Digital PR firms like Interdependence have completely changed the face of public relations as we know it. Just like other major industries, PR has been just as affected by world events relating to war, politics, and advances in technology. Public relations relies on customer engagement and overall public opinion, and the way those things are achieved have changed dramatically.
It’s fairly obvious why PR business practices have changed – just consider the way we take in information in 2019. We are bombarded with tons of information about things happening around the world (some of them more important than others) through tiny screens that we can’t seem to detach ourselves from.
More specifically that the constant use of mobile devices, though, are some events that have led to the evolution of public relations over the years.
How it All Began
Before we can look into how PR has changed, we must first understand how it all started. One of the first practices of public relations recorded happened in 1915, when John D. Rockefeller was advised to hand out coins to begging children in order to “look good”. The same person that advised Rockefeller on this, Ivy Lee, also invented what we know today as the press release.
PR business really started to take off in the 1940s, but not necessarily in a way that benefited the world. Adolf Hitler set out with his propaganda campaign, which today is referred to as one of the most successful PR efforts in the world. Because of this success, many American businessmen started to see the importance of PR and implemented it into their business models.
The First Major Change in the 90s
In 1991, the world wide web became accessible to the general public. This was a major turning point for PR. In fact, it completely transformed it in every way. After that the technological advancements just kept rolling through, including the invention of email – Microsoft Hotmail was the first one. Fax machines and beepers became “so last year”.
With the invention of email, it meant that PR agents and PR-savvy business owners could send information at lightning speed, and not just to one person, but many recipients. It used to be that a PR agent had to run to the closest telephone or fax machine, but that all changed at the turn of the century.
The Era of Social Media
The next big thing to happen to PR was the creation of the 24-hour news channel, like CNN and MSNBC. A few years later in the early 2000s, social media became a thing. This didn’t just increase the access to news and trends happening around the world, it actually made it difficult to keep up with everything going on.
After that, more and more innovations have been made in regards to technology that affect the way PR agents perform. Traditional PR is becoming a thing of the past, and digital PR is taking over. Firms that aren’t focused on digital marketing efforts are falling behind and eventually becoming obsolete.