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Public Relations is Coming: Three Lessons Game of Thrones Taught Us

Monday mornings at Fish haven’t been the same since June 14, 2015, aka the Season 5 Finale of Game of Thrones.

For months, we’ve missed Daenerys, wondered when Cersei’s hair would grow back and agonized as to whether Jon Snow was really dead. Some of us in the office were so excited for the show’s Season 6 premier that they made the GOT theme song their ring tone. Safe to say we’re obsessed. But maybe one of the reasons we love this medieval fantasy TV series so much is because in some twisted way, as publicists we connect to it.

Brace yourself, Game of Thrones has some pretty relatable PR lessons.

You don’t forget great.

There are 10 episodes in every season of Game of Thrones, and after the 10 episodes, the show goes on hiatus for 10 months. TEN. A lot can happen in 10 months. Babies enter the world. We experience all four seasons. People disregard things they once loved and move on to new obsessions. But we didn’t forget about Game of Thrones. Why? Because you don’t forget great. People are still talking about the great PR stunt Taco Bell pulled off in 2001. When the Mir Space Station was on its decent back to Earth, many people were nervous that part of the station would fall off and land in the South Pacific Ocean. Taco Bell announced that if a piece did fall – and hit the 40’x40’ floating raft the company placed in the ocean – they would give everyone in the United States a free taco. This genius public relations ploy earned the brand an insane amount of media coverage and attention from hungry fans who were hoping to score a free taco.

Expect the unexpected.

Hello, Red Wedding. I’m still traumatized. Looking back, I should have expected this to happen. Game of Thrones is notorious for throwing curveballs (but really, did anyone see this Season 3 massacre coming?), which is why it’s exactly like public relations (or life in general, I suppose). You can have a Plan A, B, C and D, but then a globally recognized pop icon goes into labor while filming what is already being touted as an Oscar-winning film, and suddenly your client’s event takes a back seat. It’s OK. I mean it’s not OK because you’ve spent weeks planning this event and have lined up top-tier media to cover said event, but in the end it’s OK. You’ll kill it. Not Red Wedding kind of kill, but ‘open the event up to the public, get some amazing photos and then secure the most impressive post-event media coverage known to man’ kind of kill it.

Repeat your keys message(s) over and over again.

If Daenerys Stormborn has taught us anything, it’s to make sure your target audience knows the message you are trying to communicate. As a public relations executive, this is your responsibility. You must ensure that no matter what the circumstances, your audience will remember the key message. Will you ever forget that Daenerys is The Unburnt, the Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and of the First Men? That she is the Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Breaker of Chains and the Mother of Dragons? Of course not. But if you do, she will remind you over and over again.