3 Lessons from HBO’s “Veep” for Brands and PR Professionals
Sunday was a day for strong women, and to clarify I don’t mean because it was Mother’s Day. While many have been chatting about Daenerys Targaryen, her dragon and what occurred on the second-to-last episode of “Game of Thrones,” there’s another Emmy-award winning HBO series leading lady that needs to be celebrated and mourned: Selina Meyer. For those of you who don’t know, Selina Meyer is the main character in the political satire, “Veep,” played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The TV series ended this past Sunday after 65 episodes, seven seasons, 20 Emmy nominations and a record-breaking six consecutive Primetime Emmy wins for Louis-Dreyfus. So, what’s the best way to honor a fictional vice president that made us laugh and cry from laughing for seven seasons? Here, we reflect on some lessons that brands and their public relations agency partners can take with them.
#1: Know what your brand stands for
As much as we love Selina and her desire to become the leader of the free world, many along with herself did not know her own values. One of my favorite scenes from a recent episode is when her press secretary asks her why she wants to be president for an upcoming campaign speech, and Selina doesn’t know the answer. As publicists, our job is to convey your brand’s messaging—it’s used in our press releases and pitches—it’s the backbone of our work. When we know where a brand puts its values and what that brand stands for, it’s much easier for everyone—staff, publicists, media and the public—to back your brand. Not entirely sure what you want your message to be? That’s OK. As a communications agency, one of the first things we do when we’re on-boarding a new client is work with you on your messaging; we have to learn and understand what your company values and determine, together, how to communicate that to the general public.
#2: Know that your staff and co-workers are human
As publicists, our work is not a 9-to-5 job. Why? Because a public relations firm works with journalists and producers who work around the clock. The news, as they say, never sleeps. So, yes, public relations professionals sometimes staff interviews early in the morning or respond to emails in the middle of dinner. Selina expected a lot of her staff, but that doesn’t mean your staff is your personal aide like Gary Walsh (what didn’t he have packed in that bag?!). However, work and life tend to just *happen,* so it’s important to ask yourself questions like “can this email be sent tomorrow” or “could this call wait until normal operating hours?” If it can, great! You can set an email up for delay delivery, and let your team know they can tackle a to-do in the morning if you’re sending a late-night note. Your team or your publicist have lives outside of the office, filled with families, friends, and of course watching “Veep.”
#3: Teamwork makes the dream work
While Selina’s team is well…a bit eccentric, they are a team that got stuff done on screen and even more off the screen. Without her supporting cast, Julia Louis-Dreyfus would not have made television history by winning six consecutive Emmys. At our public relations agency, one of our core values is collaboration. We see you as partners navigating the world of food and beverage, franchises and lifestyle spaces. Our Konnect employees support one another from brainstorming clever subject lines to creating innovative press and social media influencer events and more—it’s amazing to see what work we can get done when we help one another. When you’re looking to build up a brand, make sure you find a team who can support you like data enthusiast Kent Davison, devoted confidant Amy Brookheimer, power-hungry Dan Egan, button pusher Jonah Ryan, relatable Ben Cafferty, loveable Richard Splett.
Best of luck as you navigate the world of public relations and may your legacy live on just like vice president Selina Meyer… or ideally longer than her presidency.
Now to re-watching episodes of “Veep,”