Why isn’t PR taking center stage for IMC in banks?

Why isn’t PR taking center stage for IMC in banks?

As with carbon steel, public relations is about advertising and marketing.

This article seeks to explore why PR has taken center stage rather than being pushed back, as has been the case with the Ghana Bank’s Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) master plan over the years.

I would like to start by appreciating the traditional definitions of public relations, advertising, and marketing. The primary purpose of public relations is to create, maintain and benefit mutually beneficial links between a particular audience and an organization. Even better, PR promotes positive relationships with the many stakeholders in the company by gaining favorable publicity, establishing a positive image of the company, and addressing or avoiding unfavorable rumours, stories and events.

Advertising, on the other hand, is any paid type of impersonal display and promotion of ideas, goods, or services by a particular sponsor. Meanwhile, marketing is primarily concerned with managing profitable customer relationships. The goal of marketing is to provide value to consumers while also obtaining value from them.

From a precise point of view, it is interesting to note that all three fields intersect and can be grouped together as one complete term: Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC). But this is clearly not the case in the grand scheme of things when it comes to Ghanaian banks. Two IMCs are practiced in isolation: advertising and marketing.

public relations research

According to a competitive research I conducted in the retail banking products of over eighteen (18) banks which are members of a particular banking association in Ghana, it was discovered that out of all these banks, on average 15 out of 20 invest a significant amount of people. Resources in advertising and content marketing at the expense of public relations.

The analysis further indicated that a significant number of these organizations have invested heavily in “e-content marketing infrastructure”.

Content marketing is a massive business of developing various online content (such as videos, blogs, social media posts) that does not directly promote a company but is designed to generate interest in its products or services.

Customers’ purchasing decisions are not primarily driven by motivating or mitigating them. This is because if these customers find a better solution elsewhere, your brand (the bank) risks losing that customer.

Essentially, the bank spent the entire time promoting rather than developing and setting up. It should be noted that there is no real-time relationship during the content marketing process.

Despite this trend, the interesting reality is that both public relations, marketing and advertising have the potential to provide a return on investment. In any case, their campaign actually takes resources from the target population and returns them – the theory of resource dependence.

Regardless of their individual return on investment (ROI), their efforts may not be sustained due to sustainability.

To maintain the return on investment, purposeful, comprehensive and integrated activities are required.

The lines between advertising, marketing and public relations are becoming increasingly blurred, and they should not be practiced in isolation.

Minor differences – PRAnd Advertising and Marketing

Advertising may not be the ideal way to build trust in an integrated marketing communications plan. Public relations in general is a superior approach to establishing credibility. It is trustworthy because the public believes that the PR messages come from the medium and not from the brand.

In other words, editorial notes are more likely to be more reliable than advertisements. Glowing assertions about a retail banking product or bank in editorials are likely to be taken seriously because they were written by an unbiased reporter.

According to James E. Grunig, Editor for Excellence in Public Relations and Communications Management, the primary objective of public relations is to save money for the organization by developing relationships with the public that will allow the organization to fulfill its mission, while the primary objective of marketing is to make money for the organization by increasing the slope of the demand curve .


It is useful to note that advertising is a necessary communication system for PR and marketing professionals, and cannot be left out of the window for any reason. Besides, PR is mainly employed by marketers in their promotional mix. Then again, PR also employs marketing and advertising in its quest to manage the mutually beneficial relationships between various public investors, media, employees, government, clients, multicultural communities, corporations, etc.

IMC . implementation

Implementation of the merger has become controversial in some banks. In most banks, the marketing department is the dominant voice. PR is reduced to a support function only in terms of technologies rather than playing a role in the overall management and strategy development of the bank.

Often this means and indicates that PR is solely responsible for tactics such as creating publicity for the product, planning event promotions, and arranging informational interviews at trade shows. This annoying trend, in my opinion, must stop.

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC)

Although there are clear differences between the areas of advertising, marketing and public relations, there is a growing recognition that an integrated approach to achieving the organization’s goals and objectives is the most effective.

This idea gave rise to terms such as “integrated marketing communications,” “convergent communications,” and “integrated communications” in the 1990s.

Integrated marketing communication is a marketing communication planning concept that recognizes the value of a comprehensive plan that evaluates the strategic roles of the various disciplines of communication—public advertising, sales promotion, and public relations—and combines these disciplines to provide clarity, consistency, and maximum communication impact (Wilcox et al., 2007).

IMC . factors

Several factors fueled the trend towards integration:

The first is downsizing the banks. A good number of banks have consolidated departments and reduced the number of employees dedicated to various specializations of communication. As a result, one department, such as the marketing department, with fewer employees, is expected to perform a greater range of communication tasks. In hindsight, PR was pushed back.

Apart from eliminating positions for PR personnel, marketing and communications departments are constrained due to insufficient funding.

Many banks are looking for new ways to disseminate information in order to avoid the high cost of advertising. This may include influencer marketing, marketing strategies, media relations, product presentation, and event sponsorship.

Third, there is a growing recognition that advertising, at its colossal expense, is no longer the panacea it once was. Part of the problem is the growing chaos of advertising and its general lack of credibility among consumers.

In a broader sense, public relations can be used to launch a banking or loan product, advertising can be adopted to further the message, however finally marketing can be used to sell the product or service to a well-defined audience.

Marketing Public Relations

Dennis L. Wilcox, in his text Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques, highlights a number of ways in which PR activities contribute to achieving marketing goals:

I. developing new prospects for new markets, such as people inquiring after seeing or hearing a product launch in news media, and providing third party endorsements via newspapers, magazines, radio and television; Through media groups, news releases about company products or services, community engagement, inventions, and new plans.

Secondly. Generating sales leads, usually through press announcements about new products and services. Public relations professionals usually know how to write for news media and how to work with journalists. Therefore, marketers invite them to write publicity for the product and arrange media coverage of new products.

Third. Make way for sales calls.

Fourthly. Extending the organization’s advertising and promotion costs through supportive and timely releases about the organization and its products.

v. Provide cheap sales literature because articles about the company and its products can be reprinted as informational pieces for potential clients.

VI. Establish the company as a reliable source of information about a particular product.

VII. Helping sell small products without a big advertising budget

Advertising in marketing

All over the world, we are starting to see a lack of credibility in the advertising and marketing industry. Advertising and marketing have the power to drive purchasing decisions, and one can choose a whole host of examples here. Notwithstanding this, guiding a customer or consumer’s purchasing decisions is not a guarantee of repeat purchase. Distinguished customers may see an advertisement or a marketing strategy contingent upon either a testimonial, card, cart, or transportation publicity (Wilcox and Cameron, 2007).

Testimonial advertising is a frequently used tool for achieving credibility. A brand ambassador, well-known expert, famous celebrity, or layman provides testimony about the value of the product or the wisdom of decision-making.

Advertising is a genre that attempts to draw people into a specific cause by giving the impression that many others have already joined and are happier or better off doing so.

The act of displaying only the best features of a service or product with the intentional omission of details that detract from that image. Practice includes straight lies about what is being advertised as well as half-truths or spins designed to appear convincing. In other words, the choice of facts and data is to construct an overwhelming case from one side of the case while concealing the other.

Finally, identifying a person, product, or organization with anything of importance, prominence, or credibility is a conveying technique.

Many banks, for example, pay thousands of cedes to be official sponsors of major events in the hope that the public will associate their goods with quality.

way forward

In a broader sense, if Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) is to be adopted and used in banking, advertising and marketing should not hold back from PR efforts. They must be integrated and be on the same wavelength.

Given the level of deception the average Ghanaian has about banking in exchange for a banking cleanup in August of 2017, advertising and marketing have no power to reshape this perception and ensure current trends are accepted. But PR will do that.

A brief examination of the websites of the banks included in the said study revealed that approximately 5 out of the 20 sample (banks) had a press/media center.

The rest of the websites are filled with advertisements and infographics for personal loans, bank insurance, card services, business banking, and other services. However, that will not withstand the scrutiny and anger that comes with the crisis. However, the PR will.

Unfortunately, banks have prioritized CRM over internal public relations. Bank relationship managers create and maintain profitable customer relationships by providing greater customer value and pleasure. It is also worth noting that relationship managers are responsible for all elements of customer acquisition, retention and expansion from the moment a statement of interest is issued or set up.

However, the elephant in the room is this: Are the relationship managers in Ghanaian banks specialized in public relations with the ability to manage crisis, image and reputation?

Jerry Avronnotes is a freelance journalist, writer, and public relations intern/researcher with the Ministry of Roads and Highways. Twitter: https://twitter.com/jerravornyotse Email: jerryavornyotse.freelancejrnl@gmail.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *