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Public Relations: A brief history

Public Relations: A brief history

Play around Wikipedia and you can’t help but stumble onto some rather astonishing historical facts. Here’s one:

A clay tablet found in ancient Iraq that promoted more advanced agricultural techniques is sometimes considered the first known example of public relations.

So, PR has indeed been around a loooonnnggg time!

But, that’s really not all that surprising. The ability to convince, the ability to use words and images to influence someone over to your way of thinking, is a particularly unique human trait. And, given that one of the tenants of PR is persuasion, you might also find it fascinating to take a stroll down the streets of ancient Rome, Greece, Egypt, and 5th century Europe.

Here are a few more nuggets from Wikipedia:

“Babylonian, Egyptian, and Persian leaders created pyramids, obelisks and statues to promote their divine right to lead. Additionally, claims of magic or religious authority were used to persuade the public of a king or pharaoh’s right to rule.”

Julius Caesar wrote the first campaign biography promoting his military successes. He also commissioned newsletters and poems to support his political position.

In medieval Europe, craftsmen organized into guilds that managed their collective reputations.

So, if PR – the craft of persuading, informing, and integrating publics, and the part of the communications puzzle that builds brand affinity through third party endorsement – has been around for so very long, surely it must of changed over the millennia. Well, in many ways it has. As it has with just about everything, digital and social media have forever changed the way we “get the word out.”

But, what HASN’T changed is the WORD itself. It’s still all about content, it’s all about the STORY. Whether you’re pitching traditional media or blogs; whether you’re reaching out via email, Twitter, or going really old school and actually CALLING an editor on the phone; whether it’s a local TV station or a podcast, what HASN’T changed is that you have to be able to tell a compelling story.

We do a lot of story mining for our clients. The stories we tell help brand and differentiate our clients in a crowded marketplace and are always strategically integrated into the larger marketing programs we deploy. We find ALL the stories – ‘cause there’s always more than one – a business has to tell. We ask questions: is it a local story? National? Is it a business story AND a feature/lifestyle story? How do we tie what the company is doing to a larger trend? Is the CEO a story?

Then we tell those stories to the RIGHT PEOPLE. Editors, reporters, and bloggers at trade publications, local newspapers, national magazines, syndicated podcasts and blogs…whatever medium our clients’ customers use to get their news and make their decisions…they’re all venues where we want our story to be told.

 

Give us the media relations team at Avocet a call and let’s talk about YOUR STORY!!