CeCe Marizu, Account Executive
Can you hear that? That would be the sound of pencils and erasers furiously attempting to fill out the perfect bracket for March Madness.
Some of you may never fill out a bracket (I suggest this is the year you start), maybe you’re the person who just fills out the bracket for the fun of it, or maybe you’re the person who invests blood, sweat and tears into the process.
Ultimately, no matter what type of bracketter you are, there is a strategy to the madness that takes place in the month of March. If you’re a PR professional you can definitely learn a few pointers from the madness. Trust me on this one. March Madness has some very important lessons for every PR person – from the one who loves the game to the one that can’t wait for March to be over.
Finding it hard to believe you can learn anything from filling out a bracket? Here are some quick lessons to take away during the NCAA tournament:
*Do your homework
Every now and again the clueless basketball fan gets lucky with their random selection of teams, but that luck doesn’t come every year. With your PR strategy, it’s best not to go into a crisis or situation blind or guessing. Take time doing your research on your clients and the problems they could possibly face.
*Plan for upsets
March Madness would be disappointing without the Cinderella team that ruins everyone’s bracket. Year after year we see a top team fall to the underdog. In PR it would be great if the strategy could always go according to plan, but it’s best to be prepared for that stunning upset. Make sure you have a strategy in place in case the underdog catches you off guard and be prepared to execute it all the way through.
*Understand the competition
When choosing which team advances each round you have to exam the opponent. It’s important to analyze the team’s strengths and weaknesses and understand what possible hurdles the match-up will bring. When working with your client in PR you have to take the time to understand the opposition for every plan. Think about what your client’s opponent would do in the situation and be prepared on how you will take them on.
*Learn to relax and have faith
Trust that you have chosen the right team and have faith in your picks. It is important to have confidence when selecting the teams that advance and in the world of PR it should be no different. Confidence is key to a strong PR strategy. When you’re relaxed and confident your client can also relax and know they have selected the best PR firm for the job. And most importantly, have faith in your work, team and advice.
*Enjoy the moment
March Madness brings people together in surprising ways. People across the country go head to head with their brackets in office pools, on ESPN, in bars and casinos, hoping they’ve selected the best possible bracket. As stressful as the PR world can be (especially during a crisis) it is important to grasp how important your job is and enjoy it. To take a note from Jimmy V. and one of his favorite quotes, PR professionals help people accomplish extraordinary things. It may be the small campaign that gives life to a client or it may be the crisis cleanup needed by a top executive. Either way, enjoy the work and the chance to see your client succeed.
Here’s to the madness in the month of March and the strategy that every PR professional can use to accomplish the impossible.