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The Power of Combining Public Relations and Marketing

What’s the difference between marketing and public relations? The better question is: how do public relations and marketing complement each other to achieve business results, create thought leadership, and build Brand Protection™? This week we’re bringing in a special guest, Monarch Casino Resort Spa's Director of Marketing Erica Ferris, to talk through real-life examples of how powerful public relations and marketing can be when you weave them together.

  • First, you’ll learn how public relations and marketing work together.

  • Then, you’ll get strategies for turning marketing content into a public relations win.

  • Finally, you’ll deep dive into using public relations in creative ways to “market” to your various audiences.

What's the difference between public relations and marketing?

At M&C, we help clients build Brand Protection™ through integrated public relations-- that means working in concert with marketing, advertising, media buyers, sometimes sales teams, to advance our clients' goals. First things first, let's get into a few definitions.

According to the Public Relations Society of America:

“Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

We also like this definition by the wonderful PR blog and industry leader Spin Sucks in a post by Jessica Canfield:

PR reaches new audiences and builds company credibility through third-party validation. Content marketing keeps those audiences engaged with the brand through consistent content. PR can even use the content that marketing creates to assist in media outreach. Together, public relations and marketing departments can accomplish goals more effectively.

And now let’s look at marketing. Hubspot defines marketing as:

Marketing is the process of getting people interested in your company's product or service. This happens through market research, analysis, and understanding your ideal customer's interests.

OK, so you can clearly see the overlap here: public relations and marketing both are based on the idea that you need to identify your audience and meet their need for information. Public relations meets that need by helping to establish credibility, building and protecting your reputation, and strategizing how or what a company might do, say, or be involved in will resonate with target audiences. Marketing identified segments of an audience that may be interested in purchasing your product or service. What we’re going to walk through today is public relations and marketing are best when they work in tandem with each other.

Complete the Brand Protection™ puzzle by bringing public relations and marketing together

The greatest success comes from putting all the pieces of the puzzle together. We've worked with clients to turn their marketing projects into earned media. For instance, community event sponsorships that feature an interesting angle can be pitched to local media. Let's look at the example of Monarch Casino Resort Spa, whose logo is a gorgeous Monarch butterfly.

A marketing event where the casino sponsored a pop-up interactive butterfly exhibit at the local baseball game marketed directly to potential casino guests. But it also became a great opportunity to feature the butterfly expert on local morning television that only tangentially mentioned the client.

Here's why that worked: the non-profit butterfly conservation group provided material that was visual and engaging, and had a butterfly expert available to do a mini pop-up event ahead of the baseball game on morning television. The television station was happy to feature the beautiful butterflies and the chatty expert and mention that the event was sponsored by Monarch Casino Resort Spa. That's it-- one tiny mention. But that mention put the client's name in front of a wide audience without specifically marketing to them and built credibility as a community supporter engaged in fun community events. It was a public relations and marketing win-win that adds to Monarch Casino's Brand Protection™.

Using public relations in creative ways to “market” to your various audiences

When you understand exactly who your audience is and build authentic relationships with them or the conduits to your audience, you can really harness the power of public relations to market your goals. Part of our public relations work is helping clients identify and create messaging that resonates with multiple audiences.

A great example of this is Monarch Casino's work to keep internal audiences in the loop using a members-only Facebook page. On this page, Monarch shares messaging about free, company-sponsored flu shots, and even uploaded a few videos of the management team getting their flu shots to encourage the entire company to take advantage of the benefit. The flu shots are a wonderful example of Monarch's culture of caring and wellness for its employees.

The ultimate goal of combining public relations and marketing is to fill the trust bucket and create durable Brand Protection™. This means Monarch Casino has a deep reservoir of trust and goodwill to draw on in case of an issue. In a world where we know that people like to do business with people they know, like, and trust, building Brand Protection™ should be a critical component of any PR or marketing plan you create.

Here's the free, downloadable 1-sheet for this week's conversation: the Audience Analyzer. Fill it out to get a better read on your audience, what media they consume, where they spend time online, and what types of information they're interested in from your business.

Audience Analyzer
Download PDF • 82KB

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