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6 PR lessons from ‘Star Wars’

The Force is strong with savvy communicators. Here’s how you can gain the title of Jedi—er, PR Master.
By Alex Lainesse | Posted: December 17, 2015
The many mentors I have had the chance to work with during more than seven years at High Road taught me a lot, but I wouldn’t be the PR pro I am today if it was not for Master Yoda’s teachings.

As crowds gear up to see “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” let’s reflect on PR lessons communicators can glean from the popular sci-fi franchise.

Here are six ways The Force can guide PR pros’ decisions and actions:

1. Be a Rebel, not a clone.

Always challenge yourself and work to drive change in the galaxy.

Being a true Rebel means that you are passionate about your cause and that even against the odds, you can succeed in the face of a challenge that is bigger than you.

It can be easy to enter in the ranks of the Galactic Empire and do what everyone else is doing, but you don’t want to shoot everywhere and miss your target. That is what Stormtroopers do.

2. Don’t just tell; show.

Your press release might be three hundred words long, but if a picture is worth a thousand words, blowing up someone’s home planet is definitely worth a million.

[RELATED: Master your visual communications prowess at this conference at the National Geographic Museum.]

Whether you want to prove to a Rebel leader that your Death Star can destroy a planet or convince a reporter that your client’s latest product is outstanding, don’t just tell them, make them live the ultimate experience.

OK, you might have killed someone’s adoptive father in the process, but at that point you’ve definitely got his or her attention.

3. It’s all about perception.

Everybody remembers one of the most iconic movie quotations in history as, “Luke, I am your father.”

If you remember it like that, you remember wrong. The exact quote is, “No, I am your father.”

If there is one thing we learn early, it’s that in PR, perception is everything. No matter the message you tried to deliver, what really matters is the message your audience will understand, retain and ultimately write on t-shirts.

4. Precision and attention to details are paramount.

Your everyday to-do list will probably never include this item:

  • Blowing up the Empire Death Star without my X-Wing’s targeting system by using the Force while hearing Obi-Wan’s ghostly voice in my head.

However, you will always be in need of a lot of precision if you want to meet your client’s or organization’s communication goals. This is truly what sets apart the Padawans from the Masters. Look for the small detail that other people might have overlooked and you can score big.

5. Take advantage of "the Jedi effect."

A big part of PR pros’ jobs is to consistently convince colleagues, clients and reporters that our ideas are the best. The most effective way to do that is to look a reporter in the eye and wave your hand in the air while saying, “This is the topic you are looking for.”

OK, it’s really conviction, enthusiasm and passion.

Though some of you might not fully master those Jedi tricks yet, you can still try getting into the person’s mind to understand what trigger will make him or her act. Listen, observe and adapt yourself to your interlocutor.

6. Work hard, but party like an Ewok.

It’s no big secret that life in a PR agency can be hectic. Workdays are sometimes long, but the reward is always gratifying.

When you see a client doing a kick-ass job during a live interview on national television or your most recent post shared by the blogger or social media heavyweight of the hour, get those paws up in the air and let the beat drop.

Remember, no matter if you’re facing a Sith or only a rough day, keep rolling; you’re an awesome little droid.

Alex Lainesse is an account director at High Road Communications. A version of this article originally appeared on the agency’s blog.

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