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Revisiting public relations function in the digital era: a study on public relations and marketing practitioners in Hong Kong

Suk Chong Tong (Department of Journalism and Communication, Hong Kong Shue Yan University, North Point, Hong Kong)
Fanny Fong Yee Chan (Department of Marketing, The Hang Seng University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong)

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics

ISSN: 1355-5855

Article publication date: 9 December 2022

128

Abstract

Purpose

Based on both quantitative and qualitative analyses, this study revisits public relations (PR) and marketing practitioners' perceptions of PR function and its relationship with marketing function in the digital context.

Design/methodology/approach

An online survey targeting 234 PR and marketing practitioners was first conducted, followed by a total of 27 in-depth interviews with PR and marketing practitioners.

Findings

Results from the two phases of analysis show that both PR and marketing practitioners perceive market functions as sales-oriented, whereas media relations is interpreted as more of a PR function. Content marketing and influencer marketing via digital communication channels help to enhance the convergence of PR and marketing functions. PR and marketing practitioners believe that PR and marketing functions are integrative, and they are willing to work flexibly for both functions within workplaces.

Originality/value

This study presents a continuum of PR and marketing functions in the digital era that illustrates the role of digital communication in the convergence of PR and marketing functions. The results help to advance the theoretical discussion on both the functional (excellent PR practices and relationship management) and critical (the social role of PR in the participatory culture) approaches of PR in the digital context. Managerial implications are also discussed in addition to the theoretical contributions.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The work described in this paper was fully supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (Project No. UGC/FDS24(15)/H04/16). The first author would like to acknowledge affiliation with the School of Professional Education and Executive Development, Hong Kong Polytechnic University during the submission of this research proposal.

Citation

Tong, S.C. and Chan, F.F.Y. (2022), "Revisiting public relations function in the digital era: a study on public relations and marketing practitioners in Hong Kong", Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/APJML-02-2022-0150

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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