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Pragmatist PR

My PR playlist by Matt Steele from PR firm Pegasus

22nd April 2016


As music and PR are my two favourite things I thought I'd try and combine the two by picking tracks us PROs can relate to, as well as being songs I like. So get your headphones in and read why:

Talk is Cheap by Comeback Kid – I've put this first because it's guaranteed to wake you up more than any fancy coffee. But also it's the single most important thing about PR for me. Your talk is cheap and it's going nowhere, goes a line that's less sung and more extracted directly from the voicebox without anaesthetic. I hate PR for PR’s sake. Yes, a stunt might be what the client wants, but is it really going to change anyone's behaviour, opinion or intent to purchase? Talk is cheap, so make better talk.

Meaning of Life by The Offspring – one of the things that bugs me about PR is how people on our side of the fence tend to overuse the term "new". It's like something can still be new if it's 11 months old, or worse, new until a national newspaper finally reports on it. That's why I've picked this classic from the old-yet-pretending-they're-not-old Offspring. It's got that brilliant lyric about "open wide and they'll shove in the meaning of life". Or whatever new product is launching that week. As the song goes on to say, thanks but no thanks.

Know Your Enemy by Rage Against The Machine – yes, accepted, I'm still 14 at heart, but the next time you're looking at a client's brief think of this banger. It's a massive two fingers up to the rules. In my view, PR's main enemy is all the bad PR that's gone before it so break the rules, be that compromise, conformity, ignorance, hypocrisy, well you know how it goes. Plus all strategic planners should be born with insight and a raised fist. Ours is for sure.

Quality or Quantity by Bad Religion – next time you're in a meeting and someone brings up media coverage KPIs play them this. It's all about quality over quantity every time. The accessibility of analytics packages means that now more than ever PR should be justifying its place at the marketing table with real results, not just piles of clippings. Also as an aside if Bad Religion ever founded an agency I'd camp on their doorstep until they gave me a job. If there was ever a band to set your moral and social responsibility compass to it's them.

Wasted Love by City and Colour – If you've listened to the above four tracks you might appreciate me bringing it down a notch for this final tune. Sometimes working in agency you can feel like you're wasting your love doing work that isn't really doing much for your clients. Or moving the needle as PR people have confusingly started saying. I say stop wasting your love, work out what your client really wants and gear up your campaigns to make a difference. It feels much better.

Some more of my PR tunes that didn't make the top five just so you know...

Higher Ground – Stevie Wonder (a metaphor for the decline of AVEs) Quality Control – Jurassic Five (a metaphor for bad ideas in brainstorms) Burnout – Green Day (a metaphor for opening the morning papers and not seeing your coverage)

Playlist by Matt Steele, senior account director at Integrated Comms Agency, Pegasus


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