The Evolution of Public Relations


Public relations as a dynamic and forever evolving discipline, has for decades decided to revolutionize itself rather than only succumb itself  to the inevitable occurrence of evolution.

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It has very dynamically transformed itself from being a practice of merely placing stories in the media and the promotion of movie and television stars through the use of newspapers and other devices to becoming an immensely conversational discipline, placing immense emphasis to understanding human behaviour and responding to people in the peculiarity of their preference.

A major milestone in the history of public relations came about with the Tylenol capsule mishap, where a 12-year old girl Mary Kellerman died after taking a Extra-Strength Tylenol capsule. Johnson and Johnson was quick to react to such a crisis declaring that the company’s responsibilities were first towards the consumers and the medical professionals using its product, and that it was essential to maintain the safety of its publics. This is what became  the key to the brands survival after such a mishap. This occurrence evolved the role of the public relations officers from passive strategists to very active and apt decision makers.

Another shocking examination of the public relations officers or the spokes people capabilities was when there was when in 1993 a syringe was found in a Pepsi can. This instance saw the public relations officers turning into crisis counsellors. After the newspaper releases, this era saw the dissemination of video’s through the television stations, where the footage of , Gail Levine, putting objects into a Diet Pepsi can, was broadcasted across the nation to project brands innocence and image.
As the world saw the new millennium, it also consequently witnessed the absolute mushrooming of pr agencies in the world, doubled from over 100,000 from the 1960′s.

The world experienced a severe blow with what happened on the Sept 11th. The pr strategies after September 11th were specifically channelized to create a public information campaign in order to show the citizens and visitors as how can the information be mass accessed be used  and for this there was a website created to tell the citizens of the occurrences in their city.

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The new millennium saw the coming of youtube in 2005, twitter in 2006 and on March 23, 2006, Shift Communications, a mid-sized independent PR agency, released the very first template of a social media news release (SMNR).
This came along as an absolute response to the harsh criticism that the traditional news releases had been drawing for a while because of the widespread perception that they were full of hype and of little value to reporters.

One of the most influential and the most prominent of the voices that paved the way for a new approach to news release writing was that of  Tom Foremski, a blogger at Silicon Valley Watcher, announced the death of the news release in his absolutely hyped up post- “Die! Press release! Die! Die! Die!”.

The last landmark was when Facebook went corporate in 2006, providing the activity of public relations with the most dynamic and easily accessible of the platforms to disseminate all of the user oriented information.
Public relations as of the year 2011 is now on the path of engulfing all of the communication tools within its fold, and is accounting for the for the fact that not one but all of the available mass communication tools, or a combination of them are fast becoming prominent vehicles of reaching the key publics.

We at McCollins Media are of the opinion that the practices of Public Relations and Social Media complement each other. To accentuate this very fact we had recently organizes a bloggers meet for Samsung and Imation, along with subsequent Press Conferences

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