Separate, NOT Equal…Advertising, Marketing, PR and Social Media Agencies

14 Dec Separate, NOT Equal…Advertising, Marketing, PR and Social Media Agencies

LT Public Relations often comes across some very talented advertising, marketing, branding and social media agencies. Most have exemplified how truly remarkable and valuable they are to the clients and markets they serve by being innovative, powerful and effective in broadcasting messages.

Our biggest (and maybe only) beef with these respective agencies is that some claim to offer public relations services.  Although we appreciate that they may have some PR skills and services, we feel the discipline of public relations should be separate from our agency cousins.


By nature, advertising, social media and branding agencies are predominately in the business of extolling their clients products and services through more “marketing” messaging and methods–with the intent to capture attention.  Although genuine, this approach is more of a direct sell to the target audience and lacks credibility–as the message is from the perspective and voice of the company (not the target audience).

Public relations, on the other hand, is a business story-telling and perception management discipline that attempts to attract outside-the-company influencers (e.g. public, media, government, constituents, etc.) to tell the story of the company.  PR messaging in much more informativefactual and less-marketing than advertising, branding, and the like, and adds a layer of credibility since the third-party advocates are spreading the word (i.e. word of mouth).

As it wouldn’t make sense for a public relations firm to develop and disseminate advertising campaigns, the same is true for related marketing agencies to not perform PR services. If an advertising agency performed the public relations function, the message would likely come-out disingenuous and inappropriate.

Final thought…Although PR and its related agencies should work together to ensure a united message is told for a company, the disciplines should be completely divided to ensure authenticity in messaging and intent.

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