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4 things zombies can teach PR pros
2015-08-03


As far as cult followings go, you’d struggle to find a more popular “creature” than the humble zombie.

Take a look at the popularity of iconic books, movies, video games, and shows such as: "Day of the Dead,” "Dawn of the Dead,” "Zombieland,” "World War Z,” "Resident Evil" and "The Walking Dead.” You’ll realize that not only are zombies popular (unless there’s one trying to chomp down on your brain), but they’ve been popular for many decades now—and it doesn’t look like it will change any time soon.


Even so, is there anything zombies teach practitioners about public relations? Surprisingly, they offer quite a bit.


If you work in the PR industry, see if you can relate to the following four lessons from the undead:


1. Be ready for the unexpected.


When dealing with zombies, it’s universally known that zombies can come at you from any location and at any time, without any warning.


Open a door, and standing there waiting for you behind it could be a rotting animated corpse desperate to rip chunks of flesh from your body. If you’re familiar with "The Walking Dead,” you’ll know that rival gangs of your own kind can be just as dangerous—or even more so.


In today’s modern PR world, the same principles apply. PR experts can relate to scenarios such as sudden budget cuts, last minute changes of mind, stolen ideas and more. You never know what to expect when working in PR, so it’s best to always stay on your toes, be prepared and to do the best job you possibly can.


2. Teamwork is necessary for success.


In any zombie survival scenario, the ones that make it are always with a diverse group of individuals, each one with a unique set of skills. Combine these skills, and they work as one cohesive and effective unit.


The same goes for the PR industry. There’s the innovative leader, creatives, tech-savvy people, financial pros, media relations specialists and the go-getters. To make it in PR, your team needs to be diverse, skilled and driven. Above all, it needs to be effective and function as one cohesive unit.


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3. Don’t contract the zombie PR virus.


When a zombie bites you, you eventually turn into a zombie as the virus spreads throughout your body.


In the PR world, a negative online reputation is the equivalent of a zombie bite, because it can spread so rapidly.


Once you contract a negative reputation, whether you deserve it or not, recovering from it can be difficult. Crisis-communication and reputation-management training can prove useful, so it’s highly recommended that PR workers familiarize themselves with them.


4. Positivity is one of the many keys to success.


Ever notice how people who are constantly freaking out, complaining, and eventually giving up in zombie movies are often the first to become zombie chow?


Staying positive in difficult situations is essential, and that’s never been more true than in the PR industry. The economy was awful a few years ago, and although it’s improving, it’s still far from stable and businesses are still suffering. This has a chain-reaction effect that also affects the PR industry.


There will be times when business is slow, just as there will be other testing times, but remember to stay positive. Don’t let it affect your work rate, and never give up. Use past failures and difficulties as learning tools to ensure they never happen again.

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Vivian Li

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