Week 2: An Exposition of the Perspectives and Trends in Public Relations (PR): Marketing-PR, Traditional Marketing, Experiential Marketing..

This week, being the second week, saw an introduction of the dominant perspectives in the field of PR. While perhaps only descriptive of the zeitgeist of the present, it is a good starting point for any learner inquiring into PR.

The dominant perspective prescribes that PR is a subdomain of marketing (Confirmed by both Ms Tanya Wilson and the text book written by Chia & Synnott). As schools of thought, these two fields are invariably linked to the language of proselytization. Although this author takes issue with the dominant perspective for linking PR and Marketing, this blog post will only discuss the relevance of the link in later weeks, after the author gains sufficient understanding of the field of Public Relations. Suffice to say, at this point in time, it seems that efforts to promote a particular good/service, or groups of such goods/services, can be called marketing while efforts to promote a firm or groups of firms can be called Public Relations.  This applies, even with efforts to further either of the two causes overlapping, in courses of execution.  By overlapping, this article refers to physical actions by the agents of the firm which would occur in both marketing and PR.
Hence, this article will make the tenuous assumption that PR and marketing are one and the same. This is to avoid the pitfall of being overly reliant on terminology that is essentially dynamic in meaning. The usage of the concept of marketing has changed over time, and ranges from product segregation to market surveillance(Adcock, 1993), to tailoring innovative products and advertising. Likewise the different perspectives in PR can render and discourse difficult without first clearly defining the topics at hand.

Today’s article will discuss the different kinds of marketing which exist and the trends which led to divergent approaches to marketing. From a practical standpoint, the existence of marketing exists above and beyond the language through which it traditionally operates in. It is thus necessary to construct narratives based on the course of actions taken by PR/Marketing professionals, rather than the language that said actions were conducted in. Furthermore, the trend of marketing lies in branding and brand awareness, which means that marketing becomes less of proselytization and more of engagement (Gunelius, 2010). Thus the relevance of mere words employed by marketing professionals decreases; at the same time case-studies of each instance of public relations yields greater insights.

Traditional Marketing is the terminology used to refer to the older perspective of marketing. These older perspectives were chiefly concerned with the use of marketing as a means of increasing sales, and thus profit. The perceived drivers of profit hence demarcated the message that firms would adopt. Adcock claims that the general perspective shifted in focus from the methods of production, to the quality of products, to the direct selling of a product, and then to the current, more holistic approach to management (2001). These shifting approaches are not mutually exclusive in any one instance of marketing or over any time frame, but represent a change in the general focus of techniques and approaches.

Contemporary Marketing is the evolution of the traditional approach which places less weight on the linguistic message being sent, and more weight on the means by which the message is transmitted, and the audience of the message. These include the forging of good customer relations and loyalty, inter-firm relationships, appeals to the betterment of society, appeals to a brand(Adcock, 1993), and, most recent, appeals to viral potential. Experiential marketing is one example of contemporary marketing which builds upon creating good customer relations and loyalty, rather than simply bucketing cajoling messages to the general public.

Despite the wealth of literature existing which describes the current trends, at present time, it may be too early to write home about these trends and academically discuss these trends as objective fact. History has shown that people too involved in the on-goings of an era are unable to write impartially about the events until they are sufficiently distanced and detached from their primary experiences. The popular refrain(Kaplan & Grabe, 2002) that objective history can only be written 50 years after the events have come to pass hold true even here. As bystanders in the current phenomenon of marketing which sweep through our world today, we are far too engaged in activities of producing and receiving marketing to be unbiased sources of information.

However, that does not mean that we, as a field of academics, should refrain from discussing the intricacies of marketing around ourselves. It is only with continuous discourse that the eventual objective truth will be constructed, be it now or thirty years later.

Personally, I am most enthralled by the possibilities of viral marketing. As a Touhou player and writer, I am most fascinated by the viral success of Touhou Project as a phenomenon in fan-made productions (often referred to as doujin), the aesthetics of cuteness, and the crowd-sourcing of various multiplatform and multimedia productions of derivatives, both within and above current definitions of marketing or PR.

I leave you with a quote from ZUN, creator of the Touhou Project series: “As long as you have love it’s alright”.

P.S I made a video as a marketing tool for a Demetori (a band) metal track.

P.S.S. One useful reference for marketing materials: http://www.lib.uts.edu.au/gta/


Adcock, D. (1993). Marketing : principles and practice. London: Pitman Pub.

Kaplan, R. B., & Grabe, W. (2002). A modern history of written discourse analysis. Journal of Second Language Writing, 11(3), 191-223. doi: Doi: 10.1016/s1060-3743(02)00085-1


2 Responses to “Week 2: An Exposition of the Perspectives and Trends in Public Relations (PR): Marketing-PR, Traditional Marketing, Experiential Marketing..”

  1. 1 Fu Manchu January 21, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    As typically expected from your rambling self, your elucidations prove (and I say this most grudgingly) sensible.

    You would do well to continue with such impartial reflections.

  1. 1 Week 8 Blog Journal: Evaluation Techniques « Linked – PR Consultancy Trackback on November 7, 2011 at 3:11 am

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a public relations firm that specialises in helping independent media groups find an audience at modest compensation.

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