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  • Writer's pictureLouise Ahuja

Methods change but priorities remain the same. Lessons for PR practioners.

Updated: May 7, 2020


In 1906 Ivy Lee wrote the Declaration of Principles, one of the earliest statements on reputation management and it still is as relevant today for those promoting and protecting companies during difficult times.

In these odd times I find myself looking back for lessons we can learn from history (ever the history student). Ivy Lee wrote his Principles in response to the media who were a little sceptical about a new thing called press releases (well nothing has changed there then...).

Part of it reads “All our work is done in the open. We aim to supply news. This is not an advertising agency. Our matter is accurate. Further details on any subject will be treated promptly and any editor assisted most carefully in verifying directly any statement of fact… In brief, our plan is frankly, and openly, on behalf of business concerns and public institutions to supply the press and public of the United States prompt and accurate information concerning subjects which it is of value and interest to the public to know about.”*

This approach may seem obvious today, but it was revolutionary at the time and teaches PR practioners that we need to keep challenging ourselves to come up with new ways to help our clients.

Companies are busy dealing with a multitude of ‘never before’ scenarios and often PR is seen as just another thing on the to-do list. Yet used well it is one of the most important solutions for the problems your company is facing.

The importance of clear and open communications with the media, your customers and all your stakeholders to build better relationships and increase awareness of your products and services remains true. The Principles are as relevant today for all companies and as we face a very different future, PR can help you find new ways to be the company that adds value and be of interest.

With thanks to Christian Doyle for introducing me to the song ‘The Voice of Ivy Lee, British Sea Power’

*Exert from Ivy Lea, 1906 Declaration of Principles.

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