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Understanding the Distinction: The Difference Between Advertising and PR

Geeta Singh | July 18, 2017 | Public Relations,Startups


To promote a new startup company, people often find themselves at a crossroads, deciding between traditional advertising and the realm of Public Relations (PR). While these two industries may seem similar, they are distinct in their approaches and outcomes.

Public Relations, or PR, revolves around establishing effective communication between marketers and their target audience through various media platforms such as print, television, and the Internet. Unlike advertising, PR focuses on creating positive exposure and shaping a brand’s image in a subtle and strategic manner.

PR is a specialized branch of marketing dedicated to image management, brand building, media interaction, market outreach, event coverage, and crisis management. When a company hires an advertising agency, they pay a significant amount for media space or time slots. On the other hand, PR is a non-paid form of marketing and promotion. PR agencies develop strategies to secure media coverage through journalist endorsements. PR professionals employ a range of tactics to generate positive media attention, raising awareness among target audiences about the company and its brand.

In today’s competitive landscape, PR plays a vital role in branding and promoting companies that engage PR agencies. However, advertising and PR differ in their strategies and tactics, despite both conveying messages to clients and target audiences.

As a business leader, it is crucial to comprehend the difference between advertising and PR to determine which approach is more effective and budget-friendly for your company. In advertising, you have control over the content that goes into your ads because you pay for the space. In contrast, PR offers no guarantee of how the media will present your information, if they decide to use it at all. The media is not obligated to cover your event or publish your press release simply because you sent it to them. Additionally, advertising tends to have a longer shelf life compared to PR.

PR professionals, however, help you communicate your message through various channels, both traditional and unconventional, including social media platforms. The key to expanding your reach lies in placing your message where your clients or potential customers engage most.

By effectively utilizing PR, you can build strong relationships and maintain a sound reputation at all times, irrespective of the ups and downs of business. Your reputation and market image play a crucial role in influencing customers, suppliers, employees, and stakeholders. PR differentiates you from your competitors, giving you an edge in the market.

In conclusion, understanding the distinction between advertising and PR is essential for making informed decisions about your marketing strategy. While advertising allows for creative control and a longer-lasting impact, PR offers the advantage of building relationships, enhancing reputation, and leveraging a variety of channels to reach your target audience. By integrating both approaches strategically, you can maximize the potential for success and effectively position your startup in the market.


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