What’s the difference between PR vs publicity? At first glance, they look the same. Publicity is a specific tactic to attract media coverage, it might be good or bad coverage. Public relations is a holistic brand-building, loyalty building and trust-building strategy that includes positive media coverage.
Should you choose publicity or PR?
Most brands do not subscribe to the “all media coverage is good media coverage” philosophy and want ONLY positive media coverage, which is why most brands choose PR. PR refers to the deliberate efforts that organizations make to build and maintain positive relationships with the public. Public relations will create a path toward media coverage including key messaging, brand positioning, making the news, jumping in on breaking news, and strategizing positive company announcements. A PR strategy may also include a crisis communication plan which is important for any consumer brand, but especially DTC or CPG brands. PR is an investment in your brand’s reputation. If your business goal is to be the #1 brand against your competitors or to secure investment that launches you into hypergrowth, then you’ll definitely want to choose PR.
Publicity is a narrowly focused goal, any form of media coverage or exposure for an organization or individual. And it might be OK for a brand that just wants to get into gift guides, for example. That would be an example of publicity without the added benefit of public relations. If your key messages are solid, and you don’t need any additional help building the brand’s trust or loyalty, or your long-term reputation isn’t important, then publicity may be an option for you.
Long Term or Short Term Media Coverage?
Publicity is great for a blast of short-term coverage. Something consistent with a calendar event, or a word-of-mouth campaign with a celebrity for a product launch. Publicity is also great if your brand is willing to do “anything” for media coverage. Stunts in Times Square or the Santa Monica pier often get coverage simply because of the location and the unexpected commotion. That’s publicity. Another example of publicity is an April Fools stunt.
If you’re looking for consistent press coverage regardless of whether you have a product launch or an activation, then you definitely want PR. PR will enable your brand to build trust with your audience, while also building loyalty with your existing customers.
Rinse & Repeat or Bespoke?
Publicity tactics are very similar to one another. Your publicity in gift guides, for example, will also share coverage with other products and possibly even competitors. Think of a publicity campaign as a short-term boost to secure coverage, regardless of quality. If you simply need additional exposure for a specific period of time in order to get noticed by potential customers or clients, then publicity may be a cost-effective solution.
In contrast, public relations will develop custom strategies to build and manage your reputation, reach key audiences and achieve your business objectives through strategic messaging and tailored PR campaigns. With the right PR firm on your side, you can effectively reach your target audiences, build positive relationships with key stakeholders, and stand out from the crowd in today’s competitive marketplace.
Many people think public relations (PR) and publicity are synonymous, but there is actually a clear distinction between the two terms. If you’re interested in discussing the difference with Avaans, please contact us, we will help you decide based on your business goals and budget, which type of media coverage is best for you.