Branding and Public Relations
It’s not always easy for smaller businesses to tell the difference between public relations efforts and branding, because both of these tools are used to accomplish a company’s goals. Additionally, both of the tools tend to share a lot of foundational elements, such as research, writing, communication, psychology, and utilizing social and traditional media platforms. However, businesses have to understand the different uses between the two, and the limitations and strengths of each, so that they don’t end up wasting their time and resources pursuing the wrong one.
One of the first steps in figuring out the difference between branding and public relations is figuring out the end goals of each one. Essentially, public relations is all about managing a company’s relationships. Meanwhile, branding is focused on creating an identity for a business. In other words, public relations is what helps a company and its audiences create and manage a strong and trusting relationship. Those audiences include anyone from consumers to stakeholders, employees, investors, and government officials. On the other hand, branding is all about creating an identity for a business or its products by showing consumers a certain lifestyle or brand personality.
Developing a company’s brand always comes before any sort of public relations efforts from the same company, as well as before marketing and advertising efforts. If a business doesn’t have a well-defined identity from the start, all of its communications and public relations efforts are going to go to waste.
Although both branding and public relations tend to deal with a company’s reputation, PR companies can protect and defend themselves during times of public crisis. Crisis communications is a subset of public relations which is designed to research, predict, and mitigate any negative situations a company might be facing that will disrupt its normal business operations. Those situations can include anything from negative online rumors to accidents and lawsuits. Public relations professionals work for client companiesto protect their branding and to maintain their positive relationships and reputations among consumers .
Branding and public relations have different focuses. For example, public relations tends to focus on the relationships a company has with its investors, employees, government officials, and the media. On the other hand, the focus of branding is on brand imagery, the name of a brand, any brand extensions, and generic or family branding. At the core, branding is all about promoting a company itself, and its products or services, mainly in order to appeal to a target audience . Meanwhile, through public relations, companies can establish and develop better relationships with everyone else that’s involved in a business that’s outside of the target audience.
Finally, while some might think that branding isn’t that important or relevant in the grand scheme of a company’s promotional efforts, that’s not quite the case. Effective branding can be utilized to benefit businesses and set them apart from their market competitors, whether it’s a small local store or a giant corporation.