7 hidden PR learnings from characters of NBC’s ‘The Office’

Astha Jhunjhunwala - PR learnings

Astha Jhunjhunwala from Adfactors PR takes us through some noteworthy observations & learnings for PR professionals, from the characters of the iconic sitcom, ‘The Office’ – a show that captured the imperfections & peculiarities of the 9 to 5 work culture.

I am writing this article after watching six seasons of NBC’s gift to mankind- “The Office” in a span of two weeks. I’m blissfully late to this show, which most of you would have already loved for its rib-tickling abilities and peculiar characters. The show revolved around why these characters were a perfect recipe for a 9 to 5 imperfection and foolishness at work. But, it’s difficult not to take note of their basic sales talent and conflict resolution abilities. Going a notch ahead, I think it takes a Public Relations professional to look at them through a lens that outlines some of their best PR traits.

Here are my top 7 character picks and their qualities we can look up to, as PR professionals-

Michael Scott – The accidental success of Willy Wonka

Scott once pulled out a brilliant campaign idea when he hid 5 golden tickets in random boxes of a single paper shipment for a 15% discount for the lucky clients who find them.

In Willy Wonka’s style, what happened next was a combination of disaster and then intense luck on the show. But in a real-life brand or product launch situation, if executed well, such creativity goes a long way in sending across a brand’s message.

If a brand campaign is paired with customer delight it generally gets the required attention, so we can always put on Wonka’s creative hat and think out of the box.

Kelly Kapoor: Know When to Make Peace

To put it mildly, this feisty character was known to have a hundred sentences to say in under 5 minutes at any given time. Portraying the only Indian on the show, the character of Kelly Kapoor excelled at managing customer relations and solving grievances. We all know how important it is to play the role of a peacemaker in a PR function, because when it gets hectic and tempers fly around, handling backlash with a smile on our faces can help.

Pam BeeslySensitive to individual personalities

Pam Beesly, the pretty receptionist turned saleswoman was known to add a personal touch to every conversation with her great observation skills and surely knew how to make people comfortable.

While communicating with all facets of our PR world- clients, journalists, and influencers, we must always remember to not overstep anyone’s comfort zone.

As we have often noticed, being responsible and sensitive in our communication always end up with long-term work relations and comfort.

Ryan Howard: Updated with the Latest Fads

Ryan Howard or teasingly referred to ‘the temp’, brought most of the new-age brilliancy to the table. Quick to become Michael’s favorite, the youngest in the team knew how to use digital tools better than anyone and make presentations look engaging. As we have started sharing more content online and see the transition to digital in real-time, it is extremely important to stay relevant to stakeholders and industry veterans alike. This can only happen if we all go back to being students and learn the finer aspects of how to maximize our communication on digital and social media.

Also read: Opinion: Cashbacks & Discounts: Is the post-COVID consumer reward ready?

Angela Martin: Perfection in the Event Community

Angela was the straight-faced and no-nonsense head of the party planning committee on the show. The only weakness that heavily-armored personality ever showed was when she couldn’t set up the best event for any occasion at work. Going by the erratic demands of her boss, it was most difficult to deliver ‘ice sculptures’ or ‘someone wildly famous’ on a whim. However, she never said no to any of this and tried to piece together a party that would be greeted with collective appreciation. We often face similar situations during launch events, press conferences, and office parties but realizing that every problem has a solution helps us go a long way in giving our best.

Dwight Shrute: Master of Data and Facts

Dwight Shrute was the most erratic yet sensible character on the show with a knack for knowing world trivia on his fingertips. Fiercely competitive and ambitious, most of his confidence stemmed from excellent track knowledge on clients and the industry.

As PR professionals, we make the most sense when we are well-read about the industry. Once we have the relevant data and facts on our hands, it only takes one call to communicate the brand’s objective.

Jim Halpert: Level: Headed and Persistent

A personal favorite and the “good guy” of the show, Jim Halpert was known for his calm demeanor and patience, humor and silliness aside. He was quick to walk in at the time of crisis and take a neutral approach to calm people down. He believed in getting work done in the most practical way and tried to keep everyone on the same page. We often come across situations where it become pivotal to be equally dynamic and peaceful and we can take a page out of Jim’s book to ensure that.

In conclusion, I would just like to highlight another quote from the most iconic character from the show “I want people to be afraid of how much they love me”, Michael Scott – doesn’t seem like an unachievable feat if we inculcate these qualities in ourselves.

This article piece is authored by Astha Jhunjhunwala, Senior Account Executive at Adfactors PR.

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