When an outside source lends you or your company credibility, you have received a third-party endorsement. It could be inclusion in a magazine list of the best local banks for service. It could be an article you wrote, under your own byline, that appears in a trade magazine or local newspaper, thereby establishing your expertise on the subject matter. It could be a quotation attributed to you by a reporter who interviewed you as a source for a story. It might be a presentation you make at a professional conference. By selecting you as a speaker, the organization is, in effect, acknowledging your skills and abilities. It is the third-party, presumably objective, nature of this endorsement that brings you and your organization believability. Consider the difference in impact between announcing something yourself and having a third party say the same thing about you. When you tell people “I just received a major industry award,” or “the company just landed a major client,” whether in person or through advertising, it is perceived as puffery. When someone else says or writes something about the same event, it has far more credibility.
PR is not better than advertising—it’s different (see table below). One key difference is that you cannot control what is written or broadcast about you or your company. An editor may reject your press release as too self-serving or lacking in interest to readers, members, or viewers. Conversely, the story idea you pitch may turn out to be of tremendous interest to a reporter, but you may see little, if anything, about your company in the finished piece. Getting positive press is the most effective way to create favorable public opinion. By directing your message to the audiences you want to reach, your goals are to generate positive feelings toward your firm, differentiate the company from its competitors, and help position the company in the marketplace.
Advertising versus Public Relations
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