When you cite PR greats, you simply can’t afford to ignore Ivy L. Lee. he’s referred to as the founding father of Modern PR . While studying at Princeton University he did some contributions to the in-house newspaper. This gained him tons of appreciation and he also picked up fine skills in writing and journalism. 

He worked with the ny American, the ny Times and also the ny World as a journalist and was dedicated to covering financial and business issues. In 1903, he took his first attempt in public relations as publicity manager for the Citizens’ Union.

In 1904, Lee created his own path in PR. He teamed up with George Parker and together they established Parker and Lee, one among USA’s first PR firms. the 2 had worked together before this at the Democratic Party headquarters where they handled publicity for Judge Alton Parker’s unsuccessful presidential race against Roosevelt . The motto of Parker and Lee was “Accuracy, Authenticity and Interest.”

One of the most important successes that Parker and Lee had was handling crisis management for the Pennsylvania Railroad. In late 1906, the railroad company got stuck in an accident. Lee then went ahead to issue, what would be the very first press release. This was done after an excellent deal of convincing the railroad company to openly disclose information to journalists. it had been received well and on 1912 he was hired to be the company’s first publicity director.

Lee was a master at handling crisis communication and here is another example of how he managed to salvage a situation that seemed almost futile. In 1914, he had received the most important opportunity of his career, he was appointed by John D. Rockefeller Jr. to represent his family’s company, the Colorado Fuel and Iron Company following the “Ludlow Massacre.” The infamous massacre resulted after a gun battle between striking miners and Colorado state militia. This left 15 dead including many ladies and kids. things spiralled out of control after it sparked a serious public outcry and widespread violence within the nearby mining communities. Lee was hired to handle this troublesome and highly challenging situation to combat the negative press and restore the general public image of the family. He scripted dozens of press releases and reports and pushed them into the media. The result was that the Rockefeller image regained its past glory.

He had done outstanding work for the Red Cross and this helped it gain the reach it needed amongst people and obtain tons of support. At Bethlehem Steel, he was paid $25000 by the corporate head Charles M. Schwab for advising his managers to prioritise tasks then work on this list. Other prominent clients included General Mills and Lucky Strike. He was also an adviser to Westinghouse , Lindbergh , John W. Davis, Otto Kahn and Walter Chrysler.

Lee’s philosophy of PR could be called the “two-way street” approach where he wouldn’t only listen to clients but also work to communicate a public message. He’s definitely gone down in history together of the PR greats of all time.

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