Although brand and PR, Public Relations, are often used interchangeably, there is a marked difference between their function within marketing. Branding is the process whereby a company defines core values and what it can do to answer the needs of consumers. It is, for all intents and purposes, their identity. PR, on the other hand, is a method of protecting and preserving that core identity.
Justin Cobb explains how brand factors into PR when seeking to increase sales within a business or to establish that brand as an authority, one that is credible. “We first work to build a brand so that it is quickly identifiable. Think for a moment of all the brands you recognize simply from a logo. The Golden Arches of Mcdonald’s and the Nike check come to mind. Nothing needs to be said about either of those brands because the work has already been done.”
Nonetheless, Justin warns against seeing a brand as simply a logo. “The logo is simply a visual that can quickly be associated with what the brand means to them. For example, when you see the Golden Arches, you automatically think of fast food, burgers, and probably a drive-thru window where you can order on the fly. When you see the Nike check you think about athletic clothes and the high quality you can expect from a name brand.”
Marketing is important to both brand and PR in that marketing is what brings about an awareness of what that business stands for and the qualities that set it apart from the competition. In the initial stages of launching a new business, brand development is of vital importance. “Once a brand is established,” Justin explains, “it’s time for PR to take over. This is where we work to keep a client’s brand message visible, often through social platforms where that brand can communicate with its audience.”
By communicating through social channels where those core values were identified in the very beginning, the brand is solidified. “Defining a brand is not a one-hit-wonder,” Justin explains. “It’s a continual process of keeping that message of core values out in front of everything we do.”
He continues, “There will come a point when consumers begin thinking about a brand whenever a product or service associated with that brand comes to mind. It’s like when a college basketball player needs a pair of high-tops. What comes to mind? That’s right, Nike. This is what good PR has done for the Nike brand and what we aim to do for every client we represent.”