Our public relations book shares a quote by William Shakespeare in the chapter about the history of public relations: “What is past is prologue.” I interpret this to mean that what happened in the past is something that may again happen in the future… or more cliche, “History repeats itself.” While it was interesting reading about the fathers of public relations, Ivy Ledbetter Lee and Edward Bernays, the repetition of history was probably the most important information that I took away from Chapter 3. I enjoyed reading about the different practices that were used in public relations in the past and relating them to present day public relations practices.
For example, Christianity was spread by word of mouth in the middle ages. Even though public relations has evolved and matured while using different channels, word of mouth is a way that is still used to help relate your organization to its publics. Brains on Fire, is a marketing agency in Greenville, S.C. that prides itself on helping organizations build movements. This quote comes directly from their web site: “Born out of the bone between word of mouth marketing and identity development, we are devoted to helping organizations discover and sustain excitement about who they are and why they exist.” This company constantly blogs about WOMM (Word of Mouth Marketing). The Brains on Fire Blog has a category specifically for Word of Mouth. Take a look at their recent posts about WOMM.
Can you think of other ways that public relations practices from the past are still used by today’s public relations practitioners?