21 Mar Hidden PR Superpowers
The release of Batman vs. Superman has been highly anticipated, pitting superhero fans against each other. What’s more powerful: brains or brawn? Will years of training and experience win out over the energy of youth, or vice versa? Which champion’s weakness poses more of a threat?
“Strong public relations and marketing professionals have a lot of the same skills as our favorite superheroes – and arouse the same questions,” says GillespieHall partner Bridget Paverd. “Who’s right for this job: a shape-shifting strategist or a detective with X-ray vision?”
Our take? Any one superpower might make for a good photo op, but a well-rounded team covers a lot more ground. Introducing our top 6 PR superpowers!
The Flash can run through walls and up the side of tall buildings. Superman can stop the turning of the Earth. Speedy superheroes save lives in the nick of time.
When communicating with consumers or the public, timeliness is critical. If you wait too long to put out a statement, or to respond to a comment, you risk losing business forever. Respond quickly, when relevant, to capture your consumers’ respect and stay at the forefront of their minds.
Superhuman strength makes for a good show, but with poor planning and thought even the strongest champion can get flattened.
Plan ahead, and use the people-power in your organization: how can the innovators, the wise communicators, the subject matter experts put their heads together to accomplish your mission?
If the Justice League can’t hunt down supervillains and figure out evil plots, how can it expect to stop injustice and world domination at the hands of tyrants?
Your communicators must be well-versed in their subject area to speak with authority and create trust among consumers. The ability to research, find answers to tough questions, and learn a lot about a given topic in a short amount of time are all must-have skills for a marketing team.
Marooned on a desert island? Turn into a shark and swim away. Need to disarm a villain? Show an innocent face, and then transform into a force of nature.
Most PR positions encompass a wide range of responsibilities: graphic design, social media management, website security, styling, being your organization’s #1 fan. Even on a single project, when the need might change dramatically, the flexibility to wear different hats can make or break success.
Unseen superheroes can achieve their missions undetected. They can also use this skill to pull pranks on their sidekicks to let off steam.
Good communicators know when to stay out of the limelight, and who in the organization will make the most effective spokesperson in any given situation. We do the training before any speaking engagement; we wait backstage with a bottle of water and encouraging fortitude; but we’re invisible to the masses – so our clients get the glory.
Wonder Woman is known multi-linguist. Aquaman communicates with sea creatures. With this power they can have secret conversations, form unlikely alliances, and call backup from unexpected places.
Consumers respond best to messages in their own language, whether that means using the appropriate regional dialect or choosing relevant emojis (that appear correctly on both iOS and Android). It builds authenticity, which breeds trust – the first step to long-term consumer loyalty.
League of Extraordinary Communicators
Any one of these superpowers goes a long way when fighting chaos and injustice. Heroes with a collection of different skills can be nigh indestructible! But every superhero gets into a tight spot now and then, and has to join forces with another hero in order to win the day. We’re pulling for the Justice League: an unstoppable team that backs each other up when times get tough.
We feel the same way about communications. We use an arsenal of PR superpowers to accomplish our missions. Did you know the GH team speaks 8 different languages? We count among us social scientists, expert strategists, detectives who can find data on just about anything. We can turn around a project in a flash, and even (maybe) stop the world turning.
Our uniform of choice? Sleek black suits, with a splash of something unexpected.
Public Relations specialist Bridget Paverd is a founding partner of GillespieHall. The firm is retained by global organizations to manage their reputation and enhance their relevance. A recognized crisis communications strategist, Paverd has led GillespieHall to become the most awarded and influential strategic communications and PR firm in the region. Paverd teaches crisis media management at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Photo courtesy Delaware Business Times