Advertising is one of the aspects of Mass Communication. An advertisement is paid for by an identified sponsor and
is expected to appear at a particular time exactly as presented to the media house. The advertiser has greater and total control
on the contents of the message for use in the media.
Over the years,
there is the misconception that advertising is the same as public relations practice. This is far from the truth. While public
relations employs all rightful channels to keep the public adequately and truthfully informed, so as to maintain goodwill
and beneficial relationship between the organisation and its publics, advertising is a process of buying media space and time
to persuade the public to accept its products and services’ view points. Advertising is direct and involves identified
praise-singer who always blows his trumpet and credits himself as the best. How the public perceives it may not be necessary
as it tries to assert its relevance among the gullible public. Take the examples of all those adverts on cigarette smoking,
alcoholic drinks and nude fashion, which are not only immoral, but dangerous to health, as well as a naked abuse of morality
is primarily concerned with creating awareness for products and services, while public relations attends to behavioural changes,
societal attitudes towards such products and services, building prolonged and honest relationship between the organisations
and their target audience.
It is widely
known, especially in Nigeria, that most organisations prefer to have a special section for public relations
to that of advertising. In fact, it is sometimes argued that advertising is a
part of public relations functions and never the reverse.
In view of
the sophistication of the mass media with their occasional biased editorial judgments in treating press releases and coverage
of activities, PR activities may some times pay for the timely publication of unbiased reports by employing advertising techniques.
Some unethical advertising messages are exaggerated, while some are hardly believable. But public relations is truthful and
Advertising public relations, which is the combination of the two at achieving the desired goal of the organisation,
is useful in publishing institutional announcements, supplements, rebuttal/rejoinder, corporate profile, financial
statements, goodwill and seasonal messages. The message to be passed across is processed from
the public relations perspective, while the method of delivery takes the form of advertising for the costing and timing. Public
relations has a continuous responsibility in an organisation in advisorial roles and at monitoring trends, events and react
to them. Advertising is costly and only applicable occasionally. All said, in recent times, a new concept is introduced in
the communication process known as integrated marketing communication, which, like a tripod, encompasses the three professions
of public relations, marketing and advertising.
INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS
The major concept and activities of public relations as defined by professional groups and individuals are, counseling
based on understanding of human behaviour and characteristics, by foreseeing future trends and predicting their consequences.
It involves researching into public opinion, attitude and expectations and advising on truth and full information. It is also
aimed at preventing conflicts, misunderstandings and promoting mutual respect and social responsibilities, with the desire
to harmonise the private and the public interests. In addition, it promotes goodwill with staff, suppliers, customers and
the general public.
From the above,
it is clear that PR covers all aspects of communications. But in recent times there is also this new concept popularly known
as integrated marketing communications. The integration being employed by corporate organisations and communications consultants
is to have a one-way approach to facilitate effective communications. But this involves the techniques of marketing, advertising,
sales, promotion, media relations and their packaging.
As a management function, a public relations department is always located at the corporate headquarters and its staff
are occupied with various publics, including stockholders, employees, government agencies, community leaders and the media
on whom its success or failure depends.
departments, like marketing, on the other hand, can be sited at the headquarters of the organisation with other units at the
company’s branch offices. Its officers are fully engaged with retailers, wholesalers, industries and prospective customers
at major marketing events such as trade fairs and exhibitions.
Based on their
interwoven relationship in performance of duties, public relations and other related professions could complement the efforts
of each other in product publicity, which involves various efforts to publicise specific products in corporate communications
(internal and external communications) for the purpose of promoting understanding of the organisation.
As the advertiser uses the instrument of financial power to say and get his messages across, so also the
propagandist employs the instrument of state, political might to hoodwink the target audience in wrongly believing and accepting
whatever is dished out from the powers-that-be. Propaganda is the propagation of indefensible action through falsehoods and
tricks with the sole aim of influencing the target audience to pursue a predetermined line of action. This type of communication
is used by bad governments and exploitative organisations who, for selfish reasons, fail to address the real issues at stake.
To a large
extent, public relations practice, like journalism, believes strongly in fairness, objectivity and style. Even though many
journalists have found a place in the public relations environment, their experiences cannot be an automatic licence into
the image-making field, if they fail to adhere to those basic principles underlying the practice. The best a journalist can
do in an organisation with his background knowledge is in media relations and issuing of press releases, which are just few
of the functions of Public Relations.
public is becoming more knowledgeable, wise and sometime aggressive on products and services, public relations supports the
activities of other related professions. It creates goodwill among the public by creating awareness, maintaining credibility,
minimising competition and correcting wrong impressions about products and services. In general, PR comes in different stages
of product tests, launch and trade fair, among others.
that products speak for themselves is untenable in the modern society; public relations provide effective communication for
the enlightened environment for sales to take place. Enquiries and information boxes are provided by serious PR units to respond
promptly and adequately to public complaints on sales activities. As it supports marketing and sales, so also it assists greatly
in scripting for adverts, which may be inevitable in special project adverts like supplements, corporate profiles, public
announcements, annual statement of accounts and rejoinders, which are all within the ambit of public relations.
From the foregoing,
therefore, public relations involves awareness campaigns and promotional activities, which include events sponsorship, social
responsibility, facility visits, community relations, spokesperson, publication of in-house journals and presentation of corporate
gifts and lobbying with reason (Government Relations), as well as placing institutional and corporate advertising for some
obvious reasons in the media.
In a nutshell,
PR is the protector of the entire organisation and what it stands for. It plans all its activities at promoting, protecting
and projecting a good image for the organisation, its personalities and services through the establishment, continuous maintenance
and sustenance of mutual and beneficial relationship with its various publics.