Between Advertising and Public Relations, which is a better promotional tool?

In the world of business, competition is inevitable. Too many businesses offer the same products or services and still want to stand out. Old businesses would have to remind their clients of their existence from time to time and if a new product has just been introduced into an industry, serious work needs to be done; the business world is already saturated yet more are still coming. Businesses have subscribed to promotional programmes; started  many years ago and it has been working out plans so far in the businesses world.


Business promotional tools (advertising and public relations) have the primary aim of inspiring brand loyalty among clients or prospective clients; but they go about reaching this aim via different routes. Advertising is a radical means of promoting a product or service on billboards, radio, TV commercials, social media and all, with the promise of a unique offering which other similar products or services may not have. Public relations on the other hand is very subtle; it aims at establishing a relationship between clients and businesses through impactful community development strategies.

See project topics and research materials in PR and Advertising for more

Answering the question…      

When a bank, say GTbank erects a building for a university and calls it ‘GtB building’, that is public relations. But if Gtbank comes to your community with their campaign, announcing their new offering and share flyers, that’s advertising. But amongst the two, which is more lasting and impactful? I guess you would say PR.

Many would prefer PR as a cool marketing tool for their businesses but it takes time to build; it’s about building trust and brand loyalty. Initially, it seemed like PR was so expensive to afford for a long run but not anymore, not when businesses can leverage their online platforms to reach out to their clients.

Here are simple ways to build trust and brand loyalty using PR

If your business can’t afford to build schools, houses, lecture halls, bore holes, electricity for a community, am sure you will find these other options less expensive;

  • Offer free advice on effective product use

  • Organize a meetup under your business’ umbrella and let your clients showcase their businesses too

  • Do a free biz from time to time

  • Sponsor events that you can afford

  • Share branded materials, books, umbrella, t-shirts etc to people with your business name.

Advertising on the other hand has become controversial, especially radical ones. Critics say they tend to incite the ‘Oliver twist syndrome’ in consumers, leading to unprecedented spending. Yet it is a quick tool to make clients aware of products’ existence and ofcourse make sales. Advertising uses the following strategies to call your attention and interest;

  • Story telling

  • Pictures, images, animation

  • Music and sounds to create a mental picture in the mind of their clients.

The fact is this;

If you want to build your brand, insist on public relations and if you want to sell, go for advertising. If you want to make sells and build your brand, I guess you know the answer already.

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