During the early stages of a client partnership we are often asked “what is the difference between PR and marketing?” and “does my beauty brand need to invest in PR and marketing?”. These are both valid questions and whether you work for a leading beauty brand or are the Founder of an emerging aesthetics business, it’s vital that you are aware of the value of PR and marketing. The PR and marketing team often work closely with one another, but they have different roles to play when it comes to delivering tangible results and driving commercial success.
In this article our beauty PR experts explain everything you need to know about PR vs marketing including how to measure performance and understand when it is the right time to hire agency support.
What is PR (Public Relations)?
“PR represents what other people say about your brand when you’re not there.”
The above is our favourite definition of PR as it emphasises that PR is all about reputation. For example, how do others (customers, employees, the general public etc.) see you or your brand? what have people heard about your brand from others or seen in the media? On the contrary, a key consideration when you devise a PR strategy for your brand is “how can you influence a conversation about your brand when you’re not in the room?”. This is PR!
PR is not what you say about yourself or your brand – that is advertising and marketing!
What is marketing?
“The action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.”
The definition of marketing is broad and can refer to any actions a company takes to attract an audience to the company’s product or services through high-quality messaging – as noted in the above section these advertising messages are always created by the company.
The main difference between PR and marketing is that PR is focused on building and maintaining a positive reputation for a brand which in turn stimulates demand and drives sales, whereas marketing is focused on promoting and selling a specific product or service.
The role of PR for beauty brands
An effective PR strategy is focused on building trust and visibility alongside authentic relationships with everyone who touches your business from prospective and existing customers to suppliers, the media, and even employees.
In crowded industries like beauty there are many voices shouting to be heard, and PR is a valuable long-term solution to help your brand stand out amongst the competition and of course, drive sales! Maintaining a positive reputation for brands in the aesthetic, beauty and wellbeing industry requires a tactical and strategic mix of traditional and digital PR activities.
Traditional vs digital PR
Traditional PR refers to traditional media and securing positive coverage in magazines, newspapers, on TV etc whereas digital PR typically involves collaborations with social media influencers or blogger coverage. However, a successful PR event for a brand in the beauty industry will always be tailored to ensure it engages all editors, journalists, influencers, and storytellers regardless of their platform type.
The role of marketing for beauty brands
The main role of marketing is to get people interested in your brand’s product or service, this is done by advertising in places where your target customers are most likely to be, with messaging that is most likely to attract their attention and of course, compel them to purchase. Effective marketing requires thorough market research and analysis to identify and understand the ideals of your target customer.
Traditionally advertising is served in homes on the TV or in print in magazines, newspapers, billboards etc. However, since the boom of the Internet and later social media, many brands have invested in digital marketing to target prospective and existing customers wherever they may be via their smartphones, tablets, and laptops.
Measuring PR performance
An effective PR strategy or campaign will be devised to deliver a set of KPIs or specific goals and these can be used to benchmark or measure the success of your brand’s PR activity. Typically these include:
- Positive press coverage in relevant consumer and trade publications (i.e. being featured in The Style List of Stylist, a profile piece in Aesthetics Journal.)
- Awards won at high-profile consumer or industry events (i.e. Glamour Beauty Awards)
- Fantastic buzz from social media influencers, brand followers, journalists, and the general public (i.e. positive posts on social media, product reviews, quotes)
- Invitations to speak at high-profile industry events
- Invitations to contribute or write content in leading publications
At Kendrick PR, our expert team consistently create winning formulas of strategic and tactical support for premium beauty brands, clinics, and practitioners with clear ambitions for growth. Founded in 2015, we are a passionate and experienced agency who thrive on creating tangible success for every client in our enviable portfolio.
Measuring marketing performance
As marketing is so focused towards driving sales this is typically how the success of a marketing campaign is measured. For example, marketers will consider whether their campaign:
- Met or exceeded the given revenue or sales goal
- Delivered the target ROI (return on investment)
- Performed better or worse than previous campaigns
Other metrics for marketers include footfall to physical stores and enquiries to sales or customer service teams. In digital marketing there any many more metrics and KPIs that can be monitored, and their importance is linked to the campaign goals that have been set, for example, a new ecommerce brand may be satisfied with a high level of traffic to their website or a growth in their social media following rather than immediately expecting sales.
The key differences between PR and marketing
Your PR team or agency are responsible for building a positive reputation for your brand amongst everybody who touches your business from its customers to its suppliers and everybody in between. A positive reputation generates visibility and builds trust which in turn stimulates demand and drives sales for your brand. Your marketing team or agency will identify your target customers and carefully curate messages or ads that will attract and guide them to buy your products. Ultimately their end goals are the same, but you can’t do a little bit of one without doing a little bit of the other!
How PR and marketing work together for beauty brands
Savvy beauty brand owners rarely consider PR vs Marketing, they understand that these two key business functions each have a role to play in the success of their business and that they work together really well. Let’s face it every brand in the beauty, aesthetic and wellness industries wants a glowing reputation with consistent top-tier coverage in print and amongst relevant influencers – and they want to consistently smash their sales targets and attract target customers to their physical and online stores.
The best way that PR and marketing work together is through good communication and clear processes, to ensure that each team or agency is focussed on working collaboratively together to reach your brand’s overarching commercial goals. If you’re a small business owner or new entrepreneur, you’ll probably find that you or a team member handle both the PR and marketing for your brand which is completely fine whilst your business grows.
When to hire a PR agency
PR is all about reputation and the team within a PR agency have spent years nurturing relationships with key editors, journalists, influencers, VIPs etc. and as a result they a valuable list of influential contacts and a proven track record of delivering great results. When a brand needs access to a niche yet powerful network like that within the beauty industry to support with a product launch, rebrand, or simply to bolster brand awareness it’s time to consider appointing an accomplished beauty PR agency. By outsourcing to specialists, you can divert your valuable time and resources to building and growing your business whilst your PR experts build a glowing reputation for your brand.
When to hire a Marketing agency
Many companies outsource to a marketing agency when their internal teams are overstretched or lacking the digital marketing skillset needed to ensure than the budget they invest into advertising is going to deliver the ROI that they need. Similar to a PR agency a marketing agency should be viewed as a long-term strategic partner for your business so that they can become a valuable extension of your inhouse team.
Choose an Award-Winning Beauty PR Agency
At Kendrick PR, we thrive on creating winning formulas of strategic and tactical support for premium beauty brands, aesthetic clinics, practitioners and entrepreneurs. We lead with our values: passion, professionalism, and authenticity!
Founded in 2015 by award-winning communications expert Julia Kendrick, Kendrick PR are an experienced and passionate team who thrive on creating tangible success for every client. Since launch, we have delivered outstanding results for some of the industry’s most innovative brands and exciting entrepreneurs, such as ALLÉL, Debbie Thomas, The Private Clinic, Oxygenetix, and Medik8 – and we’d love to support your brand. Please do get in touch to book your complimentary discover call with our expert team.