Aaron Cushman writes about the public relations industry and its influence in his new book, “Public Relations Impacts the World.”
Grand Bay resident Aaron Cushman knows a thing or two about the public relations industry.
After all, his company, Aaron D. Cushman and Associates, has represented two presidents, five foreign governments, several actors, the Marriott Corp., the Chicago White Sox, Quaker Oats, the City of St. Louis and the Chrysler and Ford Motor corporations, among many others.
“When I came back from the Korean War in March 1952, we had nothing, but I had a lot of guts,” Cushman said. “We had a small office on Michigan Avenue with two chairs, one desk and one typewriter.”
The company eventually grew to become the 10th largest independent public relations firm in the U.S., and in March, Cushman published his second book, “Public Relations Impacts the World,” which is about public relations’ impact on sports, show business, politics, the military, corporations and governments.
“If an icon of industry so much as sneezes, Wall Street goes absolutely berserk,” Cushman said. “When a president checks into the hospital for an annual checkup, the whole world holds its breath. When the Haiti earthquake happened, so many countries all over the world sent stuff. It’s an immediate reaction, and all of that spread of information begins with a public relations professional. A public relations person creates the news.”
Cushman also believes in the power of a publicity stunt.
“They’re key elements in everything we do,” he said. “The first Academy Awards was created as a one-time publicity stunt, and it’s become the most important event of the year for the motion picture industry. Same with Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was a one-time publicity stunt but has become something billions of people all over the world watch every year. It’s a great marketing tool.”
Cushman said both the Miss America pageant and the Rose Bowl football game and parade also started as one-time publicity stunts and have become annual events, all because of the ideas of public relations firms and professionals.
Sports have also become very publicity-oriented.
“There are only six arenas in baseball that still carry their original name,” Cushman said. “More than 20 have gone commercial. It’s the same with football stadiums.”
In his book, Cushman also writes about the lack of credibility within the media in recent years.
“All news is slanted, and you have to select two different papers or stations and decide what you think is the truth,” he said. “The public really can’t take anything for granted.”
Cushman’s first book, “A Passion for Winning,” was published in 2004 and focuses on his 50-year career in the public relations industry, which included representing the Marriott Corp. when it was just three motels, growing the tourism industries of Mexico, Canada, Sweden, South Korea, the Cayman Islands and Singapore and promoting and eventually owning his lifelong favorite team, the Chicago White Sox.
Both of Cushman’s books are available on Amazon.com.