December 10, 2013

What “Snow Bowl” taught me about public relations

Nurture your PR campaigns and plans through to the end … even if that means risking frostbite.

Nurture your PR campaigns and plans through to the end … even if that means risking frostbite.

Long before LeSean McCoy rushed into the record books in Sunday’s Eagles-Lions game in Philadelphia, the game itself was already a legend in the making. A surprise snowstorm and a second-half comeback by the home team made a captivating story for sports fans across the country.

Now that I have thawed out from hours spent in the icy stands of Lincoln Financial Field, I realized that Snow Bowl can offer some valuable public relations lessons. Think hypothermia has made me delirious? Consider:

  1. Be prepared for anything. Even the most carefully crafted plans could change. This is true whether you’re planning to launch an ambitious PR campaign for a product that suddenly isn’t ready for market, or if you game-planned for a few snowflakes and not a swirling snowstorm.
  2. Remember, you can learn from anyone. During Snow Bowl, Eagles cornerback Cary Williams suggested an offensive strategy to head coach Chip Kelly. Kelly took the advice, and it resulted in a big play for the Eagles. At ab+c Creative Intelligence, we often hold “brainstorming sessions” when we’re working on client plans, because we recognize that a winning idea could come from any one of our talented colleagues.
  3. Face the music when things go wrong. Sunday morning, local weather forecasters were predicting snow flurries, and perhaps a coating of accumulation. Eight inches of snow later, the same forecasters took to the airwaves and social media to apologize and explain how it happened. If they were my clients, I would have recommended the same approach — honesty is the best policy.

    Snow Bowl can offer some valuable public relations lessons.

    Snow Bowl can offer some valuable public relations lessons.

  4. Celebrate success. Great campaigns are worth merchandising, both for the client and the agency. Case studies, direct mail, and other avenues let clients demonstrate the value of PR dollars to internal stakeholders, and lets agencies show off their best work to prospects. By Sunday night, the Eagles’ public relations team realized the intense national interest in this game, and had pulled together photos, videos, and this thank you to the fans, all of which led to hundreds of shares on social media and exposure in the national press.
  5. And finally — it ain’t over ’til it’s over! On a day when it seemed like the first team to score would win, the Lions took an early 8-0 lead over the Eagles. But at the end of the game, it was the Eagles who left with a 34-20 victory. The lesson? Nurture your campaigns and plans through to the end … even if that means risking frostbite.
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