Image with text "Advertising is saying your good. PR is getting someone else to say your good."

There is a common misconception that if a company engages in paid adverting that they have little need for PR. Róisín Maxwell explains exactly why this is not the case.

So what is Advertising? Róisín explains, “It is paid for promotional space throughout different types of media including online, print, TV and radio. PR differs greatly!  It is a strategic communication process that builds relationships between organisations, the media and the public.”

Although advertising allows a company to have a consistent presence in publications or on air, editorially placed articles and broadcast interviews are more beneficial when it comes to a business telling their story. PR sparks a connection with your audience and promotes key messages. Consumers are more likely to believe and trust an article or broadcast interview opposed to an advertisement that they know has been paid for.

Advertising and public relations work well together but each have individual benefits that the other is unable to deliver.

PR campaigns and activity bring an element of credibility that advertising doesn’t. Independent editorials, features and interviews on a company or brand is given more attention than a paid advertorial which many people now skip and barely skim. PR done well adds value to the companies’ message, tells the businesses story and grabs attention.

What is PR?

What is Public Relations

What is Public Relations? A question that sees over 200 business owners and career seekers per month in Ireland take to Google for answers! We wondered how many more people were curious about PR and how it can enhance their business or, as we all know, make for an exciting and rewarding carer choice!

At PM we have such a diverse team with backgrounds in radio, television production, business, journalism, hospitality and marketing; all with a unique viewpoint on what exactly public relations is. We put it to some of our colleagues and clients to get to the bottom it!

Naoise Coogan – Account Director with Purcell & Masterson

PR tells – advertising sells – this is what some PR gurus say – however, I think PR does both. By offering positive narrative on a product or a service – ‘telling’ – this will in due course assist with ‘selling’. PR is a subtle relaying of information from a ‘reliable source’ that a product or service is of value and there is no better way of selling than consistently telling this information.

Edward L. Bernays Public Relations Consultant (1923)

Ed Bernays was born in 1891 was well known for his use of propaganda and persuasion and wrote the first book in PR called the Crystallising of Opinion (1923). He advised Eisenhower, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Eleanor Roosevelt and is said to have had 350 clients

‘Public Relations is the attempt by information, persuasion and adjustment to engineer public support for an activity, cause, movement or institution’

Catherine Cox – Spokesperson for The Carers Association and client of 10 years

PR has a vital role in our work at The Carers Association. We use PR to respond quickly to political decisions that affect carers, the silent workforce who save the State €4 billion each year, to tell the human stories behind the numbers and to recognise individual family carers who dedicate their lives to providing care for their loved ones. Through the use of Public Relations we have seen the profile of our organisation as well as that of family carers and their political strength increase over the past ten years. It remains a key priority for us and one we will continue to focus on.

Kathleen Leadbetter – Jerpoint Glass Studio and client of 10 years

As a small family run craft studio, with small budgets, PR offers great value for us. PR not only gets our name and brand into all the right places, it also acts an endorsement from the targeted publications when our story appears in print.  We always see a great return on investment for our PR activity and exposure that otherwise we simply could not achieve.

John Masterson – MD of Purcell Masterson

Public Relations probably means a different thing to each of our clients. And it probably means something different to them now than it did when they first began working with us at Purcell Masterson. The early part of any relationship with a new client is used by us to gain a clear picture of what they want to achieve, and to manage their expectations about what is achievable and what impact it will have on their profile and business. Some think we just pick up the phone to ‘our contacts’! That is not the case.

We work with our clients to recommend the best media strategy for them, the stories and events that are suitable for the type of publicity and audience they desire. We bring creativity and new ways of looking at their communications. This is part art and part science, part inspiration and a big part perspiration! I often make the distinction between advertising as ‘bought’ media and public relations as ‘sought’ media. We all see an advert as what it is. But how many of us know which of the interesting things we read and hear, that hold our attention or change our perceptions, have been placed as part of a public relations campaign?

Have your say!

Tell us what is PR to you or your business…tweet us @PM_Communiate

To meet the Purcell Masterson PR and Communication team, learn more about our multi-disciplinary approach, the experience and training that we bring to every campaign visit our About Us page.


Good PR is Never Spin

What is PR

By John Masterson

08 August 2014

Like many people who work in PR I bristle a little when I hear the word ‘spin’. At its worst it implies that a PR consultant is happy to tell lies on behalf of their client. At its kindest it means something like accentuating the positive with no regard whatsoever for the negative sides of their client’s position.  Neither are practices a good PR professional would advise or engage in.

The truth is a good starting point because it is usually where we all end up in the long run. There is no point if getting a restaurant publicity if we know that there are problems with the food, service, pricing, ambience or whatever. If you use your contacts to get publicity for a venture that is not what you say it is you can rest assured you will not have your contacts for long. You can only sell a pup once. When I was the other side of the fence and being pitched to in RTE I well remember the difference between PR companies who delivered what they said they would, and the ones that let you down. The latter only did so once and probably wondered why they never got past the front door again. In overpromising one always does the client a disservice.

Truth can be presented in many different ways. What is left out may cause as much damage as what is communicated. It is the job of the PR consultant to present the facts in the most advantageous manner for their client. But if the truth becomes twisted it will most likely end up leaving your client with explaining to do, and if you are explaining you are losing.

I always go back to the definition of a lie as the ‘intention to mislead’ and that usually clarifies any issues.