Evolution of Advertising & Public Relations: PR's Winning

I was going over some old presentations that I’d saved in my “Research” folder, and came across a great diagram that Richard Edelman had used at one point.  It was meant to depict the evolution of PR in the Social Media era.

It got me to wondering about the other big recipients of marketing dollars: the advertising guys.  How are they evolving?  Here’s my take, which is a riff on Mr. Edelman’s original concept:

PR and Advertising Evolution

As you can see, PR is becoming increasingly interpersonal: there is a daily flow of interaction, responsiveness and adaptation going on amongst PR people and their ever-expanding publics.  Good PR pros are becoming increasingly open — clear and casual, responsive and transparent. 

Meanwhile, the advertising folks are coming to embrace more and more user-generated content, but as PAID media (versus EARNED media), the advertising execs’ ability to flex the corporate message is practically non-existent.  They can only move into the “CONTROLLED Collaboration” quadrant of this diagram because ads are, by definition, an official corporate branding exercise.

Yes, the advertising industry will always have an edge in terms of sex appeal, and the future of advertising (particularly in a mobile online world) is still quite exciting.  But advertising’s intrinsic, long-term value to the corporate brand is declining in the Social Media era. And the PR industry is the happy beneficiary.

Agree?  Disagree?  Are you at least glad I’m back from vacation?



Posted on: February 24, 2009 at 10:59 am By Todd Defren
57 Responses to “Evolution of Advertising & Public Relations: PR's Winning”

 

Comments
  • Ruth says:

    Thank you for posting this, as a PR student it was really encouraging to read.

    I do feel like PR is pulling ahead, mostly because social media has opened up such a doorway. Two-way communication has become a necessity rather than a welcome feature, and with that advertising has lagged.

    I agree with Daniel in that this creates some fantastic opportunities for the advancement of PR professionals. Hopefully it will bring PR the recognition that it has earned. However, it all fluctuates, so it will be interesting to see where the pendulum lies in 10 years.

  • Daniel says:

    I agree…turf wars will always exist. I don’t know that PR is winning, in this case, though. Depends on where you work, I suppose. Also might depend on the client (if you’re agency side).

    The real value is that PR people “get it,” where as many marketers (not pointing any fingers), simply don’t. They view social media as just another channel to broadcast a message. They (perhaps cynically) don’t think in terms of engagement, but eyeballs.

    That means that PR people need to continue to stand firm about what will succeed. Clients, CEOs, bosses, and peers need to know the type of thinking PR brings and how it is different (and possibly more effective) than a typical marketing/advertising perspective.

  • Great piece and visual reference. No doubt Social Media applications, like Radian6, and the broader measurement dashboards, (from dna13 and Vocus, to Cymfony and Biz360), will help this evolutionary trend continue since the PR ROI can be more effectively communicated to management. When the CMO asks, “What have you done for me lately?” the best PR pros are able to respond qualitatively *and* quantitatively. The reward for those individuals on the cutting edge will be a bigger PR budget, which in this economy may very well be at the Advertising team’s expense, more responsibility and, quite possibly, a promotion.
    – Doug DeSimone, Sr. Vice President, Critical Mention

  • Cat says:

    It is frustrating to hear how uneducated some people are about PR. PR is all about two-way communication; creating an engaging and interactive conversation with an audience. Social media has evolved the practice exponentially, and companies that look to employ it will find success if they target correctly, and monitor often.

    What can you say for advertising besides that it is a huge cost, is unengaging, and is more often than not overlooked?

  • pligg.com says:

    PR Squared: Evolution of Advertising & Public Relations: PR’s Winning

    Todd Defren shows how PR is winning the evolution race against advertising. Accountants at PR firms may disagree.

  • Twitter Comment

    PR folks beating Advertising people? WHOA! [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • You’re still missing my point – advertising gets larger budgets, has more interaction in the C-suite and is better understood there, and is better positioned to both sell in and profit from social media.

    PR isn’t. PR isn’t understood, and is not being sold in the right way. And, companies don’t care about engagement, they care about risk and protection. That’s advertising with its standard measurement, etc.

  • Twitter Comment

    Evolution of Advertising & Public Relations: PR’s Winning (from @TDefren): [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    Evolution of Advertising & Public Relations: PR’s Winning: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • ha…Yes, it’s good to see you back from vacation.

    I tend to have to agree with you. I think these two industries are definitely moving in different directions… and PR does seem to be winning ground in terms of social media.

    Timothy

  • Twitter Comment

    RT @TDefren PR *finally* winning over Advertising, after 50+ years competing for budget, thx to Social Media. [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    Evolution of advertising & PR: [link to post] (PR’s winning) from @tdefren

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    RT @hcdelp: Evolution of Advertising & Public Relations: PR’s Winning – PR Squared – [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    the evolution of pr and advertising in social media. pr is winning: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    @TDefren: Thanks for coming back fr vacation, great piece on the evolution of PR, great riff on Richard Edelman’s diagram: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Todd Defren says:

    @Olle – Agreed that “measurement” is the abiding weak spot, but with more and more of PR headed online, I see this challenge being satisfactorily handled (finally) soon.

    @Jeff, @lux – True that it should not be a “zero sum game,” but as a PR pro I need to think about “share of budget” and I’d argue that PR deserves a bigger slice than it’s traditionally received. Not only because Social Media is changing the game but also because it takes exponentially more time to do well. But yea, I am biased.

    Thanks, all!

  • Twitter Comment

    A points that have guided career moves [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    RT @DougH: RT@TDefren: PR *finally* winning over Advertising, after 50+ years competing for budget, thx to Social Media. [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    RT @TDefren: post: PR *finally* winning over Advertising, after 50+ years competing for budget, thx to Social Media. [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    RT @patrickRevans: Really good post from @TDefren [link to post] – Evolution of Advertising & Public Relations: PR’s Winning

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Olle Ahnve says:

    Love the truly catchy slide. Great way to display why pr has an edge on advertising.

    However, pr will still need to win what I consider the greatest battle – a way to display results to the leadership.

    When advertising always has a very tangible product (print/movie etc) and guaranteed results (bought space), pr will need to develop better measurement standards to achieve a better understanding among corporate execs.

    My experience is that the understanding of pr results is slim – if the result isn’t a full page article in a national morning paper…

  • Jeff Donald says:

    Why are we still viewing it as a zero sum game? I can’t imagine a basketball coach saying, “we’re going to just feed the ball down low” or “let’s just put up 3-pointers.” No, you have a basic philosophy and you develop strategies based on your strengths, your competitors strengths and your ultimate goal. The inside game (PR) has to support the outside game (Ad) and vice versa. Otherwise your competition can easily counter.

    In the biz world, philosphies may be changing to a more social, collaborative mindset but the ultimate goal (building brand recognition, identity and profit) and the strategic thinking needed to get there are the same.

    If a company is playing in the social world, advertising should be about building a brand that is open, inclusive and participatory and PR should complement that by reinforcing that message and making it true. I don’t think one wins out over the other. Instead, in shifting from a half-court offense to a run-and-gun, there’s likely to be more shots available for everyone.

    @jeffdonald

  • Twitter Comment

    Really good post from @TDefren [link to post] – Evolution of Advertising & Public Relations: PR’s Winning

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    RT @sheesidd: RT @nicklucido: Good news for PR folks – PR is beating advertising: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    RT @TDefren: The Evolution of PR *versus* the evolution of Advertising. New blog post: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    RT @nicklucido: Good news for PR folks – PR is beating advertising: [link to post] (h/t @sheesidd)

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Very glad you’re back! You’re article raised an interesting point that I was just discussing with my “New Media Technologies” professor. With the quickly rising use of social media, personally and professionally, consumers now — more than ever — crave (and in many cases require) two-way communication with companies. I don’t think that advertising is going anywhere soon, but I do agree with you that public relations is on the rise. Consumers want to engage in conversations with companies and feel important and valued (as you explained so well in your book Brink). Twitter is a prime example of what the two-way communication looks like.

  • Twitter Comment

    RT @microgeist: PR winning over Advertising, after 50+ years competing for budget, thx to Social Media. [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    Gist of today’s post: PR *finally* winning over Advertising, after 50+ years competing for budget, thx to Social Media. [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    Is PR winning the evolutionary race against advertising for social media attention?: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    Good news for PR folks – PR is beating advertising: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • lux says:

    The “PR versus Advertising” war has been around long before social media, and when the Next Big Thing comes along, there will undoubtedly be folks arguing passionately that the NBT makes PR (or Advertising) the clear winner then too.

  • Twitter Comment

    Right to the chase RT @TDefren: The Evolution of PR *versus* the evolution of Advertising. New blog post: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Ryan Miller says:

    Todd,

    First, welcome back from vacay, nice to see another insightful post.

    I agree that with the advent of Social Media, PR is certainly gaining ground on traditional advertising. Plus, people are always looking for ways to filter out traditional ad messages, which makes the more conversational world of PR and SM much more valuable.

    What I worry about is traditional advertising techniques (controlled, not permission based marketing) will take a bite out of SM tools like Twitter and Facebook in the way they did with MySpace (I didn’t want to be friends with Tide Detergent, stop asking). And if these tools are not used within the social norms of the community but rather as megaphones, do they devalue the medium and will users then move to something else (ex: once the big boys get in, does that network lose its effectiveness and cool factor?).

    Thanks for another great post.

    @ryancmiller

  • Quite agree with what you say about PR becoming interpersonal. I see the role of PR increasing in the social conversation(i prefer to use this term over social media). The fact that social conversations are more about conversations now, I don’t see how advertising can fit the space. Traditionally, advertising has been about one way download. It will be a challenge for advertisers to fit the bill of social conversations.

    cheers
    samraat

  • Twitter Comment

    RT @TDefren PR *finally* winning over Advertising after 50+ years competing for budget thx to Social Media.[link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    @TDefren RT: The Evolution of PR *versus* the evolution of Advertising. New blog post: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Twitter Comment

    rt tDefren The Evolution of PR *versus* the evolution of Advertising. New blog post: [link to post]

    – Posted using Chat Catcher

  • Todd,
    Welcome back.
    I agree with both what you write and what Mr. Edleman illustrated. PR is growing more collaborative and conversational as those of us in PR embrace social media to communicate. I think we understand that people rebel against the “control” aspect of advertising and seek instead to control the message themselves (since the advent of on-line consumer ratings, citizen journalism, etc.) As a veteran P.R. pro I am grateful for the transparency. Those who lack it will be called on to “be real.”



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