This is a guest post by Marcene Robinson, news content manager at the University of Buffalo.
James Bond is many things: the ultimate spy, an impeccable dresser and a master of persuasion. But with the recent release of Spectre, the 24th Bond film, I was left to wonder if any of 007’s many talents weren’t just for spies, but could also carry over into PR.
If MI6 were an agency rather than the British secret service, I’m certain Bond would be out in the field seducing journalists and rescuing clients from the disasters of public humiliation.
Bond’s tactics can be a bit extreme, but there is much we can learn from him. So without delay, here are five PR lessons we can learn from 007:
WARNING: Spoilers ahead for those who haven’t seen Spectre.
1. Be daring.
Bond was never one for subtlety. In Spectre, Bond receives a stern lecture from M for the chaos he caused during a Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico City. Did he blow up a building? Yes. Did he nearly crash a helicopter into a crowd of thousands? Possibly. But as Bond points out to his new boss, he also thwarted an attempted bombing. Big rewards require big risks, and no one knows that more than 007. The same principle applies to public relations. The more ambitious or creative the campaign, the greater the results – and the happier the client.
2. Always have a plan B.
Things rarely go as planned for Bond while he’s taking down bizarre villains and saving the world. One minute he’s dining with a beautiful woman and drinking his signature martini, and the next he’s about to be thrown from a moving train. But what makes Bond so successful is his ability to think on his feet and improvise his way out of any sticky situation. A PR pro’s ability to pivot is a valuable skill, as campaigns are fragile and bound to suffer from at least a handful of hiccups. A flexible campaign is one that can survive the roughest of times.
3. Keep up with new tech.
Before Bond begins a mission, he’s briefed on the latest gadgets and gizmos at his disposal. Often, it’s these items that save his life. While the stakes are much smaller in PR – and many of us don’t have a bulletproof Aston Martin with ejector seats at our disposal – there is still technology, albeit less exciting, that we can use to make our work more efficient. Nearly every week a new social platform is launched, and new PR tools are beginning to emerge with the aim of revolutionizing how we pitch and target journalists.
4. Dress confidently.
Has Bond ever looked unkempt? No, because no matter the situation – attending a formal meeting, running a 5K for his life or engaging in an all-out brawl – he is nearly always sporting one of his perfectly tailored suits. Research shows that what you wear can affect your work and confidence. And in PR, exuding confidence and sending a great impression can aid you in countless situations, including in meetings or when seeking a promotion. Take a note from Bond and spend a little extra time refining your wardrobe.
5. Remember to say thank you.
In Spectre, after Bond receives help from Moneypenny and Q, he sends them both a gift to show his appreciation. Bond knows that he can’t accomplish his goals alone, and in every film he has called on a co-star to have his back. The gifts he gives to Moneypenny and Q reinforce this belief, and set the stage for future emergencies when he needs their help again. In PR, sending a thank you – and no, not an email – to clients, event speakers, creatives who assist with projects, journalists (only when it’s genuine), or anyone who goes beyond their responsibility to help you can go a long way in strengthening relationships. Also, keep your thank you small and simple; no need to break the bank.
Marcene Robinson is a media relations specialist and content writer with nearly five years of experience in the field. He works with the University at Buffalo as a news content manager and is a board member of PRSA Buffalo Niagara. When he’s not pitching or fumbling through a thesaurus, he’s probably off hatching one startup or another. You can find Marcene on Twitter and LinkedIn.