What is communication and why must we choose between PR or Marketing?
Posted by Amy Bell on 20 March 2018

There is a long-standing debate between marketing and PR professionals about which is the most important and which gains the best results. In recent years, the role of digital has also been added to this discussion.

While PR and Marketing are different functions which do different things, I believe that you need to be careful not to choose one or the other and look at the whole more carefully.

A collection of scattered bricks carved out with letters and numbers
Photo by Bruno Martins on Unsplash

To me, communication is the over-arching discipline; encompassing everything which is said by a company through every channel. While a business plan gives direction to an organisation, the communications plan lays out the story, or narrative, and the methods for reaching the target audience and achieving set goals.

Communications is everything; not just the promotional tools used for campaigning, but much more.  It is the emails and letters from employees, the price of the products and services, the invoices, HR documents, and processes, and the way employees act as well as what others say about the company.

Taking the time to work with the business plan and develop a narrative or story when first setting up, reviewing this each time the plan is updated, and treating each element as an important part of the whole, gives direction. It also ensures the right tools are chosen and refreshed when needed.

Like characters in a book, communications methods and channels have different roles in the story. They are introduced, developed and sometimes given their own story arcs –  coming and going throughout until their role is complete.

Rows and rows of books on large adjoining bookshelves
Photo by Leslie Holder on Unsplash

Here are some key actions that I would take when starting to develop or redevelop a company story:

  1. Identify the over-arching aim of the business and write it out:
  • Question exactly what it is your business produces and /or offers and how you want people to use it.
  • Write this as a description that you would use to tell your grandparents about your business.
  • Re-write this again as a short elevator pitch.
  1. Clarify who your audiences is and what they want from you/ your product/service:
  • Match your business objectives with messages that your audience will respond to.
  • Map out the channels which your audience use.
  • Ensure your messages can achieve your objectives.
  1. Develop an activity plan:
  • Use your newly developed messages and choose the communications tools which will best reach your audience.
  • Add evaluation measures so that you can assess how well each tool is working.

Find out more about how I can help you with your communications activities. 

“Since day one, Amy herself has fit seamlessly into our team, understanding the message we want to convey and the audiences we want to reach. Her upfront audit was invaluable in helping us internally hone our common voice, which has demonstrated itself in the consistency of the content we put out as a brand and as individuals within the company. Behind the scenes, Amy has instinctively adopted our internal communication methods (Slack, SharePoint) and works closely with our in-house graphic design team to ensure our graphics and copy are in sync.” Lucy Prior MBE - previously from 3Squared 2021
“I saved so much time after implementing a more structured approach which has given me the opportunity to focus on creating more content and work more closely with my clients. Amy and her team are easy to deal with and are quick to provide valuable solutions. I would not hesitate to work with Hey Me again in the future.” Karen Duncan - Lanehead Coniston
“I met Amy a few years ago at a Young Rail Professionals event and was able to provide her with an opportunity to manage the comms on a major alliance which she flourished at. Soon after she started, Marie came along to provide HR support across the multiple businesses. It seems only natural that being as dynamic and knowledge as they are, they are looking to work together on this new venture, which I am sure will be a huge success.” Karen Duncan - Lanehead Coniston
“I saved so much time after implementing a more structured approach which has given me the opportunity to focus on creating more content and work more closely with my clients. Amy and her team are easy to deal with and are quick to provide valuable solutions. I would not hesitate to work with Hey Me again in the future.” Karen Duncan - Lanehead Coniston

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