- Marketing and PR
- Advertising agencies
- Public Relations
PR practice is not well understood in many countries and for many business people the area is not seen as one that needs much expertise. Limitations in the variety of media and technologically advanced ways of disseminating new information may make it difficult for messages to get across. Plural dialects are also a barrier to the passage of new information. Other problems include economic, infrastructural and cultural limitations.
Companies which specialise in non advertising forms of marketing include those that provide general consultancy, market research, branding consultancy and direct marketing. There are very few of these in developing countries. Factors influencing the differences between developed and developing countries across the Commonwealth include culture, the size of a market, technology, difficulty of obtaining marketing data and cultural influences in the private sector.
- fact that there may be no need for a full-time in-house advertising department at many SMEs, since many SMEs do not need new fresh campaigns all year round
- lack of capacity for in-house advertising team in terms of experience, strategic thinking and research
- and their inability to consistently generate fresh ideas and new creative campaigns.
Overview: Advertising, marketing and PR in the Commonwealth
The Commonwealth is virtually a market economy where advertising, marketing and public relations (PR) practices exist in all its member countries.
Advertising, marketing and PR practices are strongly interlinked and can be confused to mean one thing. Marketing is mostly concerned with promoting and selling products and services as well as changing and responding to consumer attitudes. Advertising, essentially a subset of marketing, mainly involves the public promotion of some product or service in a ‘one-way’ manner that is business-to-consumer. PR is very similar to marketing and may have similar effects; it involves mainly the management and promotion of an organisation’s or individual’s reputation and image.
Some experts say that the extent to which companies use sophisticated advertising, marketing and PR tools and techniques is mostly a function of the relative size of the economy. In the Commonwealth companies in the United Kingdom and Canada are seen as the most advanced in their marketing methods, and at the other end of the scale, many companies in developing member states are viewed as middle-of-the-road or rudimentary in their approach*.
* The Global Competitiveness Report 2011-2012 data
Marketing and PR consultancies in the Commonwealth
In terms of outsourcing and the existence of standalone specialist companies there is a difference between developed and developing countries. In both developed and developing countries marketing (excluding advertising) and PR are mainly in-house functions of a firm. However, in developed countries regardless of whether or not there is an in-house marketing or a PR department, there also tends to be external consultancies that specialise in marketing and PR, which other firms can approach for advice. Reasons for this difference between developed and developing countries are ostensibly economic but looking more closely at the two:
Advertising agencies in the Commonwealth
Free-standing advertising consultancies or agencies can be found in reasonable numbers in both developed and developing countries. Advertising will in many cases be the most independent specialism of the three (advertising, marketing and PR) perhaps due to the disadvantages of setting up an in-house advertising team which include the
Advertising companies in the Commonwealth will often be of service to big banks, large food and beverage manufacturing companies, telecom companies, pharmaceuticals, vehicle manufacturers and retailers, big supermarkets, household goods manufacturers, multinationals in general and many other companies with the sufficient cash and the necessary sophistication to appreciate the value of the practice.
Advertising firms are increasingly globalised in terms of ownership and knowledge exchange. Advertising agencies which remain in local ownership will often face stiff competition and, at times, dominance from local subsidiaries of multinationals such as WPP (whose subsidiaries include JWT, Ogilvy & Mather, Young & Rubicam or Y&R, Grey), Publicis (Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett), and Omnicom (BBDO Worldwide, DDB Worldwide, TBWA) in securing the most lucrative deals. Consolidation through acquisitions has been a common feature in this industry in the Commonwealth and the rest of the world where acquired companies continue to exist individually in terms of service delivery and client relationships whilst their holding companies, such as WPP, act as the single face in the capital markets.
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