-- June 12, 2004

What Is It?

I had no idea how confused people are about Marketing vs Public Relations vs Advertising, until I sent out the recent article on Public Relations in the and did a presentation on PR for local Chamber of Commerce members.

Thrashing around for a way to simplify these concepts, I recalled a piece I saw in Readers Digest some years ago. Perhaps it will help to think of it this way:

You're the owner of a Circus. It's your first time bringing your circus to AnyTown USA. You want everyone to come see your spectacular show ... You plan a parade from the train station to the town's central park. You plan to have everyone of your performers follow Jumbo the Elephant down Main Street. They'll be tumbling and twirling battons and handing out candy and balloons... That's MARKETING

You decide that you'll hang signs on Dumbo: "Come one! Come All! See the Amazing Dumbo Fly" they say... That's ADVERTISING

The Parade starts. You really want everyone of the spectators to follow along after the performers...but they don't. Instead, the kids are so excited that they run back home and get their families and the neighbor kids to come along with them... That's VIRAL MARKETING

About halfway through town Jumbo takes off...She heads straight for the Mayor's front yard and tromps on his prize begnoias! A newspaper reporter takes pictures and writes about this disaster ... That's NEWS

An enterprising writer, seeing the event as newsworthy writes an article explaining the psychology of elephants and what might have caused the elephant to head for the begonias... That's PUBLICITY

Now the mayor could be pretty angry because he's nursed that begonia for years. It's his pride and joy. But it's ok, you make friends with the Mayor and now he's laughing as he pats you on the back and invites you to be his special guest at his daughter's graduation party.... That's PUBLIC RELATIONS.

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(C) Joan-Marie Moss, June 12, 2004
 

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