Propaganda & Mass Persuasion: Changing Big Businesses into Big Helpers

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Changing Big Businesses into Big Helpers

In regards to publicity in the corporate world Ivy L. Lee stated:
"Publicity in its ultimate sense means the actual relationship of a company to the people, and that relationship involves far more than saying- it involves doing. An elementary requisite of any sound publicity must be, therefore, the giving of the best possible service" ( Ewen “PR” P.84).

Lee’s ideas of the importance of securing public confidence were original but for most big corporations, such as Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, they were insignificant. Businesses headed by people like Rockefeller preferred to stay out of the spot light and had little regard for public opinion. This is not to say that Lee’s visions would go unused, Theodore Newton Vail would see the importance of pubic relations and use it to ease the tension that the public had towards the “big business” AT&T.

During a time that the public feared big businesses, Vail did a brilliant job at easing the publics mind. Through well planned strategies Vail would move past the “curse of bigness” and create a look for AT&T that was irresistible and geared towards the needs of the people. These strategies included “cut-rate local phone bills, the friendly greetings of Ma Bell, employee spirit de corps programs, and presenting things through the public’s eye”.

Vail became a new type of corporate leader. Unlike other businesses of the time that kept a deliberate distance from the public view, Vail new that public relations was key in the survival of bug businesses in the twentieth century. Through creating jobs for women, having the best deals around, and making the people feel that their opinions matter, Vail set the stage for big corporations by creating the user friendly monopoly.


Blogger A. Mattson said...

A good post summing up the important role of Vail and AT&T in defining the role of public relations for national corporations.

2/23/2009 9:39 PM  

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