Public Relations is an imperative part of the marketing mix, and as a public relations graduate and professional, I believe that PR can be a company’s best marketing tool.
PR Changes Consumer Minds
A great public relations plan can change a consumers mind about a company on a more fundamental level than an advertising campaign can. For example, a great advertising campaign can certainly get consumers to say things like, “I love that company, their commercials are so funny.” However, that will only get a company so far. A great PR campaign can change the consumer’s minds and get them thinking about what a company stands for and believes in. This builds consumer trust and loyalty.
An infographic available on Mashable shows that only 3% of surveyed respondents believe claims made in advertising are very accurate. I think we can all agree that three percent is a very small percentage. Advertising is seen by consumers as a way to grab attention and beat out the competition, but not as a credible source of information. Public relations offers consumers the exact opposite. PR is a very credible tool in your marketing mix. PR is strongly based on ethics and visibility, allowing consumers to see into a company, into their products and services without any tricks or gimmicks.
“Study after study has shown that when it comes to tailored messaging, effective PR consistently promotes the endorsement of facts above and beyond traditional ads” – Advertising vs. Public Relations—the Credibility Gap
It Can Be Inexpensive
Another major aspect of PR is that it is of very low cost. The elements of public relations like press releases and conferences are commonly of no cost to the company. Press releases printed in papers are not paid for like an advertisement would be. Public relations activities can have a positive impact on a company’s bottom line and most of these tasks can be produced at a low cost which is beneficial for all parties involved.
“Even if you don’t have a big marketing or public relations budget, you can still raise your organization’s profile and build a strong brand among customers, members, potential members, the news media, and other opinion leaders if you use a few proven—and inexpensive—PR tactics to raise your visibility.” – Use Smart but Inexpensive Public Relations Tactics
And Most Importantly, It’s Honest
Public relations offers consumers an honest approach to a company. A good PR campaign will provided complete transparency into their product or service. It will address not only advantages, but disadvantages as well and how they are overcome. It won’t hide anything from consumers and instead addresses issues head on. According to the 2010 Edelman Trust Barometer study, US consumers consider transparent and honest practices and trustworthiness as the most important factors for a company’s reputation.
When asked to rank 10 factors in a company’s reputation, 83% of U.S. consumers said that both transparent and honest practices and a company being a “company I can trust” are extremely important. – Honesty is the Best Corporate Policy.
Public relations is your best marketing tool because it offers the most to your company and consumers. It boasts ethical best practices and can easily show results in ways like increased brand recognition, consumer engagement, as well as an increased bottom line. PR can enhance and assist any other tool in the marketing mix, or hold its own with a PR campaign. The four public relations elements listed above, changing consumer minds, being credible and inexpensive as well as honest are all reasons, along with many others, why PR is the best tool in your marketing mix.