10 Facts About PR That May Surprise You

Public relations is a critical component of any company’s marketing and communications strategy, but there’s more to PR than media outreach and crisis management. It may surprise you to know, for example, that PR has been around since 37000 BC, and the first PR agency was formed in Boston around 1900. Another interesting historical note is that someone used to have to physically read every single newspaper a PR person pitched to find client mentions. So, tracking media coverage required actually clipping stories from newsprint – a tedious and time-consuming job, for which workers were typically paid only pennies.

Here are 10 other fun facts about public relations that illustrate its longevity and value:

1.  Ivy Lee, considered by some to be the father of modern PR, issued the first press release in 1906 when he convinced Pennsylvania Railroad executives to disclose information about a train accident.

2. Lee achieved another PR milestone in 1914 when the wealthy Rockefeller family hired him to reform their image. After a deadly coal strike damaged Rockefellers’ reputation, Lee organized a comprehensive PR campaign to earn positive goodwill. He used government and media relations, and also orchestrated in-person meetings between John D. Rockefeller and miners. The effort launched PR onto a larger platform than ever before and helped define the discipline’s role within corporations.

3. Edward Bernays coined the term “public relations” in 1923. 

4. Bernays was the nephew of Sigmund Freud and used his uncle’s theories to shape public opinion.

5. PR can be traced back to ancient civilizations, such as the Egyptians and Greeks, who used symbols and propaganda to communicate with the public. In other words, it started with stone carvings!

6. Founded in 1947, the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) is the largest professional organization for PR practitioners. The nonprofit has a code of ethics that outlines professional standards and ethical practices for people who practice PR.

7. The “I Love NY” campaign, created by Milton Glaser in 1977, is one of the most recognizable PR campaigns in the world. I’m sure you can picture the famous logo that featured a red heart to communicate the word “love.” 

8. One of the most famous PR campaigns in history was the “Got Milk?” campaign, which Goodby Silverstein & Partners created for the California Milk Processor Board in 1993.

9. In the United States alone, there are more than 56,000 PR firms worth an estimated $17.8billion.

10. PR is a global industry, with PR agencies operating on every continent.

PR is a challenging field that requires strong writing, communication and relationship-building skills. It can benefit business owners by helping them manage reputations, establish credibility, increase awareness and respond to crises. Successful organizations of any size – from small businesses to multinational corporations – leverage the basics of PR to help them communicate more effectively with important stakeholders and achieve business goals.

The pros at GYC Vegas, an award-winning boutique PR agency, do all of that and more every day for a variety of clients. With decades of PR experience in dozens of industries, including health care, aviation, technology, lifestyle, hotel and gaming, entertainment and nonprofits, GYC works with companies of all sizes. The Las Vegas firm specializes in strategic PR, marketing, branding, community relations, special events, crisis management and other tactics customized to directly correlate to business objectives. Contact us today for a free consultation on how we can help you harness the power of a tool that’s only gotten more effective over time.

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