5 PR Lessons from St. Patrick’s Day

What in the Blarney Stone can PR learn from this day?

siri st patricks day

St. Patrick’s Day — for those of you who still have some of your memory intact — is one of mirth, tradition, mythopoeia (look it up), and casual prejudice.

Oh, and beer.

While watching the weekend parades and hearing about the Irish clambake today, we started thinking lessons regarding PR, media outreach, and best practices for worshiping the great white throne on this day.

This week’s #5Things: 5 PR lessons from St. Patrick’s Day Festivities.

1. Say hello to your not-so-little friends

In this day of gnomes, trolls, and leprechauns, we rarely think of those more vertically challenged than us: the patent leather shoes; the cute knickerbockers; the gruff facial hair; the gold grill (for the cool kids). These are people most of us only think of once a year…much like PR agency figureheads!

Bosses tend to get so busy with the back-to-back meetings, closed-door discussions, and consistent travel that they don’t have time to meet the new junior staffers.

MEMO to those folks: That’s your future in the rear cubicle. You might want to make some time.

2. Don’t forget the other guys

make-remember-st-patricks-day-ecard-someecardsDYK St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish? His name is thought to have been be Maewyn Succat, born around 390 A.D. to an aristocratic Christian family in Britain.

At 16, Succat was sold into slavery, turned to God (that’s why we have a shamrock — the trinity, not good luck), and spent seven long years in Ireland. That guy is the reason for this day, but he never gets his due, does he?

In the same way, the people who get the lion’s share of credit for campaigns are often the very people least likely to make a difference.

So never underestimate a team member in your cube farm — he or she may be the person who helps get your little parade running smoothly.

3. Be willing to look at things differently

PR is a peculiar industry — one that forces us to regularly reconsider ways of doing things.

For example, those of us with traditional PR upbringings have to think about this gimmicky social media thing, and the digital-first folks have to consider perception before pushing content. All of this is easier said than done, but it proves the fact that we should all evolve our thinking.

What if I were to tell a group of people around the conference table that the real color of this day is not green, but blue? You think I would get booed and possibly slapped? It’s true. Green represents Irish independence, but the blue stood for freedom.

Didn’t you just evolve a little?

4. Jump in the deep end. 

excited-one-year-greens-st-patricks-day-ecard-someecardsIf you are ever fortunate enough to be asked to join an account team but have no clue what the client does for a living, exactly, then jump in — feet first.

Case in point: how many times have you freaked out a bit before joining a tech team? People may embrace tech, but they rarely understand it.

Instead of sweating, trying diving in with a perfect belly flop. The best way to learn about the account is baptism by fire. Today, you will see plenty of people wearing face paint, howling at TV cameras, eating cabbage like a fiendish pig in slop, and being generally unkempt.

They may regret it tomorrow, and they certainly earned the hangover. But at least they went all-in.

5. Don’t (always) believe the hype. 

In most Catholic churches, eulogies will sing the praises of St. Patrick for banishing snakes from Ireland — and church folks may cheer when snakes, often considered the archetype for Beelzebub, get crushed.

While it’s true snakes are not found on Ireland, consider the geography: it’s practically an island surrounded by ice cold water and, since snakes hate the cold, most won’t be migrating to the land o’ the Irish except by force.

Here’s the equivalent: a client, cause, or collaborating partner will sometimes get a bad rep thanks to the rumor mill spinning at the water cooler.

Do your own research before judging this party. You might even surprise yourself.

We know you may not remember reading this today, but thanks anyway. L’Chaim.