What PR Pros Can Learn at Museums

Surprise. Intrigue. Guilt. Happiness. New-ness. Nostalgia. Desire. I noticed that successful campaigns had at least two of these emotional elements.

It’s not just about acting, good visuals or sad violin music.

Good, effective campaigns start with clear communications:

a crystal vision of where we want to be

a determined way of hacking out a path.

For us who are writing — whether to sell products, to change minds, to transform society – developing an emotional hook is important to getting our target market to respond.

A few weeks ago, I went on a feelings spree with another PR colleague.

We traveled to the National Museum to answer some questions:

“Paano ba humugot at saan ba huhugot?”

hugot – an emotional response & a wellspring of creativity.

Here’s what we found:

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Every story we write must set us apart.

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Catching the essence requires focus.

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Putting ourselves in our customers’ shoes helps us write more authentically.

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 The art we saw were were visualizations of specific calls to action.

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When words are cheap & fame is easy, it’s our mastery of story that will help us establish a brand of renown. 

Does your job make you cry?

Today, I’m celebrating my 7th year in public relations. Sometimes I can’t believe I stayed so long in an industry I never meant to work in! 🙂

Some things I’ve learned:

That thing people say that about business not being personal isn’t true. An organization is only as good as the people running it. If your job doesn’t drive you to tears at one point, if you don’t have a sleepless night or two out of sheer excitement for your work ahead, if you’ve never fought hard for a project, if an idea has never made your heart race — you probably haven’t found  your sweet spot.

It’s OK to be emotional. I’ll take emotional over fake any day.

If you’re panicking and overwhelmed, make a list. Instead of diving head first and becoming busy doing tasks that may not contribute to long-term success, take some time to sort the things you need to do. Ask yourself: if there was one thing I needed to accomplish within the first half of my work day — what would it be? What could alter the course of the next few months?

Long Monday morning planning meetings rarely accomplish anything. Enough.  

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And yes, my job makes me cry.

It has made me immensely happy, it made me throw mugs, it has made me excitedly bolt out of bed at 5AM — in short, it is my sweet spot. 😀

3 Reasons why I miss agency life

I’ve been working on the client side of PR now for over 2 years. While I’m glad I moved to “the other side” — there are days when I miss the dynamic agency environment.

So, to quell my ‘homesickness’ (and let’s face it: for many PR pros, the agency can be home…14h workdays notwithstanding!) here are the top 3 things I missed from my agency time:

I miss the thrill of pitching.  

Fresh ideas. New people. If you weren’t keen on pitching stories and dreaming up new executions; you had no place in a PR agency. The fast-paced (and sometimes cutthroat) environment was challenging.

Challenging and rewarding.

You knew when you won the pitch, you knew when you lost the client. Plus, there’s nothing that can keep you on your toes more than meeting a roomful of strangers almost every week. When you communicate with unknown quantities, there is no choice but to be as clear as possible.

There was little constraint on the amount of “dream time” you could invest in a project…provided that you could deliver & meet your deadlines.

The deadlines.   

I never thought I’d say this but I miss the ironclad deadlines of the PR agency. We usually dealt with finished products. This means, I never had to worry about manufacturing issues & other issues brands faced internally. There was no mental waiting time between a product idea & a launch — what landed on my desk was ready to be hyped up.

The regroup.

Speaking of hyping products up — if there’s one thing agencies know how to do — it’s going back to the drawing board when things don’t go as planned. Agile creative teams know when it’s time to let go of an idea they’ve developed to service their client (and the public!) better.

So there. It’s out of my system. Back to working for the dark client side. 🙂

 

PR Work is Grunt Work

Public relations is mostly unglamorous. It’s scouring through miles of spreadsheets to finish reports, it’s reading uninspired comments about your brand on blogs, it’s a mastery of screencaps — and most of all: it’s meeting deadline after deadline.

There’s no such thing as working with the news cycle. You’re just either in it or out of it.

Just the Tip

Sometimes, the main difficulty of working in PR is the very thing you need to be good at it — people reading. When you’re trained to read people & decipher emails, you know when:

  1. Client is lying & hoping you don’t notice (meaning: he doesn’t trust himself).
  2. Client is only giving you half the story (meaning: she doesn’t trust you).
  3. Client is just taking on an agency because everyone else has (meaning: no communications objectives).

Of course, while you seethe, you just keep smiling. They don’t know you know.