PR in Integrated Marketing Communication ContextMostafa Morshedi
PR entails activities that are aimed to create and protect the organization’s brand and reputation by integrating and maintaining the organization’s relationship with current and new stakeholders in a profitable and mutual manner. Stakeholders are a broad range of organization’s public, including customers, suppliers, government, NGOs, investors and industry communities. PR function is to feature the organization’s identity and image to its target public. In addition to transferring organization’s message to the public, PR should provide channels to hear back. The Internet and digital media have revolutionized PR tools and tactics, while the concept is the same as the traditional PR.
PR is one of the promotional mix tools used in integrated marketing communication. IMC is the strategic communication process involving the integration, sharing or exchange of information among all people, departments and functions in an organization, including and involving, among other elements, IMC tools and tactics to find, satisfy and retain customers and make a profit. The promotional mix tools used in IMC includes advertising; direct marketing, personal selling, interactive/internet marketing, sales promotion and public relations. IMC creates a strategic alignment between the 4P’s of marketing including product, price, promotion and place and all organization’s communication within the communication mix.
There are different approaches regarding PR and marketing functions in an organization. The traditional approach considers PR as a non-marketing function that is in charge of maintaining mutual beneficial relationship between the organization and its stakeholders. The organization’s stakeholders include employees, shareholders, government, regulators, news media, industry associations, customers, labor unions, nonprofits and nongovernmental organizations. It is clear that with this wide range of stakeholders, potential customers are in minor attention. However, the new approaches consider PR as a marketing communication function. By emerging digital and online paradigms, marketing and PR are going to merge into a single and integrated communication function. However, PR function is not limited to customers and users, while marketing only concentrate on customers.