Guest writer Marina García Pérez, who is currently working in Romania in the PR industry, takes a look at the multiple faces of communication and at the rapidly evolving ways to communicate nowadays.
Just take a moment to think about how many ways both brands and institutions have in order to communicate to audience nowadays, in Romania as well as worldwide. Within this context, you will easily realize how understandable is the dilemma between choosing PR strategies, advertising tools or a combination of them for those interested in becoming visible and well-known in the public sphere. I am referring to a quite old matter for many European companies, whilst it has sprung up in the Romanian branding market a few years ago. PR versus advertising, such a love-hate relationship!
The advertising in Romania holds a very ancient life that has been strongly influenced by the European practices and trends throughout his history, and we may consider it pretty mature compared with some not-so-developed economic and political aspects of the country. The advertising has represented an essential partner to engage consumers until that moment when the PR practices started gaining importance all over the country. Since then, Romanian businesses have been progressively valuing the PR as a much cheaper strategy than advertising, capable of reaching a wide target audience as well. Saving money, plus the high levels of creativity and credibility convince Romanian brands and institutions choose PR over advertising quite often. PR agencies have met the companies’ needs – those companies which do not want to spend on effective ads - and have created a new model of strategic communication, which seems very attractive to big firms as well, based on a more personal and emotional engagement.
Looking at the figures, except for the online platform, the total net investment in advertising will continue to decrease this year, for the 4th year in a row, to an estimated EUR 295 million, from EUR 303 million posted in 2012, according to the Media Fact Book Romania 2013.
So you may be wondering who is the real winner within this communication context, as there is always one! Social Media practices are exponentially growing in popularity and most of the companies have understood the opportunities and the branding power social media brings. At a first glance, I would consider Social Media a PR tool, but the promotion via social media ads becomes more common each day, so that converts it into a combination of PR and advertising. However, from my point of view, Social Media itself based on its origin, philosophy and dynamic purely corresponds with the PR core criteria.
Social Media is not just a trend, it is here to stay, and in a very powerful way. Significant investments have been made in technical and staff, and these professionals, called Community Managers, are becoming more relevant and valuable within the marketing and branding sphere. Despite the fact that the internet use is low compared to the rest of Europe, the Romanian society has developed a remarkable expertise in terms of connecting, sharing and debating.
The most efficient way to communicate to public will always depend on many variables, it will be either PR, advertising or both of them, but what I know is that communication channels are developing so fast that the perfect combination will be always changing, so make sure you're riding the wave!
By Marina García Pérez, guest writer