost Johnson ; Johnson over $100 million.Because of the company’s prompt, honest response and compassion for its customers, Johnson & Johnson’s reputation made it through the crisis unscathed.

In fact, for decades it’s been lauded for its handling of the situation and their ability to generate goodwill in such a dire situation, enhancing the company’s overall image.

Lesson Summary

To wrap up, public relations is the element of the promotional mix that evaluates public attitudes, identifies issues that may elicit public concern and executes programs and acceptance. It differs from advertising in that it’s more of a personal, two-way relationship than advertising.

The main goal of public relations is to create a positive image of a company or product. Sometimes this positive image is created in the midst of a crisis. If a company is able to use public relations to effectively respond to a negative situation, the company can often gain notoriety and respect from its customers and even attract new ones based on its positive response.

Learning Outcomes

Following this video, you will be able to:

  • Differentiate between advertising and public relations
  • Explain the goal of public relations and the effects of having good public relations

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