What would Edward Bernays be doing if he were alive today and working in PR?

What would Edward Bernays be doing if he were alive today and working in PR? Bernays is considered the father of modern PR. You can discover more about Bernays here, here, and here.

Bernays often indulged in PR “stunts,” a strategy that I’ve vociferously warned clients not to do. How hard is it to get a PR stunt on the Fox 5 Minute? What long-term value do you get out of that? How many people are going to think about your product or company from a 15-second blip on TV and radio, and maybe a photo online and in the next day’s newspaper.

Yet, like my recent post considering what Thomas Edison would be doing if he were alive and inventing today, I love playing “what if” and thinking about how various historical figures would act/react in modern situations.

Without further ado, here’s what I think Bernays would be doing.

Edward Bernays, father of public relations

1. Social media – Duh, you knew I was going to say that. Bernays would have loved Ashton Kucher’s race to 1 million followers. Because, regardless of what you think of Kutchner, he now has a media platform. An extremely valuable platform as detailed by Jason Calacanis.

I wager that Bernays would have cheered Moonfruit’s Macbook giveaway that made it to the top of Twitter trending topics.

2. Influencer marketing – whether it’s P&G pitching mommy blogs, or software companies targeting key vertical bloggers, Bernays would recognize the impact of influencer marketing on publicizing a product or shifting the conversation both online and off.

3. Politics – Unfortunately, Bernays used his skills at shifting public opinion for some questionable political causes, namely the United States – in conjunction with the United Fruit Company – overthrowing the democratically elected government of Guatemala. I think Bernays would be fascinated and a participant in today’s fast-paced political news cycle.

What do you think Edward Bernays would be doing if he were practicing PR now?