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Learn the Power of PR from Edward Bernays

Edward Bernays was an Austrian-American public relations mastermind who led some of the most successful marketing campaigns of the early 20th century. His written works contain a multitude of philosophies regarding public relations, much of which he linked to his esteemed uncle Sigmund Freud. Bernays most popularly challenged the idea of what the term “propaganda” meant, declaring that manipulating the minds of any public was an unstoppable part of democracy that would take place at the hand of psychoanalysts. By understanding the science between the unconscious mind and human impulsivity, Bernays devised groundbreaking social movements which still have effects to this day. Though he has passed on and the world of marketing now primarily takes place in the digital space, there is much we can learn from Edward’s techniques that we can carry over into digital PR.

PR Guru

When Bernays worked with companies to increase their brand awareness, he didn’t simply intend on generating sales, although that was the bottom line. Instead, Edward devised strategies to evoke emotion around an underlying idea that may have had nothing to even do with the product at hand. For example, when Bernays developed a marketing campaign for American Tobacco Company, his idea was to draw in more women to begin smoking cigarettes. In a male-driven market, Bernays essentially staged a march containing young women who lit up their cigarettes, deemed “Torches of Freedom,” in an effort to show that smoking was a right for women to enjoy just as much as men.

Without mentioning that Bernays or American Tobacco were involved in the production, the promotion aimed to persuade women that smoking was no longer “unlady-like.” By appealing to the righteous, liberty-seeking parts of women across America, the campaign effectively garnered a huge amount of tobacco sales, unfortunately setting forth generations of female smokers. The art of persuasion is what Bernays concentrated on most, attempting to convince buyers that they needed the product in question. The internet marketing we do for West Palm Beach clients works to challenge what their consumers need and outperform their expectations.

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Social Responsibility

While Bernays understood the scientific method of reaching audiences and striking them with creative imagery, he wasn’t ignorant of the potential downsides of his campaigns. It has been recorded that Bernays’ personal diaries reflect a conflicted man who knew full well the dangers campaigns like the “Torches of Freedom” march posed. Likewise, Bernays was none too happy to learn that his techniques were being employed by the Third Reich in Germany during the rise of fascism. Fortunately, over the course of Edward’s life, he began to understand the grave implications that marketing to the masses can present. He eventually gave up his associations with big tobacco and devised strategies with the American Lung Association, providing high-level marketing to help make the public healthier.

The fact that so many audiences tune in to the Super Bowl each year simply to watch creative advertisements proves how influential Bernays’ groundwork still is today. Digital PR presents far more opportunities for promotion than Edward ever had at his disposal, although, Bernays was a man who understood the necessity of giving up outdated technology. Smashed Media implements internet marketing strategies for West Palm Beach and national brands to evoke emotion just as Bernays’ promotions once did. Being creative with the promotional campaigns of your brand still matters greatly, especially as the tools to promote become more accessible. By understanding the values of the audiences you’re hoping to reach, we can provide internet marketing in the West Palm Beach area and nationwide to connect your ideas with eager audiences. If we take nothing else from Edward Bernays, we can all add a bit more depth to our digital PR by understanding and connecting with the motivations of our buyers.

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