Regardless of age or coolness factor, the enjoyment of watching Disney movies is undeniable. I am talking about the classics – the movies with the Disney princesses whose hair never seems to get tangled or messy. The movies from your childhood that still have you belting out every line of the songs, even if you are really off pitch.
As a recent public relations graduate, I admit that I was not fully aware of what public relations entailed. After learning about the industry and figuring out what PR professionals actually do (and don’t do), I realized that I have been learning about PR my entire life.
Walt Disney and Disney Corporation have been producing movies for decades to help educate children, and adults alike, on how to be effective public relations professionals.
Don’t believe me? I’ve broken down some examples of PR lessons derived from several movies to drive the point home.
Aladdin – A new Look can Make all the Difference
When promoting a company or organization, an updated look can make all the difference. Companies don’t always need a complete rebranding, but sometimes getting your company noticed by the public takes an innovative approach. Aladdin, with the help of his Genie, created a new image for himself. He didn’t get an entirely new face (like a rebrand), he just changed his appearance and motives to appeal to his target audience (Princess Jasmine in particular). He went from shirtless, street rat to a well-dressed “prince” seeking the princess’ hand. His natural character is what won people over, but he was given a second chance due to his new and improved brand.
Emperor’s New Groove – Your Attitude can Affect Your Work
Power can go to people’s heads, and can lead to superiority complexes. Belittling and big-headedness don’t work well in life, with co-workers and certainly not with clients. Even if you’re great at your job, if you are difficult to work with people tend to resist. No one wants to work with an Emperor Kuzco. Kuzco was the leader of the land and even though he was young, he thought he knew it all. Upon his change into a llama he learned some life lessons, and the audience learned some PR lessons: Attitude can lose you clients, friends and even change you into a llama.
Pocahontas – Passion Drives Results
Most professionals do the best work when they are passionate about their subject. If you have a real passion for non-for-profit PR, media relations or a particular brand, you probably devote the most time to it, and put in 100 percent. Pocahontas, a passionate young girl, prevented a war between her people and the Englishmen. Because of her passion she was able to communicate her beliefs and get the result she wanted, no matter what it took. Getting involved in a project or a client that you are enthusiastic about can give you the fire to do your best work possible.
Tarzan – Be adaptable
As a public relations professional, you’re going to be put in situations that can be uncomfortable. If you work at a PR agency, you have to be able to jump from client to client with expertise. Being able to adapt to an environmental change, like Tarzan, can make you a valuable asset to any organization. Tarzan was a human who adapted to living in the jungle with apes. He used his head and taught himself things to make his life easier (tree surfing and spear making). Whether it’s adapting to a client’s needs, a situation or a new job, public relations professionals need to find their inner ape.
Little Mermaid – Take Risks
As PR professionals, we are driven to follow the rules and stick to the given guidelines. However, as you advance your skills in the public relations field, taking lead and changing the game can lead to great rewards. Ariel took a risk to follow her dream of walking among the humans. The redheaded mermaid taught us that calculated risks can pay off in unexpected ways. Sometimes you have to cross your fingers, close your eyes and just “kiss the girl.”
Princess and the Frog – Don’t be Ashamed of a Little Help
At most agencies and companies, PR pros are assigned to a team which works with a client or project. This is because, in most cases, a team can provide better results than one individual. Teams bounce ideas off each other, can proofread each other’s writing and lighten the load when people are too busy to complete a task. Tiana, the “princess” wanted to open her own restaurant all by herself. She thought she didn’t need any help. At the end of the movie, she realizes that there is no shame in asking for help every now and again. Just as one of her gumbo recipes, every ingredient is important – just like every member of a team.
Hercules – There are always two paths to the finish
When you start a project, campaign or even a blog post, the way you start and the way you want it to end may not always be the same. We usually start something, but along the way we have to roll with the punches and find another route to our goal. Hercules thought the only way to become a God was to be a hero. He later learned there was another path for him. Sometimes we need to trust our gut and step back from the project to find new ways to achieve our goal; and that is the “Gospel of Truth.”
As Walt Disney has taught us, every story has a lesson that can be applied to our lives, both personal and professional. PR pros should consider heeding every warning Ariel, Hercules and Aladin have taught us.
PR is a powerful tool for promoting brands and people. If you are looking for PR help contact Julie Zaitz, to find out how BLASTmedia can assist you.