As we all know, public relations or shortly PR isn’t a new invention. Starting from antiquity, people knew the importance of speaking with the public. It was essential to work on a positive public image in order to achieve the needed results. However, public relations as we know it now takes its roots in the 18th century. The city of London is considered the birth center of PR. The creator of public relations is considered to be Georgiana Cavendish, who was managing the campaign for Charles James Fox. The main focus was on the Whig party. In the 20th century, PR started to be used for really professional purposes. It started to be structured. Many experts claim that the first public relations expert was Ivy Lee, while Edward Bernays is also known as the father of PR. These two personalities made a huge effort to see PR as it is now!
PR Creators: Ivy Lee vs. Edward Bernays
There are many debates about the real founder of public relations. Some people claim it was Ivy Lee and others have all the proof that it was Edward Bernays. There are many historians who demonstrate their arguments. You have the right to choose the most reasonable point of view. They both were remarkable personalities who influenced the development of modern public relations. What should interest you the most is their devoted work and enormous contribution to the PR.
Ivy Lee was working for Standard Oil, whose creator was John D. Rockefeller. Ivy was the first to introduce the PR term to the worldwide audience. He is the one who pioneered the press release, which was successfully used for attracting new clients.
Edward was working on refining the press release, created by Ivy Lee. He convinced the public that press releases are one of the most efficient public relation tools. Edward devoted a lot of time in structuring the theory of public relations for the next generations. The main influence of Bernays was the professor Sigmund Freud. He formed many concepts of public relations. He is the author of a series of PR books. The most popular are “Crystallizing Public Opinion”, “The Engineering of Consent”, and “Propaganda”. If you work in the PR sphere, make sure you keep them in your collection. Bernays used to believe that public relations is a science for manipulating the public opinion. PR experts use other disciplines, such as sociology, psychology, etc.
Public Relations As a Tool for Propaganda
As you already know, Ivy Lee, Edward Bernays and many other creators of public relations, for John W. Hill and Carl Byoir, they all formed PR science. However, they also were using PR in propaganda to influence the public opinion. It is one of the main reasons why public relations has a sort of a ”bad” reputation even now. Many people still use PR tools for spreading propaganda.
How Does Public Relations Change with the Invention of the Internet?
The day people discovered the advantages of the internet was a new chapter of the history of public relations. It is responsible for a huge change in worldwide communication. People turn to the online world with a huge speed. PR has to adapt a lot in order to spread information about brands, companies, products, and services using new ways and tactics. Modern public relations use both the traditional and modern tools and tactics, such as blogging, content seeding, SEO, podcasts, etc.