What is the difference between Strategic Communication, PR, PA and Digital Marketing?2 min read

What is the difference between Strategic Communication, Public Relations, Public Affairs, and Digital Marketing? Although there are slight differences between the government practices of Strategic Communication and Public Affairs and the civilian practices of Public Relations and Digital Marketing, there is also a lot of overlap and lessons that can be applied across these disciplines.

Even though definitions continue to evolve, here are the ones 46alpha is currently working with:


Strategic Communication

The coordinated and appropriate use of communication activities and capabilities in support of government policies, operations, and activities in order to synchronize words and deeds and advance national interests. Communication activities include but are not limited to:

  • Public Diplomacy: Civilian communication and outreach efforts responsible for promoting awareness of and building understanding in support of government policies, operations, and activities.
  • Public Affairs: Expedites the proactive release of accurate information to domestic and international audiences, facilitates informed perceptions about military operations, undermines adversarial propaganda, and helps achieve national, strategic, and operational objectives.
  • Information Operations: Military information activities in order to create desired effects on the will, understanding, and capabilities of adversaries in support of military operations, missions and objectives.
  • Psychological Operations: planned psychological activities using methods of communications and other means directed to approved audiences in order to influence perceptions, attitudes, and behavior affecting the achievement of political and military objectives.

(Source: Generalized version of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization definition)

 


Public Relations (PR)

A strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.

  • Corporate Communications
  • Crisis Communications
  • Executive Communications
  • Internal Communications
  • Investor Relations Communications
  • Marketing Communications
  • Integrated Marketing/Integrated Marketing Communications
  • Media Relations
  • Content Creation
  • Events
  • Social Media
  • Multimedia
  • Reputation Management
  • Speechwriting
  • Brand Journalism

(Source: Public Relations Society of America)


Public Affairs (PA)

The proactive release of accurate information to domestic and international audiences puts joint operations in context, facilitates informed perceptions about military operations, undermines adversarial propaganda, and helps achieve national, strategic, and operational objectives.

(Source: Joint Publication 3-61, Public Affairs)


Digital Marketing

Digital marketing encompasses all marketing efforts that use an electronic device or the internet. Businesses leverage digital channels such as search engines, social media, email, and other websites to connect with current and prospective customers.

(Source: Hubspot)