Many people are confused about the differences between branding, advertising, promotions, and public relations. In fact, the actual process of “marketing” is misunderstood in the same way. To give you a basic understanding, marketing is not a one-time event or activity, it is a process, a combination of things coming together. By definition, Marketing is the act of mixing product, price, place and promotion. But first, let’s…
A great brand example is Apple. iMac, iPod, iTouch, iPhone, iTunes. Do you get the point? Apple has created a massive brand strategy using the “i” element. Think of the Ritz-Carlton, LifeTime Family Fitness, Hilton Hotels, and what do you see? First-class service, luxury amenities, excellent service? Now how about Best Western, 24 hour gym, Motel 6? What kind of “Brand” is each of those? Can you see the contrast? What is the brand of your company? Are you sure? If you think you’re a high-end facility, do you show it? Would you see the receptionist at the Ritz-Carlton wearing a button promoting the frequent guest club? Would you see a front desk clerk at a Motel 6 in a $1000 suit? Is everything he does, says, prints, writes and provides consistent with your brand message? If not, you may want to consider who your true target audience is and work to ensure that you continue to provide services that relate directly to them.
Advertising is the actual process of displaying your message. Radio advertising… TV advertising… The only act of making something happen. Unite your advertising and your brand, you have the marketing process. If you are just “advertising” with no direction, no goal, no drive, then you are just a lost puppy wandering aimlessly waiting for someone to give you a good home.
A promotion is usually a one-time event for a specific purpose or goal. While marketing is ongoing, a promotion can be a one-day, one-week, one-month, or even one-hour event. In retail, a “SALE” is usually a promotion. Car dealers offering zero percent interest is a limited-time promotion. They usually have a specific start and end date, and have a very clear understanding of the ROI (return on investment) that any particular promotion must achieve in order to be successful.
Public relations, or Public Relations, generally revolves around unpaid news sources and focuses on their business as it relates to the community. If you see a positive, or hopefully positive, story in the news or an article in the newspaper, this is the kind of press a PR firm can help you get. They have strong relationships with the media and often provide them with stories about their clients, hoping for a free press. You too can harness the power of free press and public relations, though sometimes it can be difficult to get noticed, which is the PR firm’s forte.
Marketing is the process that drives all of the above elements. Drives the feel, image, and tone of advertising, promotions, and public relations. For each of these items, there are experts in each of these fields. You can hire one company just to handle your branding and another to handle your advertising, marketing and yet another for your PR. Of course, as a small business owner, you may not always have the budget for such ventures. You can learn how to achieve the same results at http://TheMarketingWire.com and get the latest marketing news, education, and resources to help build and grow your business.