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Oct 26, 2016

Four PR Lessons We Learned from Disney Villains


Halloween is just around the corner, and we’re feeling inspired by the evil villains who stir up the scenes in some of our most beloved Disney stories. We love that our favorite characters always manage to come out on top, but we also know they must first overcome both trials and tribulations in the face of their foes. (We won’t lie, though, we also love some of the villains’ spunk, creativity and tenacity — all of which are also great qualities of PRofessionals). Believe it or not, we’ve been given clues for how to successfully navigate our work in public relations since we were children. Here are just a few of our favorite PR lessons learned from these iconic tales, all thanks to these infamous Disney bad boys (and girls).

The Big Bad Wolf: He’ll huff, and he’ll puff, and best believe, he’ll blow your house down! However, this frightening mantra didn’t keep Practical Pig from looking past the disguises of the Big Bad Wolf and facing his problems head-on. In public relations, you’re going to encounter opportunities that, at face value, seem like great chances to take. However, it’s important to always do your research, thoroughly vet the opportunity and know what exactly you’re getting into before taking that leap. Also, you’ll always face obstacles, problems and setbacks in your work. It’s important to stay persistent, like Practical Pig, and find ways to halt these problems right in their tracks, before they become too big and blow your house down.

Gaston: No one’s slick as Gaston, no one’s quick as Gaston, no one’s neck’s as incredibly thick as Gaston’s! Alright, Gaston… we get it. You think you’re hot stuff. And while you may think you’re the greatest of all time and have only yourself to thank for that “greatness,” we PRos know better. Here at NRPR Group (and at other awesome agencies), we know we’re stronger as a team. Turning in winning work for our clients is a joint effort, with each team member contributing to the end goal. We work hard as a team and share in our successes together. And, we celebrate every single win bigger than we could by ourselves, alone, off in a corner somewhere. In public relations, it’s important to stay team-minded and know that you have colleagues by your side to help you out. Don’t think you can, or have to, do it all by yourself and take all the credit (we see how that ended up for Gaston, by the way)!

Scar: In what might be one of the saddest moments in any Disney film, a jealous Scar leads his army of hyenas to kill Mufasa, then convinces young Simba it was his fault, all so he can become King of the Pride Lands. Simba flees into exile, but eventually finds the courage and strength to face Scar directly. In the public relations industry, mistakes are going to be made. Sometimes it will be your fault, and other times, you’ll just have to take responsibility — even if it wasn’t. What’s important in both situations is to not beat yourself up over things that happen. Instead of pointing the finger and blaming someone else (like Scar did), always take responsibility for your actions and take quick steps to fix what happened.

Another great lesson we love here is that Simba wasn’t afraid to ask for help. The reason he was able to face Scar stemmed from the support and encouragement of his friends and of course, his mentor Rafiki. In this industry, it’s important to surround yourself with fellow PRos who have high standards and a great work ethic. Also, find yourself a trustworthy mentor who can coach you along your journey.

Ursula: For a quick refresher, Ursula is the evil, octopus-inspired villain who tricks Ariel into giving up her voice in exchange for a pair of legs, so she can become human and fall in love with Prince Eric. However, what Ariel didn’t realize is that not all deals are good deals. This is true in the public relations industry, too. Not all money is good money, and not all business is good business. We know how important it is to grow your company, especially if you’re a smaller agency. However, it’s also important to pay attention to the energy behind the deal, and make a clear, well-thought out decision before signing on any dotted line. If you’re in the position to bring on new clients and the energy feels right, do it! But if you’re having second thoughts, whether that’s because you’re not sure if you can handle the extra load or the vibe just doesn’t jive, saying “no” to new business shouldn’t be taboo, especially if it’s the right move for you and your team at that time!

Who said these movies are just for kids?! Clearly, there any many lessons to be learned for both children and adults from these iconic Disney films, even decades after they were first created. And, these are just the beginning! Are there any villains we didn’t touch on who you think teach a great PR lesson? Let us know in the comments below, and stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest news from NRPR Group by signing up for our bi-monthly newsletter, HUSTLE WITH A CONSCIENCE!

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