Most companies start shopping for PR well after they need it. I see it a lot and am sure you’ve also heard way too many times executives say things like “get in here and get some early wins” by “picking the low hanging fruit.”
If this was football and I heard my coach say that, I’d think this is not a team built for the SuperBowl and I’d be calling Jerry Maguire to get me on a Chuck Knoll-led team ASAP.
So many companies shop for a PR solution in the way you run to Home Depot for a generator. The lights are out, the milk is getting warm and the kids are getting bored with Monopoly. Emotions run high and that strategic thinking that should be driving the decision for PR to support your business for the next few quarters gives way to buying tactics and ideas that feel good today.
Those are usually sexy and fun ideas or trick hook and lateral passing plays that get everyone stimulated like chugging a Red Bull to get ready for work – when you probably should just eat better and get more sleep.
As anyone who has ever worked with me has heard me say: Ideas are like belly buttons, everyone has one and most of them don’t work. I’m more interested in creating the right organizational design from which to execute ideas that align against specific business goals. And I want people on my team who thought to buy the generator on a sunny day. Those people win you championships and have great ideas!
Chuck Knoll won four SuperBowl championships as head coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers and was famous for saying that “Three things can happen when you throw the football. Two of them are bad.” He was renowned for running the ball in a cloud of dust and punting on 4th and inches. What gets lost is the foundation he built as an offense and defense that allowed him to run any kind of play.
Oddly, I’m a lifelong San Diego Chargers fan and love the passing game. But when it comes to PR, I am more in Chuck Knoll’s camp than Don “Air” Coryell’s of the 80s Chargers — and so should you.
SuperBowl championships as a franchise:
- Steelers: Six
- Chargers: Zero
I rest my case.
– Jose Mallabo