The Differences Between PR And Reputation Management

reputation management in public relationsToday, brands have to work harder than ever to maintain their public image, but knowing exactly how to manage your brand’s image is key. Many think that public relations (PR) and reputation management are the same thing. However, this confusion can lead to missed opportunities. In this blog post, you will learn the differences between PR and reputation management.

Isn’t Public Relations All About Reputation?

To understand if public relations is all about reputation, let’s look at what PR means:

Public Relations: the professional maintenance of a favorable public perception by a company, organization, or celebrity.

So yes, PR is all about promoting a good reputation to the public. You need that to maintain a positive public image. But, how is this any different from reputation management?

Public relations and reputation management are two sides of the same coin. Public relations is a much older practice. It deals with the media and the press to sway public opinion. The focus is on swaying public opinion and building media relationships.

The need for online reputation management (ORM) came about with the rise of the internet. It also tries to influence public opinion. But, it focuses on managing reviews, online engagement, content creation, etc.

The focus here is on you, your brand, and your own content. It sways public opinion by controlling what information they can actually find about you.

So, reputation definitely falls under the PR umbrella. However, public relations is more outward-facing. Reputation management is more inward-facing.

Think of PR as the actors who want people to see them. Meanwhile, reputation management is the set crew working behind the scenes, and you shouldn’t see them.


Before we get into the differences, let’s look at the similarities. Both reputation management and public relations aim to:

  • Communicate the same messaging across all platforms. This builds trust and credibility.
  • Ease negative publicity and manage how stakeholders receive information in a reputation crisis situation.
  • Use online platforms to boost visibility and engage with a brand’s audience.
  • Monitor how the public views an organization by listening to feedback and adjusting strategies.
  • Create content strategically (although the type of content is different).
  • Engaging with stakeholders, including customers, employees, partners, media, etc.
  • Build trust among stakeholders for long-term success.
  • Promote and uphold a brand’s values and ethics.

Public relations and reputation management strategies have similar end-goals. They both promote a positive brand image. These two areas work well together to achieve this, but the way they get there is just a little bit different.

Why Is Reputation Important In Public Relations?

In public relations, reputation matters because it affects everything. This includes:

  • Trust and credibility among stakeholders. Without trust, people will be skeptical of anything a PR team says.
  • Ability to influence the public. A good reputation plays a crucial role in PR. It helps people accept what your brand has to say.
  • Business opportunities. This includes partnerships, collaborations, and expansions.
  • Ability to mitigate reputational damage. People give brands with good reputations more leeway.
  • Ability to recruit top talent to your business. Respected companies attract better employees.
  • Ability to compete in a saturated market. Consumers are more likely to buy from companies known for their ethics, quality, and customer service.
  • A company’s finances. Investors and stakeholders are more likely to support a company with a strong reputation.
differences between pr and reputation management

Public relations and reputation management overlap quite a lot. However, they do have some key differences in goals, focus, and strategy.

5 Ways Public Relations Is Different Than Reputation Management

Public relations (PR) uses many strategies to achieve their goals. These strategies are typically outside the scope of reputation management. But, they still work well alongside it.

Media relations

Media relations is about creating a strong relationship between a brand and the media. This relationship means that a company can effectively communicate to the public. Media relations typically involves:

  • Reaching out to journalists, editors, or influencers to pitch stories of interest about the brand. When done effectively, media outreach can create news stories, features, and interviews that promote the brand’s messaging.
  • Building strong relationships with the media. PR professionals spend a lot of time nurturing these relationships with media outlets. This includes regular communication, offering exclusive insights, and being a reliable source of information.
  • Monitoring media coverage. PR teams and brands need to understand how people view the brand so they can adjust accordingly. This includes tracking coverage online, as well as in broadcast and printed media.
  • Handling media questions. When people want to know more about an organization, it’s important to control the narrative. A PR team can help brands communicate in an open and responsive way. This is especially helpful in times of controversy.
  • Submitting applications for industry awards. These can help elevate the brand’s status if they win or receive a nomination.
  • Pr Crisis management.  When dealing with a brand or personal crisis, communicating immediately, and transparently is critical. PR professionals can create a crisis communication press release and manage the flow of information.
  • Creating opinion pieces and thought leadership articles. These pieces showcase the company’s expertise on industry-relevant topics. Brand leaders can write them themselves, or PR teams can write them on behalf of the company.
  • Developing press kits. A press kit is a set of promotional materials that offer information about a brand. This can include products, biographies, images, current news, FAQ sheets, and more. They make it as easy as possible for journalists to write accurate stories about a brand.
  • Managing and executives personal reputation and having a plan in place for any personal reputation crisis a CEO or upper management may find themselves in which would relate back to the company or brand.

Event management

A hands-on PR team is key to a successful brand event. They can help organize and manage launches, press conferences, public appearances, interviews, etc. These events allow brands to gain media coverage and engage with stakeholders and the public. Here are some things a PR team can help with:

  • Defining the goal of the event to make sure that it aligns with the brand’s overall strategy.
  • Identifying the target audience so they can tailor their messaging.
  • Choosing a venue, coordinating with vendors, and providing general on-site management.
  • Promoting the event through press releases, social media, email, and media invites. They also facilitate media coverage before, during, and after the event
  • Writing speeches, presentations, press materials, and social media content for an event.
  • Media training for spokespersons and executives. This includes handling interviews, staying on message, and handling tricky questions.
  • Reaching out to celebrities and influencers to either attend, participate, or promote the event.
  • Informing stakeholders about the event. This includes sponsors, partners, and attendees.
  • Following up with attendees and the media after the event. They will thank participants and ask for feedback.

Internal communications

PR can help companies maintain a positive reputation internally as well as externally. This ensures that employees stay informed and motivated. Here are some ways PR can help with internal communications:

  • Write and send out regular employee newsletters. This keeps everyone informed about company news, achievements, and upcoming events.
  • Update the company’s network with news and resources.
  • Run internal campaigns to promote initiatives and boost corporate reputation
  • Coordinate team building activities, annual company meetings, etc to reinforce company culture and build relationships.
  • Craft messages from the senior management to employees. These can share strategies, changes, or any important announcements.
  • Train employees about the importance of PR and how to act as brand ambassadors. They can also train employees about their role in a crisis.
  • Implement employee feedback systems to foster two-way communications.
  • Develop programs to reward employee achievements to help with morale.

Investor relations

A brand’s relationship with investors is so important. Without this, a company risks losing their funding. PR professionals work to maintain this relationship. Here’s how:

  • Offering regular updates through quarterly and annual reports. They can also send investor newsletters to keep them informed.
  • Organizing investor meetings to discuss performance, business strategy, and market position and trends.
  • Hosting investor days. These events let senior management present to investors about strategy, operations, and opportunities.
  • Reaching out to new investors who might have interest in the company.
  • Ensuring communications adhere to regulatory compliance.

Community relations

Community relations is about building a good relationship between a company and the community they operate in. This relationship enhances a brand’s reputation and paves the way for long-term success. Here is how a PR team can help with this:

  • Develop community engagement programs. This includes volunteering, sponsorships, or educational projects. These programs showcase the brand’s commitment to the community itself.
  • Create partnerships with local nonprofits, schools, community groups, etc. This helps address the needs of the community and boost the company’s image
  • Organize local events like festivals, fairs, or charity runs. This enhances visibility and goodwill.
  • Creates opportunities for community feedback. This includes town hall meetings, surveys, focus groups, etc.
  • Implement and promote eco-friendly policies that benefit the local community. This includes reducing emissions, sponsoring clean-ups, or supporting local conservation.
  • Encourage employees to participate in community activities.
  • Maintain transparency about company activities that impact the community.


Understanding the difference between reputation management and PR can be confusing. Now that you know what makes PR different, your brand can choose the right services.

free reputation consultation

However, PR and reputation management often go hand-in-hand. When you need expert help, the team at Reputation911 is here for you. We offer business reputation management services customized to your brand’s needs. Contact us for a free consultation.

About The Author

William DiAntonio is the Founder & CEO of Reputation911, a reputation management firm he founded in 2010 that has earned the trust of its clients for over a decade by helping individuals, businesses and brands control their online search results.

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