Public Relations (PR)
Public relations as part of the marketing communications mix
Product placement in media.
This is an interesting and original use of PR. There are very many examples in movies and TV programmes that ‘place’ products.
Media conferences are called often at short notice to inform the media directly on a current event that has just happened, or that is about to happen. Media contact includes interviews with key personnel, and could include speeches, presentations and speech writing by the PR company. Finally entertaining the press, or media, is undertaken when trying to gain as much media space as possible. This could be for a product launch or to promote an acquisition.
Advertorials in newspapers, magazines or on websites.
Advertorials are paid for advertisements that are designed to appear like copy (i.e. normal reported text). Many countries insist that advertorials do contain a line of text to explain that they are sponsored or placed by an advertiser. Advertorials are often used to imply that some ground breaking treatment or solution has been uncovered.
Corporate promotional materials, websites, in-house magazines and customer magazines.
The market for promotional materials is large. Promotional materials include items such as pens, balloons, mouse mats, and so on. They tend to carry a company’s logo and contact details, and are another way to promote goodwill between and organisation and its publics. Websites are a vital marketing communications and public relations tool that can convey information to publics on how to contact an organisation, key personnel, products and services, corporate history, and financial reports, as well as any other targeted and planned information.
In-house magazines are used for internal marketing, communication and change management from within the organisation. In-house magazines are targeted at internal publics. Conversely, customer magazines help organisations to communicate with external publics (mainly customers) on all sorts of topics such as good news stories, product launches, customer clubs and many other subjects.
For example, a car manufacturer places a car in a movie and the hero drives it, or wears a watch that is looked at by the villain displaying the time, underscored by the manufacturer’s logo. Today, computer games include banners and posters during game-play as the action unfolds. Examples of product placement in games would include field sports with adverts placed alongside a pitch, or car racing games where you pass billboards displayed in a city.
Lobbying government bodies.
Lobbying is named after the ‘lobby’ area of the British Houses of Parliament where traditionally ‘lobbying’ would have occurred. Lobby in the past would have meant catching the eye of a Member of Parliament, in order to persuade him or her to take up a particular cause or argument. Today, lobbying firms are hired by organisations or individuals with a specific cause to promote. For example, a charity could lobby for a change in laws regarding pharmaceuticals or armaments. The charity would hire a lobbying firm to promote their cause with elected politicians.
Press or media releases, conferences, contact and entertainment.
Press or media releases, conferences, contact and entertainment are pivotal Public Relations strategies. In the past, the press were the original target (e.g. newspapers and magazines) but today the whole media industry forms the target (i.e. radio, websites, TV, New Media and so on). Media releases are drafted by a PR company, for example, to report financial information prior to the release of company reports.