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What Does Your Brand Need: PR, Marketing, or Branding?

At Dreamweaver Brand Communications, we offer public relations, marketing,
and branding to our clients, but often we find our clients believe they need one type of service when what they need is another. To that end, what is the difference and when should a company use each as a strategy.

In our experience, your business probably needs an integrated PR, marketing, branding, and a communications plan and campaign for each of those, but we breaking each one down can help you prioritize what your business needs.

What Is the Difference Between PR, Marketing, or Branding?

Public Relations: Influence and Social Proof
PR is the art of influencing the media and public awareness and perception of your brand and increasing awareness. It is the ultimate in social proof.

Under the public relations umbrella, we find tactics that include:
  • Event Marketing & PR: brand-hosted events for customers, potential customers, and the greater community
  • Word of Mouth: PR campaigns that get people engaged and talking about your brand, products, and key messages in a positive way
  • Media Relations: Building relationships and collaborating with influential journalists, bloggers, and through leaders that cover your industry
  • Social Media: Integrating your brand’s PR campaign with your social media marketing with an emphasis and focus on point messaging to influence the marketing and get people engage with your brand

In public relations you may not get complete editorial control unless you are working with an experienced PR & Marketing agency, so you cannot always count on a strong call to action. However, an expert PR and marketing agency will always push for a product recommendation or a special feature, and they will always push for a backlink to your website if it is a digital press hit. Digital public relations campaigns can improve your site’s SEO when executed by an expert. While there are a variety of media placements, such as earned, owned, and paid media, the best PR is an earned press placement. In other words, the placement was not purchased and it did not come with a quid-pro-quo caveat. Earned media is what makes PR special and gives earned PR increased credibility over marketing.

Marketing: Driving Lead Generation
Lead generation is the top job for marketing. Also, depending on your product marketing strategy, lead conversion is close behind lead generation.  

Under the marketing umbrella, we find top-of-the-funnel tactics including:
DIGITAL MARKETING
  • Content Marketing: blogging or other lead magnets designed to support the customer at each stage of the buying cycle
  • Content: White Papers, Infographics, Webinars, YouTube Videos, and Podcasts
  • Social Media Marketing: image dominated, with custom content components and strong calls to action to capture leads
  • Digital Advertising: Social media advertising with a strong call to action for new customer acquisition, strategic social media marketing campaigns and promotions based on buyer personas, PPC, and display advertising
  • Email Marketing: New product announcements, shopping cart abandonments, segmented customer campaigns, and promotions
  • Remarketing: including shopping cart abandonment and Google remarketing through AdWords based on set criteria
EVENT MARKETING
  • Influencer Appearances
  • Pop-Up Shops
  • Seminars
  • Tradeshows 
  • Meet & Greets
TRADITIONAL MARKETING:
  • Print: Advertisements in newspapers, magazines, brochures and other pieces of printed collateral for distribution
  • Broadcast: Radio commercials and television commercials
  • Direct Mail: Postcards, catalogs, brochures and flyers that are mailed to current customers or prospects through targeted direct mail campaign
  • Telemarketing: Cold calling prospects over the phone

When to Deploy Marketing Tactics:
It is best to use marketing when your sales team are trained and not only ready to follow up with the lead but more importantly enter the information in your CRM. Training your sales team to understand the lead source, their preferred method of contact, the importance of tracking every customer touch point in the CRM and determining where the customer is in the decision making funnel will increase conversation rates.

Branding: Building Loyalty and Affinity
Many individuals believe that creating a slick logo is the extent of branding; however, nothing is further than the truth. Your brand is your company’s soul and personality. Branding is the tool that drives an emotional response from your audience. Branding means having a solid and strong understanding of your audience-base, segmented buyer personas, and their emotional triggers to your brand messaging and brand. Strategic branding will touch every marketing and PR campaign too. Don’t forget your brand’s social media voice – is it information based and dry or sassy. That is a branding decision.

A strong, well-positioned brand speaks with a clear voice but also connects their customers with messaging and content they can identify with.

Eventually, with consistent branding and brand messaging, your brand organically fits into the customer’s self-story increasing brand loyalty and affinity. For example, these two iconic brands have simple brand identities that seldom change: Apple (innovation) and Coca-Cola (happiness). At the core of the strongest brands biggest decisions their marketing, PR, branding and executive leadership team are asking two questions: first, does this decision impact our customer affinity and brand loyalty and second, does this decision impact our customers' expectations of us as a brand.

The secret key to a branding initiative is to ensure your company has total clarity and understanding of the audience, the different buyer personas, key messaging and the desired emotional connection. While different branding initiatives can include a call to action, but importantly must elicit an emotional reaction, response, and subsequent reaction. These tools while support a brand initiative if you keep the before mentioned in mind.

  • Website: Emphasis on design and layout of core website pages and landing pages that match the desired emotional response and call to action
  • Content: Whether this is a company blog or a paid media placement, it must be designed and executed to enhance the brand’s emotional connection with the customer and elevate the brand in the consumer’s mind
  • Advertising: Focus on “WHY” the brand is relevant not the “where or how.”
  • Events: Design events that imprint an emotional connection and a memorable experience or, attach the brand with an influencer and a memorable experience not just a “lead retrieval” event strategy.

It is important to note that one fundamental difference between marketing and branding content is the use of a call to action.

At Dreamweaver Brand Communications, we understand the nuances of integrated PR, marketing, and branding. When strategically executed, these different tactics can create an integrated campaign for maximum impact. While the mix of strategies and tactics deployed are determined by the brand’s maturity, current market conditions, and different buyer personas to name of a few of the elements taken into consideration when planning an integrated campaign.

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Published on June 21, 2017,  Modified on September 6, 2017

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