It has come to my attention that certain words have certain meanings.
I mention this because this information can be important – particularly when describing one’s profession. Say, for instance, that you practiced in one of the following fields:
- Public Relations
If you were asked to explain the difference between them all, could you do it? Go ahead. Think on it for 30 seconds…
How did you do? Did you come up with anything? Or did you quit after you envisioned a car commercial, your frazzled company marketing director, the White House Press Secretary, and your favorite cereal?
Differentiating between these terms is surprisingly difficult because all of these disciplines are very much connected in their intent – that being the communication of “ideas” from one entity or organization to another. Where they differ, however, is in the measurements of success.
Did the customer buy the product? Do more people know about our company this year versus last? Are we well-considered by the community? Does every aspect of our organization represent our company culture and value system?
As you can see, these questions are all somewhat related. But, the preferred answer to each can only be obtained in a particular manner, utilizing the tools of a particular discipline. The disciplines in question are, of course, Advertising, Marketing, Public Relations, and Branding.
And, in the spirit of meaningful words, the definitions of each discipline are as follows:
The activity of attracting public attention to a product or business, as by paid announcements in the print, broadcast, or electronic media. The business of designing and writing advertisements – (from Dictionary.com)
Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large – (from the American Marketing Association)
- Anticipating, analyzing and interpreting public opinion, attitudes, and issues that might impact, for good or ill, the operations and plans of the organization.
- Counseling management at all levels in the organization with regard to policy decisions,courses of action,and communication, taking into account their public ramifications and the organization’s social or citizenship responsibilities.
- Researching, conducting, and evaluating, on a continuing basis, programs of action and communication to achieve the informed public understanding necessary to the success of an organization’s aims. These may include marketing, financial, fund raising,employee,community or government relations, and other programs.
- Planning and implementing the organization’s efforts to influence or change public policy.
- Setting objectives, planning,budgeting, recruiting and training staff,developing facilities — in short,managing the resources needed to perform all of the above.
– (from the Public Relations Society of America)
Branding is how you go about establishing your brand’s differentiated meaning in people’s minds…Branding is about signals – the signals people use to determine what you stand for as a brand. Signals create associations. (from BrandSimple by Allen P. Adamson)
Public Relations Society of America
American Marketing Association
American Association of Advertising Agencies