By Erin Hackenmueller
Welcome to the spookiest time of year! I love Halloween for the elaborate costumes, creepy decorations and never-ending treats. But Halloween can also teach us some important lessons about public relations.
1. Don’t be a basic witch.
When it comes to Halloween, it’s go big or go home. Screen-printed shirts with the words “this is my costume” are not cool. Creativity is the best part about Halloween! The greatest costumes I’ve seen are the ones that use humor, fear or nostalgia. I recently saw two people dressed up as Ms. Frizzle and The Magic School Bus, and I’ve never been more impressed. The guy cut out an actual school bus out of cardboard held up by suspenders — that dedication is what we should all aspire toward.
In PR, just doing a basic campaign without the proper creativity or dedication will get you nowhere. The best campaigns are given time and thought. People want to be impressed, so why not give them what they want?
2. Leave the sexy bunny ears at home for the work party.
Knowing your audience is crucial. I don’t want to wear a costume that will lead to a sit-down with HR on Monday. Dressing for the wrong audience brings unintended consequences, just like communicating the wrong message to your audience.
Before you craft a message, do your research about your audience. Is what you’re saying appropriate for that specific group of people? It might be perfect for a different audience, just like a bunny costume, but will it have unintended consequences with the audience you want to reach?
3. When you take off the mask, you’re still you.
On Nov. 1, it’s time to take off the mask, remove the scary makeup and dust the cobwebs. While decorating our apartments and dressing up as our favorite characters are fun, in the end we’re left with ourselves. We can’t hide behind our cat whiskers and Pennywise masks forever.
Similarly, companies can’t hide behind a facade. PR campaigns must remain true to company values. Just like my mouse-ear headband, a disingenious campaign isn’t fooling anyone.
Much like Halloween, public relations is a great way to let out some creativity. This Halloween, keep these tips in mind while you work on your campaigns and finish up your homework assignments. Have fun, and happy haunting!