WHAT ICE CREAM CAN TEACH US ABOUT PR
As a kid, my father taught me one of the most important mantras of my life.
It goes something like, “I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice cream!”
After which, there was a full bowl of vanilla ice cream with Hershey’s chocolate syrup swirled around in it for dessert.
Based on my first real job at Dairy Queen more than 20-something years ago, I can attest that almost every person on the planet does indeed scream for ice cream on a hot summer day.
What’s cool about ice cream, outside the fact that it’s delicious, is that this tasty treat can teach us a lot of lessons about people’s behaviors.
It turns out, ice cream also can teach us quite a few lessons about public relations.
Here are four of my favorite publicity lessons learned from ice cream.
It comes in a variety of flavors
Baskin Robbins offers more than 32 flavors for a reason.
Because people like what they like.
As it turns out, their preference just so happens to be very different from what the next person happens to like.
To appease the masses, ice cream comes in a variety of many different flavors.
The same can be said about publicity and its tactics. The variety of approaches for building brand awareness and landing media attention are endless!
This moment, you may be pitching holiday gift guides to long leads.
Next, attempting to get yourself placed as an expert on podcasts.
All the while, trying to draft copy for your blog, finalize a promotion for this weekend, or draft answers for an hour-long Facebook Live chat.
Whatever your PR tactic of the moment may be, there’s a niche to fit it.
Just like for every craving someone is having, there’s an ice cream flavor to satisfy it.
It can get messy
Sometimes, even when you have the best intentions of eating it, ice cream can make a bit of a mess.
You must work through it.
PR often poses the same problem.
Even with the best laid publicity strategy, sometimes things get sticky.
If so, you need to know how to clean them up.
Did you respond to a Yelp review a little too defensively thinking you were educating a customer?
Maybe you placed a digital ad that you thought was funny but instead offended a large group of people?
Or perhaps your business partner took you a little too literally and exercised too much freedom with her free speech?
Did your brand get hit with the wrong end of the social media gone viral stick?
Yeah, those are just a few of the ways things get messy.
And they do happen.
But don’t worry, if you’ve been working on your PR, it can step in and help.
There’s nothing better than ice cream on a summer day.
The sun is shining, the birds are singing, you’re hot, and it’s cool.
Ice cream just makes everything better.
You know what else is cool?
Seeing your brand’s name in the media.
We refer to ice cream as a sweet treat for a reason—it’s something to enjoy as a reward.
Just like reading or hearing about your brand after you’ve planned, pitched, and then re-purposed your media coverage is rewarding.
Guess what else is cool?
Seeing your bottom line grow exponentially after receiving media coverage because of your publicity efforts and the brand awareness it creates.
It’s not for everyone
I know, what kind of horrible person doesn’t love ice cream?
Well, the poor souls who are lactose intolerant, for one.
There also are those who prefer frozen yogurt.
Or gelato may be more their taste.
Oddly enough, some people don’t have a taste for PR either.
What you may not know is that publicity consistently ranks near the top on all the list of most stressful professions.
Because PR professionals must deal with extremely tight deadlines, clients, the public, reporters, and whomever else happens to be standing around asking questions.
About make or break subject matter.
It can be a lot of pressure.
To be successful with the media, you need to be a detail-oriented multitasker who can thrive in a little bit of chaos.
Not everyone shines under that type of pressure.
Publicity also requires being able to consistently put yourself out there in front of others and speak on the spot about your brand.
Only to risk being told your opinion is wrong.
For these reasons, and more, PR requires persistence and a bit of a thicker skin.
It’s not for the faint of heart or something that can be thrown together in five minutes without a plan by an in-over-their-head entrepreneur.
It turns out, PR professionals and agencies exist for a reason.
To show entrepreneurs and influencers exactly how to do their own PR and work as their own publicists.
Because, like ice cream, there isn’t only one right flavor of publicity for everyone.
What other publicity lessons do you think ice cream can teach you?