Prior to the 1920s, members of society deemed the elitist class corporate puppets that only focused resources and interest toward the wealthier members of society. In the late 1920s, strategic public relations and propaganda evolved to counter this perspective by utilizing the same ingredients we see today in political and social campaigns – the “humanizing of business” and “competition.”
“The more a business is crowded with personality, the faster it will grow and prosper. “In the late 1920s, many labored to purge the image of the ‘soul-less corporation’ from the public mind” (Ewen, Stuart. PR: A Social History of Spin. 1996). It is apparent that social media has been utilized as a tool to humanize the presidential family since the new administration has taken office. Amidst controversy and criticism surrounding immigration, women’s rights and cabinet picks, the family is striving to alter the big business symbolism associated with the Trump name to a more reserved and connecting representation.
Why did PR and political figures in the past switch to the “humanizing business” tactic? One detrimental effect of a company being labeled a “soul-less corporation” is the negative impact it will have on its workforce. However, job-seekers have different concerns when searching for a good employer that include trustworthiness and good internal communication. Before ideas about big business began to evolve in the late 1920s and the “humanizing business” tactic took effect, maintaining a sustainable workforce was most likely an issue if the workers felt the company only looked out for its own interests.
There is another factor to consider. After the public began to view businesses through a more humane lens, they became inspired by business leaders and aspired to be successful in big business themselves. Ewen states, “A family on the comfort level will often sacrifice much - perhaps even mortgage its house - to possess an automobile of respected make, not only because it enjoys riding, but because a wealthier neighbor has one” (Ewen, Stuart. PR: A Social History of Spin). This created competition amongst individuals in the public. Consequently, the propaganda tactics of that time not only convinced the public that they should embrace big business and wealth, but that to be someone of stature, they must symbolize these lifestyles as well.
Martin, Annie. Ivanka Trump's son Theodore crawls for first time in White House. UPI. 2017. Retrieved from http://www.upi.com/Entertainment_News/2017/01/26/Ivanka-Trumps-son-Theodore-crawls-for-first-time-in-White-House/1471485442937/.
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