Friday, October 21, 2011

Coaching A Football Team and Running a PR Campaign: What They Have In Common

Call me crazy, but with the football season in full swing, I began to think about how running a PR campaign is not too dissimilar from coaching a football game. How? You may ask. Let me cite the ways.

First of all, PR campaigns, just like football games begin with a game plan. Included in that game plan are the various strategies and tactics (plays) to be used to achieve the goals on both offense and defense.

A good PR plan includes a proactive media relations plan that is designed to "score" (placements) and a solid issues/reputation mangaement component to protect the company and defend its image.

Prior to kickoff, football coaches watch reels of film and pore over reams of data to learn more about the opponent. We, as PR people, gather as much written and video information as possible about a client and the industry in which it operates so that we can be as prepared as possible for anything that may occur on the "playing field."

Coaches often call blitzes to sack the quarterback and have their own field general call audibles to change the designed play at the line of scrimmage if he sees an unexpected formation from the opposing defense.

During the course of a campaign PR practitioners often have to decide when to call an all-out media "blitz" and when to change a tactic on the fly to adjust to any changes in the landscape and sometimes we even have to decide to "punt" and regroup.

Perhaps the biggest similarity is the exectuion of the plan. Teams win or lose based on execution, or lack thereof. A football team must limit its turnovers (fumbles and interceptions) and penalties to have the best chance of winning. PR pros must also limit "turnovers," (typos, informational mistakes, missed deadlines, etc.)to maixmize the success of a campaign.

When it's all said and done, the name of the "game" is winning, whether it's on the gridiron or in the business world, the team that scores the most "touchdowns" usually wins.

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