Nov 15, 2022
Building an audience is an old strategy in marketing. Did you know that Proctor & Gamble created soap operas so they could build an audience to buy their soap?
That’s right. In the 1930s, P&G sponsored daytime serial dramas on the radio to advertise their products to housewives. Why? Because research suggested that women wanted to be entertained while doing housework. And so, literal “soap operas” were born.
In the early to mid-20th century, Edward Bernays — long considered the “father of public relations” — also built audiences on behalf of his clientele, which coincidentally included P&G. The Conversation reports that “to counteract President Coolidge’s stiff image, Bernays organized ‘pancake breakfasts’ and White House concerts with Al Jolson and other Broadway performers.” Knowing that such events would garner significant media attention and ingratiate Coolidge with new social circles, Bernays provided an opportunity to “control and regiment the masses” in Coolidge’s favor. Who can say no to a pancake breakfast?
Building an audience is as important now as it was then. We just have more tools at our disposal: From YouTube videos to blog posts and social media campaigns, there are more ways than ever to reach millions of people with your own content. Podcasting is one of the most powerful ways to reach people.
The article read in this episode originally appeared on the Forbes Agency Council CommunityVoice™ in May 2019.
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