What Lessons Can We Learn from La La Land?

It’s a big week in my world. On April 1, not only does Top Chef return for a new season, but Law & Order: SVU welcomes back Detective Elliott Stabler after 10 long years. In honor of two of the most iconic shows of the past 20 years celebrating major milestones this week, here are just a few lessons I’ve learned and applied to my work in PR from each:

Needing Each Other

The detectives on SVU can sleuth out a perp and find ample evidence of his/her guilt. However, without the assistant district attorneys (Barba is the best one, by the way), many bad guys would go free. Here at HMA, we can put together pretty epic media relations campaigns, but without the media to cover them, many worthy, impactful stories would go untold.

Plating Counts

Each season, the final challenge on Top Chef essentially asks for the finalists to cook the best meal of their lives for the judges. And each season, one of the che’s falters when it comes to plating. Often, despite its deliciousness, said dish can mean the difference between winning and losing the title of Top Chef. In public relations, we can have the biggest, best story. We can have a client changing the world. However, if we do not “plate” the information well – using clear and concise, yet descriptive language to help paint a picture for the media – it won’t cut through the clutter.

Trust Your Gut

I don’t know how many times I’ve watched a criminal almost get away with his/her crimes until one of the SVU detectives uses instinct, intuition and a general gut feeling to re-open and re-examine the case. I also don’t know how many times I’ve had to change course at work after taking a gut check.

Be Yourself

The best competitors on Top Chef are always authentic both in the kitchen and out. They craft dishes that are “them” on a plate while sharing true stories behind each flavor. In public relations, especially in content development, copy writing and story pitching, you must come from an authentic place when writing. Don’t fake it until you make it here. Be you. Write the way you talk. Talk the way you write. Develop YOUR voice, not just a voice.

Teamwork Makes Our Teams Work

While Top Chef is teeming with individual culinary stars, and the detectives of SVU are meant to represent some of the best of boys/girls in blue, ultimately no one wins without working as a team. In public relations, we are stronger together than on our own, be it while working on a crisis communications issue, developing a community relations program or just brainstorming on behalf of one of our clients or brands.

And finally, lock your door! At work. At home. Just lock your door.

Photo provided by Alison Bailin

Written by
at Mar 30, 2021

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