Since the dawn of civilization, traces of public relations (PR) have been there in human societies. Public Relations however, is the 20th century phenomenon. In ancient Egypt, Babylon, Sumeria and other, kingdoms, the rulers are known to have made systematic efforts to tell the people how great they were. Some rulers had even succeeded in making the people believe that they had a mandate from the gods, or were themselves god-like. The ancient rulers used various forms of communication to continue their hold over their kingdoms and their subjects.
The rulers had bards and wandering minstrels who sang of their valor and greatness. Thus, they were using the popular media of those days to communicate to the people and create a favorable image among the public. The Greeks and the Romans are known to have realized the importance of the public opinion. It is evident from the writings of the medieval period that it was the Romans who coined the expression, “Vox Populi, Vox Dei” (the Voice of People is the Voice of God).
These were some rudimentary elements of PR in these activities, but this was not PR in the sense that we now understand it. The Industrial Revolution began in the 17th century spreading across Europe, and reached North America by the 18th century. By the 19th century, mass production and selling of goods had already become a feature of the industrial societies of the world. Free enterprise and laissez-faire became the driving force for the manufacturing industries. Advertising of goods also started towards the latter half of the 19th century. Yet, PR did not emerge until quite some time later.