Ivy Ledbetter Lee and the True Golden Rule of PR

I've got a huge long post brewing in the background here, but it's late and I have an early start. Rather than rush it out, let me share instead a splendid quotation I just stumbled across in my research.

"Tell the truth, because sooner or later the public will find out anyway. And if the public doesn't like what you are doing, change your policies and bring them into line with what people want"

If I didn't know the source, and was pressed to hazard a guess, I'd probably suggest that those words came straight out of the 95 Theses of the Cluetrain Manifesto.

In fact, they were voiced in the early years of the 20th Century by Ivy Lee, offering counsel to John D. Rockefeller Jr.

Often described as the founder of public relations, Ivy Lee has his detractors and critics, but one thing is unquestioned: he had an extraordinary influence on the early days of this profession.

One hundred years after Lee created and issued the first ever news release, we now have a great deal of energy in PR circles being devoted to re-inventing what is, admittedly, a tired and outmoded contrivance.

I hope, for the sake of this reputation-tarnished business, we're all dedicating at least as much effort to upholding Lee's mantra.