Although the lines between marketing and PR have blurred, their purposes and responsibilities remain distinct. The best brands and companies find ways to align the two, but even the most disciplined teams can sometimes find themselves engaged in bitter turf wars. A company or organization divided cannot stand.
On the opening day of PR News' Digital PR Conference in Miami (June 1-3), the session "Integrated Communications: How Marketing & PR Are Collaborating on Digital Now" will look at what it really takes for PR and marketing to achieve mutual understanding and respect. Ahead of the conference, here are four tips for solving conflicts between marketing and PR, courtesy of Havilah R. Ross, marketing communications manager at Six Flags America.
- Solve conflict by discovering its root. Survey the situation. Conflicts can arise for many difference reasons including disagreement over the company's objective, a personality conflict, an out of control ego or a simple misunderstanding due to lack of appropriate communication. Make getting to the root of the issue your priority.
- Be willing to listen to and understand each other's departmental goals and needs. Everyone has his/her own agenda for his/her department. Make a conscious decision not to be offended by anything anyone says, even if it disparages your department. Assume goodwill.
- Emphasize your common cause. Whether you are in PR or marketing, you all work for the same company and share a common cause. During a conflict, it can be important to remind your colleagues of this simple fact. When you know your common cause, you can work with a clear focus on goals and tasks.
- Work through the entire conflict to resolve it without someone being the “loser.” The entire conflict resolution process is best done in a non-confrontational environment, (i.e. out to lunch, outside of a regular standing meeting). There should be no winners or losers, only what's best for the company.
Follow Havilah R. Ross on Twitter: @HavilahRRoss
Follow Brian Greene on Twitter: @bw_greene