What PR Pros Could Learn from Survivor

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20160920_154442 (3)Tonight, I have a hot date with my long-term boyfriend of 16-plus years.

Of course, he doesn’t know it, but he is so busy that I understand. I am a supportive partner like that!

Oh, you want to know his name? It’s Jeff Probst, host of a little show called Survivor (and yes, for those playing at home, also host of Rock’n’Roll Jeopardy back in the day. Good memories!).

Apparently, I am not his/Survivor’s only fan in the PR world. In fact, a few weeks back, I came across our PRGN agency partner Buchanan Public Relation’s blog post detailing some of the key characteristics shared by successful “Survivor” players and PR professionals.

Among them – the ability to make a good first impression; developing a strategy early on; timing; building alliances; and persevering.

I could not agree more, but wanted to add a few of my own:

  • Develop a social game: there is always a player each season who makes it to the end (or the near end), strictly on their personality alone. Oftentimes, this person also wins the “fan vote” if offered that season, which usually means a free car or cash prize and most definitely gets him or her on the short list to come back a few season’s later. Likewise in PR, even the most introverted of us have to develop a social game – be it engaging on social media; meeting one on one with potential mentors, clients or even media targets; or even learning the art and science of small talk during networking events.
  • Stay humble: there is also a player every season that gets a little too cocky, and he (it’s almost always a “he” – sorry!) is often blindsided and humiliated on national television while I cheer from my couch and tweet “good riddance.” Likewise in PR – and really in any business – it never pays to toot one’s own horn too often. Instead, celebrate other’s successes, or even better, find a way to credit your entire team on a job well done.
  • Stay Afloat: okay, my favorite player each season has to be the random one who can’t swim. I kid you not, almost every season, there is a player who voluntarily chooses to be dropped on a deserted beach for Survivor who cannot swim (or can barely swim). While it makes for “must-see-TV” when the week’s immunity challenge is in the ocean (especially during a storm!), it makes literally no sense to be so unprepared. In PR, you want to stay afloat with your team, your clients and the media.COME PREPARED. Don’t promise what you can’t deliver. Don’t jump into something headfirst that you have no idea about!

With that, I must now get back to my Probst shrine. Happy Survivor season, y’all!




Alison Bailin
Alison Bailin
Senior Account Executive Alison has a lot to say…about pretty much everything...all the time. From the current state of public relations to the social media impact on Shark Week to crisis communications in the sports world, Alison’s blogs are focused on “amusing through her PR musings,” and then some. Check out Alison's full bio

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