Looking for the Next Big Public Relations Idea? The History of PR Offers Inspiration: Museum of Public Relations' Shelley Spector (Video)

How do you get the public to adopt new technologies, eat healthier or re-build confidence in the financial system?   

As a starting point, look back at 1930s, 40s and 50s public relations campaigns for inspiration. 

History of Public Relations

The pioneers of PR have been down this path before.  They created iconic and powerful public relations campaigns that drove the adoption of the highway system, changed breakfast eating habits and helped the country recover after the Great Depression.

In the latest Communicators to Communicators 3-minute Insights video, Shelley Spector, Founder of the Museum of Public Relations and President of Spector Corporate Communications & Public Affairs, shares perspective on why the history of PR matters.   

She highlights the importance of looking at past PR campaigns as a source of case studies to inform approaches to current communications challenges and details the critical role of research for PR’s pioneers to identifying consumer insights.

Spector also discusses something all too easily forgotten in the frenzy of the contemporary digital landscape – PR is really an applied social science that has more to do with psychology, than communications. 

In the video, she argues today’s practitioners should focus less on channels and more on big ideas as the key to successful campaigns.

As someone who’s worked in the industry for 25 years, I'm reminded of the value of taking the time to re-visit what came before.

As Marcus Garvey said, in a very different context, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” 

If you look at the roots of public relations, you'll find a firmer foundation for contemporary practice.          


Simon Erskine Locke, Founder & CEO of CommunicationsMatchTM 

Locke writes extensively on issues related to communications, PR, media and behaviors.  

Prior to founding CommunicationsMatch, he held senior corporate communications roles at Prudential Financial, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank and founded communications consultancies.   


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