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Lessons From Scandal

PR Lessons From Scandal

Viewers are completely captivated by Olivia Pope, PR queen of the hit drama, Scandal. Pope, played by actress Kerri Washington, is a crisis communications consultant who protects the White House and the who’s who of Washington from danger, scandal and demise.

If you’ve never seen the show, you should really tune in and give it a shot, but here’s the basic story:

From shaping their public image, to handling the most scandalous of PR crises, Olivia Pope is always on her A-game (at least while she’s not distracted by her even more scandalous love affair with the President of the United States)! Yes, the show has its spins and twists in order to keep in entertaining, but there are certainly some valuable PR lessons to be learned from Pope and her loyal team. When it comes to the nitty gritty of crafting a client’s messaging, for example, this PR pro knows what she’s talking about. Check out these three methods that we might find useful:

  1. Form your own “Dream Team”: If you watch Scandal, you know that Olivia Pope’s team of gladiators is 100% dedicated and focused on getting her what she needs at all times. Every individual within your communications or PR team plays a role in the overall success of your organization. Keep in mind, however, that these people are not interchangeable. Play off of each person’s strengths, and recognize his or her weaknesses. Celebrate the wins and face the losses as one. Can you succeed without your team?
  2. Master the Art of Media Training: Olivia’s impressive media training skills help her clients avoid some major damage to their public image. Her clients are confident, poised and trained in answering the toughest of questions.Preparing our clients for media interaction is equally as important, and not just in crisis, but also in any situation. Ever heard of a “machine gunner” reporter? How about the “interrupter” or the “dart thrower”? These are techniques that reporters will use to influence someone to say the things they want to hear, rather than what you want them to hear. Coaching a client through all of these techniques will help them remain level and on point when dealing with the media.
  3. Always be in “the know”: Ever notice that Olivia seems to know what’s coming before it even happens? This is crucial in the PR world. It’s not just staying up to date on the current trends, but also anticipating what’s ahead. From media monitoring, to Twitter lists, to Feedly and Cision, you need to master the processes that ensure you are always in the know. These monitoring habits are great because they keep you educated on all the important things going on around you, but they also allow you to be one step ahead of your clients’ competition.

Yes, Scandal is a fictional TV show that may be a bit more dramatic and outrageous than your average day in PR, but there are certainly some lessons to be learned from the amazing Ms. Olivia Pope and her team of gladiators.

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