Public Relations Decade by Decade
The public relations industry, more than any other, continuously evolves and adapts to the ever-changing world around it. Though the channels of distribution transformed from selling newspapers on the streets to sending tweets online, the goal remained steadfast — strategically share information to the public and gain the attention of key influencers.
This month, Impact goes back in time to share how our team transcended trends and stayed on top of our game for more than 30 years. Join us decade by decade as we reminisce on the history of Public Relations and Communication.
A look at public relations in the ’80s and ’90s
While the world was playing Whitney Houston’s, “I Wanna’ Dance with Somebody” on their Sony Walkmans, public-relations strategists searched media contacts in their rolodexes and called reporters via Ma Bell and the local telephone company. Publicists’ trusty address books served up names, numbers, and street addresses. We stuffed envelopes for our direct mail campaigns and sent media alerts to assignment desk editors via facsimile (fax) machines. Weekly news conferences and media desk sides delivered editorial agendas to the press. And, consumers started paying attention to brands, corporate leaders, and corporate social-responsibility stances.
Then came the 90’s. Legwarmers and the Information Super Highway showed up. The world-wide web, minus the legwarmers, changed life as we know it. Hotmail silenced the screech of office fax machines. Meanwhile, public relations experts pitched to online media outlets and editors in addition to the traditional printed publications. Workloads doubled. Relationships reigned. PR fell under the communication umbrella. Business cards flaunted urls and email addresses for the first time. A new practice of public relations emerged: research, communication, planning and action.
This is part 1 of our 3-part series. Be sure to come back and see what happened at the turn of the century!
Your marketing momma,
Cheryl McCants ~ Impact President and CEO