Marvel movies aren’t going anywhere. Need proof? “Iron Man 3” was one of the highest-grossing films of 2013. “The Avengers” was a huge success both critically and commercially. And there are plenty more to come, starting with April's "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."
At this point, it’s safe to say that the characters of Marvel comics have become household names. The Avengers, however, are much more than an entertaining “super secret boy band” (in the ever-sarcastic words of Tony Stark). In fact, they can teach us a lesson or two about good public relations practices.
1. Iron Man – Innovate and stay on top of the latest technology…
For Tony Stark, it’s arc reactors, his robot personal assistant J.A.R.V.I.S. and the latest model of the Iron Man suit. For public relations professionals, it may be a hot new social media platform or app. This doesn’t mean you and your clients need to use every new thing that comes along, and quite frankly you shouldn’t. However, it’s still important to be aware of what’s trending in the market to stay smart and relevant.
2. Captain America – …but sometimes the best way is the old-fashioned way.
Steve Rogers (better known as Captain America) brings 1940s morals and habits into the 21st century. Though Steve’s old-fashioned values are often played for humor, his leadership is crucial to the success of the Avengers. Often, it is Steve who reminds the team of what is truly important.
Similarly, even with all of our flashy digital toys, we should never forget that audience is the king. Interpersonal communication is the root of all communication, whether that’s actual face-to-face conversation or tweets and blog posts. That’s why it’s important to master basic skills like writing, research and public speaking. These skills are the core of public relations, just like Captain America’s traditional principles and ethics are, in many ways, the core of the Avengers. (Though Tony Stark would never publicly admit it.)
3. The Hulk – Take some time to de-stress.
Jobs in public relations often top “most stressful careers” lists, and that was true once again this year. A stressful job, however, is no excuse to “hulk out” and destroy everything in your path. It’s important for public relations professionals to develop ways to cope with everyday pressures – job related or otherwise. There are many ways to handle stress, including taking a walk or meditation. Sometimes, it’s helpful to just breathe and remind yourself: “It’s PR, not ER!”
4. Thor – Coffee is great.
5. The Avengers – We are all different, but that’s what makes great teams work.
Public relations is a field driven by teamwork. Agencies and teams work best when everyone fills a niche. For example, you may be great at media relations, while your colleague is a social media pro. Similarly, in the Avengers, Black Widow is a master spy, Hawkeye is skilled with a bow and arrow and the Hulk is excellent when it comes to smashing things. Not everyone can smash, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s probably better that way.
By Abby Brennan
PRecisely PR is the blog of the Illinois State University Chapter of the PRSSA. We write about Chapter events, the public relations industry, member profiles, and more.