5 PR Lessons We Mortals Can Learn from Super Heroes

It's a bird...it's a plane...nah, it's just a publicist.

While some movie critics and other comic book aficionados, have spoken the praises of Marvel’s latest “Ant Man,” it hasn’t been one of the most successful films by opening weekend standards for the superhero conglomerate.

Fortune claims that the ‘shrinking profits’ on its debut was only $22.6 million. As a comparison, that is right up there with the Edward Norton version of The Incredible Hulk and Ryan Reynolds CGI-run-amok version of Green Lantern.

In other words, many people would rather be watching The Bachelor or something more…realistic. While Marvel attempts to learn the rare pain of a crappy opening weekend, there are a few things that public relations professionals can learn from it as well.

No, really. Here are the 5 PR lessons we can learn from Super Heroes:

1. Altar Egos Can Help. 

clark kent superman
SOURCE: DeviantArt

You think of yourself as a fun person. Someone who enjoys to laugh and have a good time. So why is it that when you start your pitch list and get on that phone, you sit up straight like a stick was inserted somewhere and your humor level is right up there with the campaign manager for Donald Trump.

It’s because your game face is on and you need to be in the zone. Whatever helps you score the big hits, do it. I know someone that actually slaps herself into that pitching mindset. Hey, the last hit she got was a cover story in some high-falutin magazine, so slap on Rocky! Find your cape, play your soundtrack, and get to work.

2. Who Needs Super Powers? 

SOURCE: ScreenRant.com

Iron Man has a fancy suit and a butler. Batman has fancy toys, and a butler. Maybe it’s just the rich guys? Whatever the reason, they can’t fly without a vessel or fight without the gimmicks.

Likewise, you don’t need an APR certification to be considered a serious professional. You don’t have to get a framed Google AdWords certification to be thought of as a digital expert. Both Iron Man and Batman have one thing in common — they have skins on the wall. Do you? Then, you’re doing something courageous.

3. Your Weakness Can Be Your Strength

SOURCE: Marvel

If you know comics or the movies, you know the Hulk is known for having a temper problem. The guy gets ticked, and half the city will have to pay for it. Sure, the Avengers thinks it’s a fetching quality but he tends to go overboard a little.

What’s your issue? Get nervous while pitching? Clam up during brainstorms? Nor a real people person? Here’s a news flash — it’s okay. Be yourself at lunch, in the board room, or around the cube farm. Often, those perceived weaknesses can be embraced to become a real strength, such as working great under pressure, capturing everyone’s attention when you do speak, or can light up a room when you really try. We need more people like you anyway because the one thing PR folks are often considered is ‘fake.’ Right?

4. Know Your Purpose.

spider man uncle ben
SOURCE: SpiderMan

The one thing most of our clandestine vanquishers have in common is that all get in the leotard-wearing business because of a life-changing experience. Spider-Man lost his uncle. Batman lost his parents. Captain America was frozen in time. Ant-Man got out of jail. Superman was orphaned. And the Fantastic Four almost got blowed up in space. Somehow, that’s what it took for them to realize they had much more to do than push a pencil.

So do you…but what? Why are you in PR? Is this just a check or are you really attached to this business? Is storytelling and sharing something you really enjoy? Is having a client look at you in wonder asking “How’d you do that” the reason you dig this job? Do you really enjoy meeting journalists and offering them content they didn’t know about otherwise? Whatever the reason people are hovering around the water cooler, it’s usually the successful ones that care the most about their clients, the agency, or even the gig. And they don’t even need a mask or a cape to do it.

5. Embrace Your Individuality. 

SOURCE: ComicVine.com

Think of all the super factions — Avengers, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Justice League, or even the Teen Titans. These super groups make up a cohesive team of cats you don’t want to meet in an alley. They all bring something unique to the table and the others love him or her for it. Can you imagine how boring these groups would be if they all had the same powers. Some criminal could come along, fight one and defeat them all. You wouldn’t need cheat scenes in the middle of credits.

PR agencies are the same way — if all of us could do the same thing well, and sucked at others, clients would rapidly fall by the wayside looking for a fresh perspective on crime fighting or securing ink. Everyone in your agency brings something unique to the firm, so embrace them for their certain points of expertise. Allow them to shine when the need arises. This is how successful agencies make it work for others. Like clients.