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What Beauty and the Beast Teaches Us About PR

The “tale as old as time” is getting a fresh take. Disney is rebooting Beauty and the Beast as a live-action film that’s hitting theaters. The excitement is inevitable with the first trailer earning 127 million views in the first 24 hours of being posted.

As PR experts, what can we take away from one of our favorite fairy tales? Here are a few takeaways from the film’s PR campaign:

  1. Play to people’s emotions.

From the casting announcements, to the final trailer, Disney has shared with moviegoers, people have been sharing their excitement on social media.

For PR pros, the content marketing tips from Disney’s latest live action film campaign are plentiful. Use captivating visuals, get your employees to tell your brand’s stories, and encourage social interaction with questions and contests.

The underlying theme in Disney’s content produced for this film is simple: play to people’s emotions. Decent stories may be interesting, but excellent stories evoke emotions. Tug at heartstrings or make people laugh. If you can dive into the emotions of your audience, you’re golden.

  1. Anticipate issues, but know that you can’t make everyone happy.

Though the project is a remake of a classic Disney film, there’s a big difference in the live-action version: LeFou is portrayed as homosexual.

LeFou serves as the sidekick to the film’s primary antagonist, Gaston. LeFou is set to feature in a small subplot of his own when it comes to his sexuality.

With change comes opinion. Many fans have reacted positively to this change while others reacted negatively

Disney remains firm on its decision to add themes of diversity to its film.

Anticipate crises before you launch your PR or marketing campaign—especially if it contains a risqué or controversial element. It’s also important to realize that you can’t make everyone happy. Stick to your beliefs and your supporters will come to your organization’s defense.

  1. Invite audiences to an experience.

Though the excitement for Beauty and the Beast is huge, Disney is predicted to earn more than $100 million on opening weekend. Whether viewers will say the project was a success or a bust, they’ll be coming to theaters to experience the characters’ revivals. It’s important to note that this is not the only way fans can put themselves in the characters’ shoes.

PR pros don’t have to go all out with sweepstakes and prizes to invite consumers to experience their brand. As visuals and mobile-friendly content becomes crucial for PR pros looking to be heard above the noise online, you can jump on the opportunities available to brand managers.

The ‘Final Four’ Lessons for your Public Relations Campaign

March provides some of the most awaited events of the year. While the weather begins to warm, St. Patrick’s Day looms in the distance, and spring cleaning calls our attention, most Public Relation firms will be sitting on the edge of their seat.

Why is that?

It is the overwhelming excitement of March Madness and the nationwide hoop fever that is instigated the day the brackets are announced. Bracketology is broken down on the minutest scale to predict who will make a run for the NCAA Championship. As we follow teams on their journey to the ‘Final Four’ (cough cough…UCLA) they can provide amazing lessons on the day-to-day operations a Public Relations firm experience.

  1. Make a game plan

Every team that is selected for the tournament comes in with a game plan; similar to how Public Relations firms create communication strategies that need to be arranged and verbalized to the whole team. All of the players on the team must understand the basis of the organization and their motives to pursue a championship title. While researching these objectives, like when a team watches their opponent’s game film, it is pertinent to identify the message intended for all audiences available. Planning ahead of time can be the difference between a Public Relations success and a catastrophe.

  1. Time is of the essence

Basketball is a fast-paced game and any mental lapse or loss of focus can be detrimental to the team. In Public Relations, time has a high value and when opportunities are presented, they must be taken advantage of. An example would be accurately representing and reaching your target audience through a certain type of social media. The message will create a profound effect if it can reach its audience with efficiency and action.

  1. Don’t forget about the secret weapon

Every game throughout the tournament has ebbs and flows of momentum that swing to each team. The element of surprise allows a key shifting point and transition of momentum in the game. Although consistency and a well-managed schedule are necessary to success, a new and spontaneous campaign can produce similar results. Creativity regenerates a Public Relations campaign and with enough energy, it can also be a viable alternative hidden up your sleeve.

  1. It’s okay to celebrate

Whether it is a windmill dunk between two players or a half court buzzer-beater, the audience remembers the most memorable and flashy plays. Sharing achievements amongst your peers, customers, clients and employees provokes that positive coverage. A “highlight reel” could be sent out on the firm’s email list as an update for clients on the status of the firm. The leverage to promote success should be used when possible, with a respectable sportsmanship that limits the arrogance of the tone.

Many teams that are considered the most talented in the tournament do not win the championship. Just like Public Relations, this is a daily mission to improve, adapt, and plan for future challenges. If this year’s championship game is anything like Villanova’s incredible buzzer-beater win over North Carolina, then we are in for a treat. Go UCLA!


PR Pros Dish on the Worst Advice They’ve Received

Giving and receiving advice is a common want among us all. If you tell someone you work in PR, they can’t wait to tell you their secret tactic for PR success. Fellow pros were asked about the worst PR advice they’ve ever received. Here’s what they said:


“There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

Many organizations have taken this to heart, but that viewpoint makes some PR pros crazy. Perhaps there once truth behind it—before the advent of the internet.

Today, a brand’s missteps are easily collected through a Google search. Bad customer experiences live forever on ratings and review sites. Even deleted social media posts can live on if they are captured in screen shots and published online.


“Send at least one press release per month.”

Press releases are not a strategic objective; they’re busy work. You must have legitimate news for anyone to care about your release. Your latest revision to your product or rebranding of a model does not merit a press release.

There are so many other things you can do to amplify your product launch. Post releases on your blog, create a related series of contributed content, or collaborate with influencers on a virtual launch event. Don’t send out a release and expect to see it get picked up if it offers no substantive value.


“To increase sales, send a press release.”

PR isn’t an immediate boost to your company’s bottom line. It’s not direct marketing, and you shouldn’t measure it by a goal of immediate sales.

If you are asked to send a release to boost your company’s sales, push back. Explain that if they are looking for a direct sales tactic, you can help them with a drip email campaign, but putting out a release isn’t going to accomplish that goal.

Similarly, a press release isn’t going to bolster your stock price. It is your job, as a communications professional, to push back when you are given unrealistic goals for your PR tactics.


“Just say ‘no comment’”

It can be tempting to dodge a complex media request or a question about a looming crisis, but a response of “no comment” could do lasting damage.

By taking the time to talk with reporters and help them understand a complex industry issue, you can build a relationship that has an ongoing benefit and help improve the accuracy of the reporting on your industry.

The Keys to Extraordinary Client Relationships

Creating a successful client relationship is like making a cake for a friend. With the right combination of ingredients, proper delegation of duties, and someone to initiate the process, the cake will slowly begin to rise and bake.

This fluid approach to making a cake has several key components. If one step isn’t met, the cake will never rise. A wrong ingredient, or miscommunication on timing will produce unwanted results. Even when all seems to be running smoothly, there is a distinctive portion of the process that often goes missing. Similar to client relationships, a distinctive portion that is often missing is nuance.

The Determining Factor

Nuance can be described as subtle distinction, variation, or quality. These definitions prove to be insightful when pertaining to client relationship.

  • Understand Them

A successful relationship boils down to truly understanding the customer beyond the surface level descriptions of their role in the company. By diving into their personal motivations, who they are, and what they do and don’t like outside of their work environment, we can see them beyond the company. By discovering the nuances of their persona, it is easier to connect and have a mutual understanding of one another.

  • Observing the Unseen

With a better understanding of our client beyond their buyer persona, the grey areas that were previously unclear begin to emerge. The cooperation between a client can often times create certain hesitations when discussing the project. When should you lighten up? When do you push them on a subject? What sensitive topics should I hold up on discussing? Without nuance, this process becomes automatic, mechanical, and dry. Nuance is the key ingredient to generating a relationship.

Client Service

The hallmark of every good business is the proper and adequate service they provide for their clients. In turn, this generates the profit and backing necessary for any company to thrive. When analyzing what can be done for the clients, we must first ask:

  • What is the task we need to accomplish?
  • What should the majority of the time be spent on?

Project managers are often substituted for client service. Rather than substitute project management for client service, it should be used to channel the means of activating a profound relationship with that client, not detracting from the relationship.

Nuance Skills for Client Service

By strengthening and developing interpersonal communication skills, the subtleties that nuance presents become clearer. While the process is continuously adapting, here are four skills that can be referenced to improve the nuance of a client relationship:

  • Listen Carefully

By making a conscious effort to pay attention to the tone, pauses, interaction, and intent behind the words spoken, one can better understand what was and was not said.

  • Ask, Ask, Ask

If you can sit back, listen, and learn to what the person has to say, a mutual understanding can be created. It is by revealing the answers to these questions, we reduce our uncertainties of the relationship.

  • Context is Key

Although the relational context of communication is necessary to a successful client relationship, the context of the situation must be determined as well. We can better understand our relationships when we observe relational, situational, and environmental context.

  • Open-mindedness

Nuance will never be achieved if one can’t accept others. By broadening your perspective, one becomes more accepting, which is a skill we must often apprehend to in the workplace.


Remember your P’s: Podcasts and PR!

Finding effective ways to produce and promote content are common topics of discussion. Strategies that highlight your content allow your organization to build its reach and engage with an expanded audience.

Podcasts and audio posts allow collaborations with industry experts and provide new mediums for content consumption. In turn, this can enable PR professionals to successfully promote their organization.


New mediums for consumption

Industry blogs publish written content every day to engage with their audiences. Written content communicates useful concepts and allows writers to engage with their audience.

Podcasts offer a different medium for content consumption, which stimulates interest from audiences who are overwhelmed with written content. In addition to stimulating interest from your audience, audio recordings allow users to listen during activities that wouldn’t allow simultaneous reading, such as driving and writing. This increases value and versatility.

Connect with other industry experts

Unlike written content, podcasts enable an open discussion and exchange of ideas. Hosting a weekly or monthly podcast facilitates routine conversations between members of your organization and other industry leaders. This can give your audience access to dynamic and informative discussions.


Despite the possibilities for standing out and broadening conversations with podcasts, they do pose challenges, which should be considered prior to launching one.

Building a community of listeners

Although audio recordings do allow unique and expanded opportunities, converting people to listeners can be a challenge. Unlike blog posts, podcasts require greater involvement from your audience.

Production processes

In comparison to written content, the production of podcasts can pose additional complications. Podcasts require a bit more work.

Expensive audio equipment isn’t required to produce podcasts. However, higher quality microphones are recommended for producing a better sound quality. Microphones that minimize background noises and unwanted sounds like echoes are ideal because these sounds can be distracting to listeners. Headsets that are structured for cell phone use do offer an inexpensive option for recording. However, USB and analog microphones are sold at various prices and provide higher quality results.

Audio editing software is another requirement for making changes to recorded files. There is professionally licensed audio software, but these can cost hundreds of dollars.

Although establishing a podcast poses potential difficulties, successful employment allows professionals to expand their engagement with their audience and provides opportunities for more dynamic, engaging discussions of relevant industry topics.

4 Guidelines to Improve Client Communication

“Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud.” – Herman Hesse

Public Relations are immersed in managing effective and appropriate communication for optimal client achievement. However, problems continually arise between our coworkers and our clients with the messages we attempt to transmit to one another.

Communication skills are never a given, and we often challenge ourselves in this aspect when approaching a new client, by analyzing their needs. The majority of the time spent on the emergence of new clients is dedicated to creating useful content, crafting persuasive messages, and recognizing potential untapped markets.

Why isn’t more time dedicated to developing a clear communication strategy with the client? Here are some insights as to why making client communication a primary concern.


  1. Personality: Know your client

It is very rare to find clients that operate with the same ideology. Each experience with a new client is unique. Taking that into consideration, the approach to each client will also have to be unique. Company style and ‘persona’ continuously vary and must be identified for success.

The most effective way to internalize and assess the fabric and framework of a client is to ask questions. Only by asking questions will a PR firm realize their niche in providing the client with what they NEED, no what they MIGHT need. Client interaction creates an illustration of that company’s culture.

  1. Teamwork: Not a one-person job

Frequently, clients are delegated and distributed to a specific number of employees. Although team members have work-related relationships amongst one another, client accounts are mainly individual and task-oriented. Obviously, the person managing the account will be more aware of the client’s style and needs than their coworkers. It is pertinent that business and personal account information becomes mutually exclusive with the rest of the team. Within reason, the personal information may be confidential. However, this info exchange may include client struggles, concerns, or organizational issues.

By putting your team members on the same page, the team is able to evade the obstacle of miscommunication.

  1. Efficiency: Style coordination is key

Similar to how every new client is unique and time is taken to learn their ‘persona’, both sides must facilitate and operate synonymously. Companies may have a process and structure of organization and communication that isn’t in line with a PR firm’s modes of operation. The most effective process will be the one that works for both parties.

Flexibility and acceptance are crucial to integrating a reciprocated understanding. For example, some clients prefer a certain communication app over another (Skype vs Zoom) or have specific objectives on how to label and send their documents via email. Being adaptive and adjustable allows more room for success and improvement.

  1. Rules: Keep it basic and follow them

Although the process of communication is rarely appreciated or noticed, people often lose sight of their intention when they begin speaking to a client. Keeping a list close by of the points and detail one wants to discuss will keep the conversation on track and in check. When the rambling, unimportant tasks and partial information come into play, the conversation will have lost much of its value and the time of both parties. To maintain satisfied clients, one must be able to maintain an engaged conversation, exchanging the necessary information, and wavering from distractions.


Effective client communication is vital to Public Relations success! A PR firm with competent communicators will create a long-term success and development for future clients.