Tuesday, April 17

Edward Bernays



My cousin referenced Edward Bernays to me the other day, as someone to emulate in modern day marketing.  I have to tell the truth and say that I'd never heard of the man, so I did some research.  Boy was I shocked to learn about this pioneer in marketing.

Turns out that Edward Bernays is very much considered to be the father of public relations.  As I read through his rich biography, I was amazed at the parallels in our lives.  I have a new mentor!

He graduated from Cornell University (as did I), from the Agriculture School (as did I ... it's where the marketing major was housed at the time).  Much like David Ogilvy was for advertising, Edward Bernays was for public relations.  He was one of the first to see the value in influencer marketing and the third party endorsement.  He popularized what is now known as the press release.

Although he was born in Vienna, after studying in New York he eventually lived in Cambridge (to date, the favorite of all the places that I have lived myself).

He was a marketer and an author ... his book, Propaganda, was the first of its kind to talk about marketing.  It was published in 1928 - and looks to have been re-released in 2004.  I just ordered one on amazon!

His most famous campaign, which involved no advertising, was for Lucky cigarettes and was all about making it socially acceptable for women to smoke in public.  He coined the phrase "torches of freedom" to symbolize women's right to choose to smoke.  Edward Bernays also did a lot of work in CPG for P&G, most notably Ivory Soap.

Here's the kicker.  Although he didn't call it this, he was a huge believer in a consistent brand experience integrated across all the touchpoints.  He didn't use the "integrated" word or "touchpoints" for that matter, but he was all about 360 marketing and the overall experience ... ala my own book The Experience Effect.  I now have a founding father in the industry that I can look up to!

So I have to thank my cousin (who is not even directly in the industry) for connecting me with this inspirational thought leader ... and thank Edward Bernays for paving the way for what is now happening in our times.  Very cool!

What's your experience?  Jim.


Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe North America
Author, The Experience Effect and The Experience Effect for Small Business
Professor, NYU

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