5 PR Lessons to Learn from The Terminator

Trust me. They'll live.

Whelp, he’s back. And if you haven’t seen ‘Terminator: Genisys‘ but were fans of T1 and T2, do yourself a favor a buy that ticket! No spoiler alert necessary but it is a good one. So powerful, that it inspired marketing thoughts for the movie, and the PR outreach that happened for this reboot.

That led to this week’s #5Things. Here are the 5 PR lessons we can all learn from ‘The Terminator.’ 

illbeback1. Be Determined. 

What’s his favorite quote, “I’ll be back.” Once that burly cyborg addresses the person whom he is protecting, Sarah Connor, or her mischievous son set to do great exploits, can call Vegas and take bets. Guy is going to be back.

PR people need to do the same thing with clients — when we say that we are going to do something, do it. Deadlines are set to be honored. Projects are meant to be done. Pitches are made for follow-ups. Clients are expecting a call. When you split, and tell your client that you’ll be back, be like Ah-nuld. Be back.

thumbs up2. Be Heroic. 

That sounds like a lofty goal as a PR professional. You are not routinely at Comic Con. You don’t wear a fancy leotard. And how are your super powers lately? That said, you can be heroic to a client.

Ever secured a hit, created a relationship, or got something done on social media, and that golden question from the client was asked, “How’d you do that?” When you tell them that it is all in a day’s work, they look at you as if you should leap tall buildings in a single bound. When you do something that other’s can’t do — and they don’t take for granted — you are not only doing your job; you are doing a great job.

hasta la vista3. Be Authentic. 

The idea of the Terminator is to be something that isn’t what it appears. Here are some dudes covered in human skin but has the exoskeleton of a killing robotic machine. There’s nothing authentic about that.

Some PR folks are like that too. Sure, they pitch a good game — telling the client team they love their product and can’t even pronounce it, false compliments about the city headquarters and knowing deep down they think it’s a trailer park. Authenticity is so welcomed in PR because unfortunately, it’s not expected. PR needs PR, that’s no secret. Professionals dressed as humans are one of the reasons why.

shooting4. Be Patient. 

When the Terminator was sent back in time to find John Connor, he did his research, found his leads, and was precise about where he went to find that kid. Sure, he blew up half the city in the process but that’s because everyone was in his way. All that leather-clad robot wanted was to meet the kid and possibly discuss future plans, his psychotic mother, Armaggedon, and casual conversation-starters like that.

You have to be like that android at times when it comes to pitching and the development of campaigns. If you think the reporters on your media list and Twitter list are going to fawn over your pitch within seconds, you haven’t been in this business very long. Let your pitch burn a little. Allow it time to simmer. And then follow up understanding you could be interrupting someone’s day, so again…be patient. You’ll get your target eventually.

therobots5. Be Available. 

In this world of microwave results and drive-thru deadlines, things have to happen now. And if you can’t make it happen, you may encounter a client who will a PR professional that will. You want that to happen? Of course not, so you need to do what it takes.

If you are called to be on the front line of a pitch, project, outreach, or client last-minute call, be there. Get on that front line, get your gun (otherwise known as the smartphone), and be prepared to shoot. Aim at what you want and pull the trigger. Be deliberate with your outreach. Be focused once speaking to the journalist or influencer. And be available when you are asked to respond.

Oh yeah, a cool pair of shades would work.