By Kevin Donnellon
Last week, I attended a very entertaining and enlightening presentation as part of the DePaul Graduate Program in Public Relations and Advertising.
The program is run by my friend and renowned public relations pundit Ron Culp. PR Week rates his DePaul program as one of the top five over the last four years. By the way, Ron’s blog Culpwrit, guiding PR careers, is one of the most read in the industry.
The topic of the class was “Chicago Corporations And Their Agencies – A Unique And Fun History.” Bruce Weindruch, the leader of The History Factory made the presentation. I love that Bruce’s company is known for “helping the world’s leading organizations harness their history.” He does this by traveling the world as he advises and counsels organization, corporate and governments on their histories.
Ron and Bruce get this stuff and they tag-teamed the presentation, adding personal and colorful anecdotes. The heart of the presentation was a review of key Chitown advertising and PR events and the most important perspectives about advertising and PR from Chicago’s famous business titans.
I was struck by how relevant their ideas were, and thought:
“Wow, no matter what the new marketing strategy is – social media, customer experience, public relations, content or digital marketing — these ‘old’ ideas are still relevant, maybe more so, today.”
So, what’s old is really new again?
You tell me, as here is what the titans had to say about advertising and PR. Are they still the pillars for successful communications and business?
“Trying to do business without advertising is like winking at a pretty girl through a pair of green goggles. You may know what you’re doing, but no one else does.” Cyrus Hall McCormick, founder of International Harvester.
“Get the confidence of the public and you will have no difficulty in getting their patronage.” Harry Gordon Selfridge, founder of Selfridges Department Store and 25-year employee of Marshal Fields. Yes, that Selfridge from PBS played by Jeremy Piven.
“Babies who never heard about you are being born every day, and people who once knew forget you if you don’t keep them reminded constantly.” William Wrigley Jr., founder of the Wrigley Co.
“People look at the corporation not only as customers but also as citizens who want to know whether the corporation, however excellent its products, is conducting itself in the public interest.” Robert E. Wood, chairman of Sears, Roebuck and Company.
“Good public relations meant good business.” Ray Kroc, McDonald’s founder.
“Public relations was worth 100 times the advertising establishing the success of Sara Lee.” Charlie Lubin, founder of Sara Lee.
“The news isn’t always rosy but I’m I’ve learned over and over again that silence is far more frightening than bad news.” Irene Rosenfeld, chairman of Mondelez International.
No wonder these titans have been so successful. They say Chicago is the city of Big Shoulders. It sure is when it comes to business, advertising and PR.
Thanks, Ron and Bruce.
So, what do you think are the pillars of communications that are still relevant today?
And is what’s old, new again?
Kevin Donnellon’s firm Macali Communications specializes in marketing and communications for new, established and emerging businesses. He has worked for business leaders of big and small companies and brands, and still considers caddying as his best and most inspirational job. This guest post also will appear on his blog.