PR and marketing are often lumped together — funded by the same corporate budget, mentioned in the same breath at meetings. While these two departments share a common goal of promotion, there is a distinct and important difference: Marketing raises awareness of a product and PR focuses on upholding a positive image of the company as a whole.
While there is some overlap, it is crucial that companies approach PR and marketing as different, complementary functions and prioritize both. Learn how PR and marketing work together to help corporations achieve key goals.
PR and Marketing Work Together To:
Appeal to the Modern Consumer
The concept of loving a product but hating the company behind it is quickly becoming obsolete. As evidenced by the surge in lab-grown diamond sales and the rise of the circular economy, consumers are growing more aware of and concerned with product provenance and business ethics. Younger generations are most likely to express their opinions using their wallet. An Accenture study found six in ten young consumers (under age 30) closely consider a company’s ethical values and authenticity before buying its products.
The rise of the conscious consumer demands PR and marketing work closely to ensure that the products being advertised are sourced and developed in a way that matches brand reputation. PR and marketing professionals know the power of words and should make sure messaging across the organization takes consumer values into account. The use of buzzwords like “sustainability” in press releases (PR’s domain) and social media posts (marketing collateral) alike must be supported by company ethos and actions.
Attract and Retain Employees
PR and marketing can collaborate to highlight a company’s values to consumers as well as staff. The COVID-19 pandemic catalyzed workforce shifts that provide insights into employee priorities and motivations. Misalignment with company values was a top reason millions of workers left jobs. Mismatched values might not be a dealbreaker for every employee, but the majority see it as a downside. According to a PWC study, 86% of employees prefer to support or work for organizations that care about the same issues they do.
When planning product launches and public statements, PR and marketing professionals should consider whether branding aligns with employee experience. For example, a company would not want to tout a commitment to the environment, only to be exposed for not having a recycling bin in the office kitchen by an employee on Twitter. This kind of faux pas might deter prospective employees from applying for a job at the company. PR and marketing also play a role in internal communications. PR and marketing professionals can align with HR to highlight upskilling initiatives, raise awareness of employee perks and benefits packages and otherwise bolster company culture, which is closely related to employee churn. A Columbia University study found companies with a strong culture to have a mere 13.9 percent likelihood of employee turnover. Organizations that did not prioritize developing a strong company culture were found to have a 48.4 percent probability of employee turnover.
Navigate the Shifting Media Landscape
The current climate has enabled the rise of the brand community — a group of customers that identifies with and supports a brand for reasons that go beyond products sold. Organizations that effectively navigate today’s media have a leg up when it comes to building a brand community. PR and marketing teams can help brands share consistent and accurate messaging across an ever-expanding and increasingly complex media landscape.
From corporate social media accounts to leadership podcast appearances to bylines, today’s media landscape offers brands myriad ways to connect with consumers and craft a persona in an authentic way. Organizations must select channels based on their business model (B2B or B2C?), brand persona, target demographic and budget. PR and marketing professionals can help perform the research, plan the strategies and manage the accounts and relationships that will resonate with target audiences and inspire them to engage with the brand.
Product quality, business ethics and brand image are intertwined. So is the value of PR and marketing. Both functions hold equal importance in companies keeping pace with shifts in consumer standards, employee values and media trends to achieve sustainable success.
By Alannah Dragonetti
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