Handling Communications During A Disaster

This article was originally drafted for Forbes.com by our CEO, Robbie Wright. See the original here.

Hurricane Harvey dominated the news cycle for weeks and will likely remain in the mainstream media for months to come as we learn more about the extensive rebuilding efforts. In the same week, Hurricane Irma barreled up the state of Florida and there were two other active hurricanes, one in the Atlantic and the other in the Gulf of Mexico.

Like other agencies, we had to have hard conversations with our clients about the best way to respond to these national disasters, walking the fine line between contributing to a charitable cause and self-promotion. While we don’t want our clients to come off as opportunistic; we also can’t remain silent. We have to find a way to add our voice in a meaningful and respectful way.

This matter has been especially weighing on our team and we feel we have a unique point of view to offer. As an agency, our work family was heavily impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Our Houston office was forced to shut down nearly the entire week we were under Harvey’s shadow. Two of our employees were forced to evacuate and one lost her home.

When the storm was hitting hard, I looked out my window to see my street transformed into a river. Feeling uneasy, I sent an email to the rest of the team asking their opinions on (for lack of a better word) capitalizing on hashtags that were inevitably trending. What is the best way to respond? How should we advise our displaced Houston clients? What about clients who were unaffected?

The short answer is: Don’t make it about you.

Use Thoughtful Messaging

Once you’ve got that out of the way, it’s important to remember there is nothing wrong with giving back via a charitable cause. Charities are desperate for resources and business has to go on for you and your clients. Make sure the message you craft is tactful and highlights the charity and how others can help. If you choose to send proceeds of a product or service to a charity, be thoughtful about the charity you choose and how the donations will be used. Make sure your offer is significant enough to warrant your inherent self-promotion or else you run the risk of being accused of profiting off a natural disaster.

Give Back

We have a spa client in the Houston area that thankfully had no damage — employees were able to get back to work there fairly quickly. Another spa in the area offered free services to first responders, which was a great idea, though we knew our client did not have the resources to follow through on that kind of offer. They desperately wanted to give back to their own neighbors, a feeling we now know well, and they chose to do so by offering 25 percent of service fees to an amazing local charity. In their messaging on social media, they came from a place of understanding and comradery, saying they were glad to be back to work providing the city some much-needed relaxation and hoped to be able to give back monetarily while doing so.

While many companies have chosen to take a similar approach in donating proceeds of products or services, we encourage you to think outside the box and find other thoughtful offerings that might be unique to your business. Another client we have in the Houston area is a natural body care line. In addition to monetary resources, shelters had a desperate need for hygienic products. This client was in the unique position of being able to help in a direct way. They quickly began packing bottles of body wash and ended up hand delivering 20 gallons to local shelters.

Be Flexible

Keep in mind any events or plans you or a client have coming up and be cognizant of current events, adjusting as needed. As an agency, we had an opening event for our Houston office planned a few weeks after Harvey hit. Invites had already been sent out and we didn’t want to put this event on hold, though we didn’t want to seem insensitive to the climate. Instead of canceling, we chose to pivot the event. Putting our heads together, we figured out how we could use the event to give back to the community. The event took on a new theme and was largely focused on gathering donations for local charities.

Anyone who has been part of something like a natural disaster knows that anything helps. If you aren’t thoughtful and genuine with your approach, it will show — which could hurt you or your client’s brand. We encourage you to become part of the conversation during trying times, as long as it is in a meaningful and respectful way. Just remember: Don’t make it about you — highlight the charity, be thoughtful and pivot if needed.

Intern Tips: Do’s and Don’ts

Internships – the gateway to the real world and beyond, where you make lasting connections and learn the ropes of the industry. If you’re just entering the internship world, it can be very daunting and stressful. But don’t worry, we’ve got your back with these do’s and don’ts of internship life.

Read More “Intern Tips: Do’s and Don’ts”

3 Important Interview Tips

Ah the interview process – it’s an exciting, albeit nervous time for most people. The simple fact is every single interviewer is different and searching for different things. Combine that with the pressure of having to come across as the best candidate while staying true to yourself and not being too cheesy is a professional minefield. That being said, here are three simple tips for absolutely rocking it at your next interview.

  1. Dress The Part– As a rule of thumb, we always suggest you dress a little bit dressier than the place where you’re interviewing requires. Our office usually dresses casually, but that doesn’t mean we want an applicant coming to interview in jeans and a V-neck. Step it up a bit – you’re there to impress!
  2. Breathe– Seriously, just breathe. Silence is not your enemy. Don’t be terrified to pause and collect your thoughts. When you don’t breathe and collect your thoughts, you run the risk of talking yourself in circles and nobody will remember what the question (or answer) was.
  3. Be Prepared– Give yourself plenty of time to get to your interview. If you show up too early, just sit in your car and run over your information one more time. Have a copy or two of your resume, cover letter and any work samples that you have. We also suggest you have a copy of you portfolio just in case. And, for the love of all that is good, have some questions prepared to ask at the end of the interview.

Think you’re ready to put your interview skills to the test? You’re in luck! Wellington Group Marketing & PR is hiring our next rockstar intern. Interested? Send your resume, cover letter and writing samples to Sarah Smith at sarah@wellingtongrouppr.com.

Meet The WGPR Team: Dawn

Dawn Psaromatis

One of the Wellington Group Marketing & PR core values is “laugh hard, work hard,” and boy do we live up to it. Our office is a tight-knit group of individuals with quirky personalities and passionate spirits. Our team is incredibly unique, and we want to invite you to see a little behind the scenes of what it’s like to be surrounded with so many strong-willed and impressive individuals.

Our next team member to introduce to you is Dawn, our fearless team leader. Dawn is described as remarkable, talented, joyful and a prankster by the rest of the WGPR team. She may hide shrimp tails in your desk for a laugh, but Dawn truly is a one-of-a-kind person with an outstanding sense of humor.

What is your favorite animal?
Goats (fainting goats to be exact)

What’s your favorite color?
Orange and pink

What’s your favorite book?
Pillars of the Earth or East of Eden

What’s your favorite movie?
Sliding Doors

What’s your favorite TV show?
CBS Sunday Morning

What is your favorite song?
My List, Me and You and Your Great Name

What is your favorite food?

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

What is your favorite form of exercise?
Power walking, running or weight lifting – anything I can do

What is your favorite time of year?
Fall (cooler temperature, beautiful colors, winding down the year, holidays) and Spring (new beginnings)

At what age did you become an adult?
Middle school

If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?
Hermione Granger

If you won the lottery, what would you spend it on?

  • Securing my son’s college fund and savings
  • Paying off any debt/credit card balances
  • Paying off my family’s debt/credit card balances (including my sister’s tuition)
  • A home in Austin (this includes mother-in-law quarters in the back) and a home in Steamboat
  • An office with a test kitchen for Wellington Group Marketing & PR
  • Surprise vacation for my team members
  • Fixing my car and giving it to someone (for free)
  • Buying me a new car
  • 10% for our church
  • A big donation for the missionary we sponsor in Rwanda
  • Adopting a child (or children)
  • A condo and car for our nanny
  • A scholarship fund for underprivileged kids (starting to work with them in middle school)
  • A private plane
  • A boat

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet?Jesus, Jimmy Fallon and Bono

What’s the best compliment you’ve ever received?
Anything about my character and humor (and my legs)

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Fiji and New Zealand

What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
My husband and son

How would you describe your personal style?

Our Favorite Austin Bloggers

Blogs have the ability to inspire us and open our eyes to new and exciting things. From food to ideas, places and adventures, blogs allow us to experience and see the world from points of view we may not experience by ourselves. We wanted to share with you a few of our favorite Austin bloggers. With their vastly different personalities and content, these ladies inspire, enlighten andour love for Austin run a little

  1. A Taste of KokoThis beautiful, scrumptious blog by Jane Ko, (more commonly known as Koko) will have you drooling in a matter of seconds. Through gorgeous, mouthwatering photography, A Taste of Koko will introduce you to the greatest finds in Austin cuisine and hot weekend getaways. This is our go-to blog for finding new restaurants to try and very important need-to-know topics – like the 25 most Instagram-worthy restaurants in Austin. When she’s not blogging, she’s a professional social media and community manager and hosts the largest food crawl in Austin during SXSW with over 20,000 participants. She’s also a pleasure to work with – check out her beautiful photography from a recent event we hosted for one of our favorite client’s, True Food Kitchen.
  2. Camille Styles“A healthy life. Well styled.” Camille Styles’ blog is the go-to place for recipes, health and fitness, as well as style and beauty. Through uplifting articles, tutorials, and beautiful photography – this blog aims to inspire clean living, healthy choices and happy, beautiful lives. We have the privilege of working with Camille and most definitely take her advice to heart. Our favorite part of the blog? Camille’s Kitchen where you can find innovative and delicious recipes like Chicken Tequila Taquitos and Mexican Street Corn Salad.
  3. Love and LemonsOh man, do we love Love and Lemons! Husband and wife duo, Jeanine and Jack, enjoy cooking and photographing food that’s “fresh, bright, and often finished with a squeeze of lemon.” Whenever we’re looking to make a healthy and delicious meal we head over to Love and Lemons for inspiration. They just came out with new cookbook “The Love and Lemons Cookbook” and we challenge you to look at it without getting hungry. One of our go-to recipes is the recipe for Sweet Potato Avocado Tacos – yum!
  4. Addie BroylesNow this awesome lady has got a lot going on- she’s writes about food for the Austin American-Statesman’s popular Relish Austin blog, works with the local food blogging community, maintains her own blog The Feminist Kitchen, and holds a feminist book club and film series every month all while raising two young sons. We go to Relish Austin for everything from advice on what salsa to pick up at the grocery store, an explanation on what “shakshouka” is (say that 5 times fast), to finding out how the hot sauce in Hillary Clinton’s bag has ties to Austin. We recommend joining her next book club meet up and picking up her newest cookbook, “The Austin Food Blogger Alliance Cookbook” for gorgeous, mouthwatering food photos and recipes from local Austin bloggers.
  5. The Hungry ChroniclesThe Hungry Chronicles blog is every foodie’s fantasy. From stunning photography, to taste bud-tantalizing recipes, The Hungry Chronicles is a feast for all senses. Be warned, if you venture to the “My Hungry Travels” section of the blog you’ll be booking plane tickets before you know it! We suggest checking out the “Hungry Girl Austin” section of the blog before your next girl’s night out on the town.
  6. Girl Eats WorldWho would have guessed that a gas station indian-chinese fusion restaurant called “Chicken Lollypop” was any good? Girl Eats World is a master of knowing those hidden gems that every Austintine should be familiar with but isn’t? She offers alternatives to local favorites everyone knows about – there are so many good places in Austin that don’t get enough attention. Her honesty and enthusiasm about restaurants is contagious and you can count on her to provide all the details you need.
  7. The Bikini ExperimentWe love that Lauren of The Bikini Experiment is all about empowering women to be their best selves. She wasn’t at all athletic until she turned 30 and decided to make a huge life change. She is truly an inspiration! We go to Lauren’s blog for her awesome workouts and relatable fitness advice. Our team has made a habit out of doing her best desk stretches!
  8. Linda WagnerLinda Wagner is the epitome of a healthy lifestyle. She uses her blog to help people everywhere become their best, happiest and most confident selves. She hates words like “diet,” “calorie restriction,” and “excessive exercise.” She wants people to know it’s all about living a healthy lifestyle, radiating confidence, being inspired and feeling happy. Her blog features a myriad of delicious, healthy recipes- and our favorite, desserts! Try The Coconut Vanilla Chia Superfood pudding – you won’t regret it!
  9. spinsyddyOur love for fitness is fierce – and thanks to ClassPass we try to get our sweat on at every new studio and class in town. That’s why we were so excited to find Sydney of spinsyddy’s blog. Sydney goes to hundreds of gyms and classes all over Austin and gives in-depth reviews of them- making all of our lives easier. For those wanting to get in a good workout without spending big bucks, Sydney’s website has an exhaustive list of free workouts around Austin. Plus, she regularly partners with gyms to provide great deals.
  10. The Fit ForkJennifer of The Fit Fork is a true wellness guru. An award-winning recipe developer, competitive runner and CrossFit enthusiast, Jennifer does it all. The Fit Fork is a one-stop-shop for all things fitness and nutrition. Check out the Workouts page for an awesome workout and then whip up one of the guilt-free recipes that are abundant on The Fit Fork. We can’t stop making her recipe for Sweet Potato Strings with Blue Cheese – yum!

How to Stay Focused at Work

According to Time Magazine, most people now have an attention span shorter than that of a goldfish’s at nine seconds. It’s no wonder then why we sometimes struggle to stay focused at work with a validating statistic like that! Maintaining your focus is a difficult task, but there are some tips and tricks we use at the office to help us power through.

Coffee, Coffee, Coffee – The power of caffeine is real. While many of us choose to start off the day with coffee, experts say that drinking your caffeine between 10 a.m to noon and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. will actually help you to be the most productive. If you’re someone who still needs their morning cup of coffee, don’t feel bad, these prime times are good to keep in mind when you are debating that next cup.

Hide Your Phone – Yes, we are well aware this tip is easier said than done. Many of us work with our phone out on our desks, right next to our computer, but this can easily become a distraction. If you’re finding yourself getting distracted often, move your phone from sight. Place it in your desk drawer or purse and change it to airplane mode or “do not disturb” mode. If you have a really important task to tackle, you may even consider powering it off. In addition, this can actually be very helpful for your device. Only when it is powered off can your phone receive service tower updates.

Get Organized – At the start of each day, write down your to-do list and make sure to include the amount of time you think it will take you to complete each task. By including the time, you’ll be more likely to stay on schedule, which also means you’ll subconsciously be forced to more focused and on task. Plus, it is always satisfying to see the visual progress as you cross things off of your list throughout the day.

Stay Hydrated – It seems we’re always hearing about the many benefits of water and there’s a reason for that: hydration is key. If you are dedicated to maintaining focus, then you have to stay hydrated, and coffee doesn’t count. Invest in a reusable water bottle and keep it full and near your desk. You’ll be surprised at the difference you’ll see by simply drinking more water.

What are some of your tricks for maintaining focus at work? Share with us in the comments below!

What’s In Sarah’s Bag

One of the traits of a good public relations pro is being flexible and prepared for whatever the day throws at you. We are constantly on the move and trying to wow clients through service. The contents of our workbags reflect just that – ever ready and on-the-move. Of course our bags are filled with planners and magazines!

Today we are taking a look into what Marketing & PR Jedi Sarah keeps in her bag:

What do you keep in your bag?

Our Favorite Industry Blogs

As PR girls, it’s our job to know current events and be up-to-date on what’s happening in our industry. If we want to produce awesome work for our clients, we’ve got to make sure we aren’t missing a beat! Marketing, public relations and social media are industries that are evolving every single day so we are constantly updating each other on new strategies and ways to get things done. We never stop learning and we wouldn’t want it any other way. We do our fair share of blogging, but we still look to other awesome blogs to keep us on the ball. We’ve put together a list of must-read blogs to get you inspired and help you stay up-to-date on industry news no matter how busy you are.

nyc PR girls – This blog might be our favorite. We love Adrianna and Meg’s blog because they write on a variety of topics from pitching and getting press coverage, to advice on applying for jobs.

PRNewser – Before we hit the hay each night, this is the blog we are reading. It covers the inner working of the PR industry and keeps us up-to-date on the latest industry news that we can’t afford to miss. When we need to know what works, what doesn’t and why, this is the blog we go to!

SocialTimes – Looking for a one-stop-shop for learning all things social media? SocialTimes is the blog for you! From breaking Facebook news to the latest Instagram trends, SocialTimes has the inside scoop.

PR Blonde – Lauren describes her blog as “a little industry and a little fun” and we have to agree. She shows us what happens behind some of the most popular brands in our industry along with tips on how to be the best PR girl we can be. It’s also worth noting how incredibly sweet she is. Trust us, you’ll love her and her blog!

Copyblogger – We love Copyblogger because it offers valuable information to help stay up-to-date on what all is going on in the marketing world. Every week Copyblogger brings us original and relevant content that often teaches us how we can be reaching our client’s target audiences in the most efficient way.

Do you have any favorite blogs from the PR/marketing/social media world? Tell us in a comment below!

Photo courtesy of nycprgirls.com, prblonde.com, adweek.com/prnewser, adweek.com/socialtimes and copyblogger.com

What’s In Rachel’s Bag?

One of the traits of good public relations pros is being flexible and prepared for whatever the day throws at you. We are constantly on the move and trying to wow clients through service. The contents of our workbags reflect just that – ever ready and on-the-move. Who knows when floss and a couple of bobby pins will come in handy!

Today we are taking a look into what our Marketing & PR Guru Rachel keeps in her bag:


What do you keep in your bag?

Words of Wisdom for PR Students

College is the perfect time to prepare for your future. From our experience, you have a good amount of free time and aren’t too sure how to spend it productively. While binge watching Netflix sounds like a good choice, you could use that time to get ahead of your peers for the job market! If you’re a student majoring in public relations or another media related field, we’ve got some tips to help you be prepared for your first job out of college. It’s tough to find a job nowadays, but if you get a head start by using your time in college wisely, we think you’ll be in a pretty good position for life post-graduation. Here are some words of wisdom for those of you preparing for your future as a PR professional.

Know The News – This one is pretty easy and we know you can do it. We can’t stress enough how vital it is to be aware of what’s going on in the world. Working in public relations requires you to keep up with the news so that the work you do for your clients is relevant and timely. As a PR professional, it’s part of your job to be the most informed person in the room. Trust us, you don’t want to be clueless when a client wants to know your opinion on current happenings. Here at Wellington Group Marketing & PR we love reading The Skimm before we hit the ground running!

Intern Intern Intern – Intern a lot, and make it a priority to blow your supervisor’s socks off. Make the most of your internships by getting involved in any task your boss will allow. Internships are where you are going to make valuable connections because they’ve seen the work you put out, along with your work ethic. Also, don’t save interning until your last semester. Get started early in college!

Write Well – If we had to choose which tip is most important, this would be it. Working in PR means you will be writing for the greater part of your day. Whether it’s key messages, pitches, emails, blog posts or social media content, you’ve got to be a strong writer. Not sure how to practice your writing? Our advice is to start a blog! Employers will love seeing that you value blogging, but they will also think it’s awesome to see that you spend so much time writing.

Be Smart On Social Media – Alright, it’s time to really clean up your social media persona. Get rid of all the pictures that are the result of a few margaritas too many and make sure you look hireable. Be yourself, but be professional. Trust us, employers are watching.

Learn To Be Nice. Always. – Your clients hire you to cultivate relationships with the media and get their story covered. You can’t accomplish this by being short and unfriendly. When you sign up to work in PR, you sign up for the duty of being nice at all times. You know how you get annoyed with your parents? Practice being nice to them so by the time you land a job, you have mastered the art of being friendly and patient, even when it’s tough.

Apply For Jobs You’re Underqualified For – After graduation you are going to find yourself reading job descriptions that you know you aren’t yet qualified for. We advise you go ahead and apply for those jobs that are just out of your experience level. If they really like you, they could possibly create a position for you. This is how our awesome Account Coordinator, Sarah, landed her first job out of college here at Wellington Group Marketing & Public Relations. She’s proof that shooting for the moon instead of the stars can totally work!

What advice would you have for current PR students? Leave us a comment below!

Tips For Maintaining a Work-Life Balance

Here at Wellington Group Marketing & PR, we work hard so that when the workday is done we are able to return home to exercise, play with the kiddos, cook yummy meals and maybe even binge-watch our favorite shows on Netflix. Our awesome Boss Lady, Dawn, left the corporate life to create an environment for an open-minded team to laugh loudly, speak openly and embrace their weird and wacky ways while still having time to enjoy their life outside of work. So how do the ladies of Wellington Group Marketing & PR maintain a work-life balance? Here are our tips:


  1. To-do Lists – We can’t stress enough how beneficial it is to write a to-do list for each day, week and maybe even month. It has been proven that people who write their goals down on paper have a better chance of achieving them. Yep, it’s time to close the notes tab on your smart phone and pull out the old notebook. We each write lists for work and for our personal lives, and it has changed our lives for the better!


  1. Be Realistic– Don’t put too much on your plate if you know you can’t do it. Allocate a manageable amount of tasks to complete so you feel accomplished at the end of the day and not overwhelmed. This way you can have some free time for yourself.


  1. Make a Schedule – Schedule your tasks ahead of time so that you give each item on your to-do list the attention it deserves. Make sure you schedule a specific time for yourself to relax, exercise or do chores in addition to your work tasks. Both are equally important!


  1. Prioritize – Put the “must do’s” at the top of the to-do list and get them done first. If hanging out with friends is considered a “must do” put it at the top of your list! NYC PR Girls has a great idea with their Life Balance Pyramid. Check it out and make your own pyramid to focus on where your priorities are.


How do you maintain a work-life balance? Leave us a comment below!

How To Stay Organized At Work

Staying organized at work can be a challenge, especially when you’re working in the marketing and public relations industries. Everyday something new comes up, and you have to completely re-think your schedule and update your planner (we are nothing without our planners!) Good news is – we thrive on the nature of our industry. As PR ladies, we are pros at accepting change and quickly reorganizing our schedule to get the priorities done. So how do we stay organized each day? Read on for some of our secrets!

  • Tidy up: Keeping your desk tidy is the first step to staying organized at work. A clean desk without distractions and clutter will help you focus on the task ahead. If you have trouble keeping your workspace clean and neat, just take five minutes everyday to tidy up. Trust us, you will be way more relaxed throughout your day.
  • Create your to-do list at the end of each day: That’s right. Before you leave the office take some time to write down your to-dos for tomorrow. Doing so allows you to mentally prepare for tomorrow and ensure that you won’t start off the day stressed.
  • Ensure everything has its own space: Public relations has the reputation of being a hyper-organized person’s career. In our office that stereotype rings true. We obsess over folders and structure. Our emails, files and paperwork are all in correctly labeled folders and there may be color coordination involved, don’t judge. If you’re anything like us, you’ll feel much more centered when everything is where it belongs.
  • Make your space work for you: We can’t all have a corner office over looking a beautiful skyline, but we can take a few steps to make our work environment work for us. Here in our office, we despise florescent lighting. Instead, we light up our office with lamps that create an environment that keeps us calm and relaxed.

How do you stay organized at work? Leave us a comment below!



What Would Olivia Pope do?

Oliva Pope

Do we have any Scandal lovers out there? Some of the Wellington Group team are absolutely obsessed with the show and are always anxiously waiting each week to see what Olivia Pope will do next. If you’re unfamiliar with the show, Olivia is the owner of a crisis management consultancy firm and is the go-to “fixer” in Washington, D.C. Her team, known as the gladiators in black suits, offers solutions for various problems ranging from White House scandals to criminal secrets. Intense, right?

As we mentioned in our recent post, Common Marketing Mistakes, mistakes our bound to happen. Whether you’re dealing with a company crisis or a personal problem, here are three things that Olivia Pope has taught us about dealing with our dilemmas:

Timing is everything
When responding to a crisis, every second counts. At Pope & Associates, Olivia divides and conquers. This is a great strategy that allows her to work quickly and effectively. Be speedy, but don’t forget to breathe. 

An example of this is the Taco Bell “scandal” that occurred in 2011 when the company was sued on the claims that their seasoned beef contained less beef than they stated in their advertising. Within days, management at Taco Bell released a new advertisement that read, “Thank you for suing us. Here is the truth about our seasoned beef.” Because Taco Bell was quick on their feet, the lawsuit was dropped and loyal customers were still staying: “Yo Quiero Taco Bell.”

Be a glass window
Why a glass window? Because it’s clear and transparent. During times of trouble, it is absolutely necessary to be honest. Don’t be afraid to take responsibility for your faults. The more clarity you offer, the more relatable you will become to customers, potential clients or others. Maybe that’s why Olivia’s office is full of glass windows? 

To get a better idea on how to be transparent, look at the CEO of Netflix, Reed Hastings. In 2011, he sent an apology e-mail to his customers where the first sentence read: “I messed up. I owe you an explanation.” He went on to discuss the recent price changes and split between the DVD and streaming businesses. Mr. Hastings took the blame and offered a clear explanation of the changes that were occurring. Olivia would be proud.

Carpe Diem
Lastly, always remember to seize the day. Every crisis has the potential to become an opportunity for your company to grow. After all, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Not only can you save your image, but you can also strengthen your brand. Whether it’s the PR you maintain, the campaign you begin, or the way you interact through social media – your weakness can become your strength.

What other strategies has Olivia Pope taught you about crisis management? We’d love to hear them!

Blurred Lines: Marketing & PR


As a full service public relations, marketing and communications firm, we often get asked, “So.. what’s really the difference between marketing and PR?” The short answer? Not a whole lot, but there are definitely distinctions between the two that we would like to expand on.

Let’s start with the official definitions:            

Marketing: the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. –The American Marketing Association

Public Relations: a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics. –Public Relations Society of America

The fine lines that separate marketing from PR really revolve around the fact that marketing has a main goal of sales and profit, while PR focuses on the mutual understanding between the organization and its publics along with positive perceptions. In terms of measurement, marketing looks mainly at the short-term results, while PR looks mainly at the long-term results that stem from meaningful conversations with potential customers.

Some activities that fall under the marketing umbrella include:

  • Website
  • Blogging
  • SEO
  • Coupons

Those that fall under the public relations umbrella include:

  • Media relations
  • Crisis Management
  • Social Media
  • Awards

As more and more of our activities have migrated online, the lines between marketing and PR have blurred even further. What makes the two go so well together is the storytelling aspect. Both marketing and PR work to communicate a story so that the organization can gain customers, drive revenue and/or foster positive perceptions.

Public relations creates an environment where marketing can thrive and vice versa. This is the “mash-up” of industries that we are witnessing. It’s all public facing, revenue-driven and necessary for long-term growth. Smart businesses shouldn’t choose between the two, but instead, incorporate them both. Watch out for this throughout 2014 – the industries are only becoming closer!

Don’t Be Spooked By Investing in PR

Public Relations ROI

Investing in PR can be scary – we know. It’s often hard to directly track your return on investment, and therefore understanding its worth can be a challenge. If you give it a chance however, public relations can serve as a powerful tool, leading to some mighty long-term results.

Six Reasons You Need to Put the Fear Aside and Hop on the PR Train:

  1. Create Frightfully Good Brand Awareness First and foremost, public relations is about putting your brand out there for the world to get to know, understand and relate to. Word of mouth is always effective, but its influence can only spread so far. Through PR, your brand message can be communicated to your audience on your terms (using a strategized angle) – and with quite a broad and varied reach.
  2. Build Credibility That Will Make Your Quiver PR is the number one route for positioning your company or leadership as an expert in your industry. Additionally, being featured in the media – whether local, regional, national, industry or trade – inevitably incites a sense of legitimacy to the consumer at large.
  3. Enchant Investors Every company is supported by different revenue streams and has varying end goals and exit plans. However, if the need for an investor or the desire for acquisition is anywhere in your future – near or far – having a steady drumbeat of press is going to be key.
  4. Save on the Hocus Pocus, er, advertising There is a place for advertising – truly. But most small to medium-sized businesses we work with don’t prefer to invest large dollars into a single ad campaign. Bottom line: one editorial hit, which might have cost you a couple thousand PR dollars to secure, can make for the equivalent of a $20,000 or more ad in a major outlet. Think about it. 
  5. Form Bewitching Relationships Your public relations team of choice is in the business of building relationships and, along with their industry expertise, they will bring forth incredible and profitable brand partnerships and editorial relationships for your company that you never could have imagined were possible. 
  6. Gain So Many Customers that it Gives you Goosebumps Ultimately, you’re going to invest in PR to build your customer base. And that’s what it will do – over time. Through hitting a variety of targets at various touch points, your brand will continue to become top of mind for your prospective customer base. They might not need your product or service now, but we promise they will think of your brand first when they do.