Difference Between Public Relations and Advertising (With Table)

Promotion deals with all the activities which contemplate to inform customers about the products and persuade them to buy these products. Promotion makes use of various tools to stimulate the exchange of goods and services in the market. Public Relations and Advertising are two important tools of promotion of products and services offered by the company. 

 Public Relations vs Advertising

The difference between Public relations and Advertising is that public relations are a deliberate attempt to create and maintain mutual understanding between an organization and its public. On the other hand, advertising is a form of non-personal communication and promotion of goods and services by an identified sponsor. In short, we can say public relations is earned media and Advertising is paid media.

Public relations is a strategic management function that computes the goodwill of the organization by creating and managing its reputation through telling and displaying the products and services offered by the company in the form of accentuated stories or articles. It is done through news, speeches, seminars, etc. It is not an easy profession to define.

Advertising is referred to as a paid, impersonal, simple communication that draws the attention of the buyers towards a product, service, or company to influence and foment the targeted audience to act in the manner as a coveted proclaimer. It provides information about the price, benefits, and availability of products. The common modes of advertising are newspapers, television, radio, magazines, etc.

Comparison Table Between Public Relations and Advertising

Parameters of ComparisonPublic RelationsAdvertising
DefinitionPublic Relations is the art of establishing and maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship of a company with the public.Advertising refers to any paid form of non-personalpresentation and promotion of products offered by the company
CommunicationDialogue (two-way communication)Monologue(one-sided communication)
MediaEarned MediaPaid Media
PurposePublic Relations aims to create a favorable image of a company, its products, or its policies.The main aim of advertising is to make people aware of products and services offered by the company.
Scope for controllingIn Public Relations, companies can cast the story or article but have no control over the reaction of the media.In advertisements, the company has total control over the ad.

What is Public Relations?

Public Relations is the planned and sustained effort to build a healthy relationship between an organization and its public. The public does not only include customers. It also includes all the shareholders, creditors, investors, lenders, government, suppliers, etc.

Public Relations activities are designed to create a positive image or reputation of the company in the eyes of the public. It aims at building trustworthy relationships between a brand and its buyer, mainly via the use of media and coverage. It involves various programs to establish and protect the company’s goodwill. It aims to strengthen relationships with various stakeholders.

PR is done by organizing events like sports events, concerts, seminars, speeches by corporate leaders, etc. Usually, it is done to gain favorable coverage by providing information to independent media sources.

A good public relation helps in smooth functioning of business and building keen interest in the established product and help in launching new products in the market. It also amplifies the advertisement in promoting the goods and services.Various tools used in Public Relations are Press Release, Press Kits, Brochures, Annual reports, Newsletters, Conferences, and Seminars.

What is Advertising?

It is the most commonly used tool of promotion. Advertising is a form of communication between the users of a product and the company offering the product. It provides you information about the goods and services. The basic purpose of advertising is to increase the demand for goods and services in the market. Advertising is undertaken by the identified sponsor (individual or company). 

Advertising is present everywhere, though people might not be aware of it. We find that advertising works the same as grass grows. You will never see it, but every week you have to move the lawn.

In today’s world, companies are using every possible media to advertise their products and services. It employs Television, Print,i.e, newspapers, journals, articles, magazines, etc., radio, hoardings, posters, sponsorships, events, direct selling, and many more. It is an economical form of promotion as it has a wide reach. With the use of the latest graphic and multimedia advertising has become one of the most powerful sources of communication.

A publicly advertised product gets legitimacy as there is always proof for it. Customers feel more secure and comfortable while buying widely advertised products. It creates confidence among buyers of the product about authenticity and quality.

In advertising, a standard message has been set. It makes it inflexible as there is very little scope for changing the message according to the needs of different sections of the market.

Main Differences between Public Relations and Advertising

The distinguishing factor between public relations and advertising can be summed up on the following grounds:

  1. Public Relations is the art of creating trust-based relationships between the company and the public. Advertising is a technique of reaching the public by drawing their attention towards their products and services through announcements.
  2. Public relations we have to earn the reputation, on the contrary, advertisement is a paid form of promotion 
  3. Public Relations is two-way communication in which a company listens and answers to the public. Advertisement is simplex or monologue communication,i.e, advertising is one-way communication.
  4. Public Relations aims to build goodwill. Advertisement is done to increase the awareness of the product among the buyers. 
  5. In Public Relations the company has no control, how the media uses the article or story, but in advertising, the company has control over the advertisement, i.e. how and when the ad will be displayed.


In today’s world, the foremost goal of every business is to make money. To make more money, the companies are supposed to increase the sale of products. To increase the sale, it is crucial to use advertising and public relations efficiently and effectively. It is more or less useless to argue which one surpasses the other. Public Relations helps in gaining trust and reputation in the market. However, Advertising is the paid promotion of the products offered in the market so that the buyers are induced towards it. There is an old saying that “publicity is what you pray for whereas advertising is what you pay for.


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  3. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/107769909907600303
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