“This is not a secret press bureau. All our work is done in the open. We aim to supply news.” -Ivy Lee
In 1906, Ivy Lee issued the “Declaration of Principles.” This “declaration” laid the groundwork for public relations. In his “Declaration of Principles,” Lee stated that the public and the press had a right to know timely and accurate information regarding a company’s actions and thus the ideology of public relations was born.
Ivy Lee is arguably one of the first public relations professionals. Following his “declaration” he went on to work for John D. Rockefeller, Bethlehem Steel Corporation, and Charles M. Schwab. The American Red Cross was even one of his clients during World War I. But, a lot has changed since he declared the purpose of public relations back in 1906.
Technology, social media and journalism have shaped and reshaped the media world we work in today. With all this change, public relations has continued to adapt and evolve.
Looking back on the history and historians of PR, it’s easy to see that many of the lessons over the past century are still relevant today. Regardless of the time or place, PR is still essential.
Below is a list of quotes that regardless of the digital age, the political climate, or the evolution of communication, still ring true for us PR professionals today:
“If a young man tells his date how handsome, smart and successful he is – that’s advertising. If the young man tells his date she’s intelligent, looks lovely, and is a great conversationalist, he’s saying the right things to the right person and that’s marketing. If someone else tells the young woman how handsome, smart and successful her date is – that’s PR.” – S. H. Simmons
“PR is a mix of journalism, psychology, and lawyering – it’s an ever-changing and always interesting landscape.” – Ronn Torossian
“We believe PR should be practiced to serve the public interest, to develop mutual understanding between organizations and their publics.” – James E. Grunig
“In a downturn, aggressive PR and communications strategy is key.” – Doug Leone
“Publicity is absolutely critical. A good PR story is infinitely more effective than a front-page ad.” – Richard Branson
“Historically, PR, marketing and advertising budgets are the first to be cut; however, that could be one of the first mistakes a business makes in an economic crisis.” – CBS Marketwatch
“Without publicity, there is no prosperity.” – Yakov Zel’dovich
“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers.” – Daniel J. Boorstin
“When it comes to public relations, perception is reality. The reality is, the size, scope and strengths of the campaign must be directed towards a specific target audience in order for it to be effectively executed.” ― Germany Kent
“It’s PR that needs to be creative. It’s PR that needs to be new and different. It’s PR that needs to be original. The best way to establish a brand is to create a new category, and creating a new category requires creative thinking of the highest order.” – Al & Laura Ries
“In the digital era, content is the most important asset a business can have. It’s no longer your product or your service, it’s the content you create about it (and around it) that gets you found and noticed.” ― Iliyana Stareva
“The history of PR is… a history of a battle for what is reality and how people will see and understand reality.” – Stuart Ewen
We work in a world that is constantly changing. It is arguably one of the most transformative times in media history. But, as we continue to shape the way we communicate, we need to remember why we do what we do. PR will always change but we’ll always supply the news.