The "Final Four" Public Relations Lessons

The "Final Four" Public Relations Lessons

Like many companies, Hencove gets into “March Madness.” Our annual pool has nearly 60 entrants – if you want an invite next year let us know – and plenty of research, hand-wringing, and let’s be honest, guessing, goes into completing our brackets. All of this hard work, and agony, has taught us two things: 1) We should stick to our day jobs, and 2) There are valuable marketing lessons to be learned from college basketball.

Today, we’re sharing the “Final Four” public relations lessons that we believe will benefit your business or organization.

1.    Study Up
Preparation is key to every team’s success, in basketball and in business. Being able to understand your opponents, knowing their weaknesses and strengths, and devising a strategy to beat them are vital to winning. In PR, one needs to have knowledge of the competition and the media. Stay engaged with the latest news and happenings in the industry, and see where your firm can provide insights and standout. Be prepared; you never know when a reporter wants to learn more. 

2.    Communication is Key
The best teams are frequent and effective communicators. In PR, it’s not just about communicating with your internal and external teams, but also with the media. Show reporters that you follow what they write by staying in touch. Championship teams aren’t afraid to take credit for a big win; in PR, a company’s milestones, victories and other ‘wins’ should be communicated in a number of ways. 

3.    Use the Surprise Play
The road to the Final Four is always filled with upsets and surprises. Of course, consistency in communications is vital, however, there are situations when the element of surprise – like a unique story pitch or marketing campaign – can make a splash. It’s okay to do something different to grab attention. Look into new and creative ways to promote your business. 

4.    Control the Ball
In basketball, speed and dexterity count. They also count when managing a crisis. In today’s world of social and digital media, responding quickly is all the more imperative. If your company doesn’t communicate in a timely fashion, then someone else will. In a crisis, it’s important to “control the ball” and dictate the flow of information. Be prepared to share the pertinent details, respond to media inquiries, and solve the initial issue. Like the teams in the Final Four, you will need to play both offense and defense. You should never be caught without a good playbook in the face of a crisis. 

Between all the debates, office score checking, and busted brackets, don’t forget the lessons you can take from the parquet and apply to your company’s PR and marketing efforts.