Almost a month after its release, the world is still buzzing about the latest cultural phenomenon to hit theaters, Spider-Man: No Way Home. As a warning, this blog does contain spoilers pertaining to the plot of the movie. If you have not yet seen the movie and do not wish to have it spoiled for you, stop reading at this point.
If you’re still reading, congratulations, you’ve been to the theater and had your mind blown by this blockbuster film. Although you may not realize it, No Way Home not only contains over two hours of non-stop entertainment, but it actually provides a few examples of situations that can be applied to the world of PR! Read on to learn more public relations tips that our team learned from watching the latest entrant to the Spider-Man saga..
- Have a Crisis Plan!
In Spider-Man: No Way Home, the stage is set immediately when Spider-Man’s secret identity is revealed to be Peter Parker. Given that he was also just framed for an extremely high profile crime, the timing could not have been worse. While the situation is unfair, one thing is certain: Peter was not prepared for the revelation of his identity. As a result, Peter finds himself in a chaotic scenario where he is unprepared for the entire world to know his secret identity. He starts taking some drastic actions to try and fix the situation, which leads to unwanted results for him, and eventually for the world.
From a PR standpoint, nobody wants their worst nightmares to come true. Unfortunately, life is unpredictable, and sometimes that is exactly what happens. Many entities ranging from sports teams to large corporations to everyday people find themselves attempting to backtrack on statements or fumbling their messaging because they don’t know how to handle a crisis.
In the event of a PR crisis, it is essential to have a crisis team and a crisis plan. By establishing a crisis team, companies know who would be representing them in case of a crisis, and how said crisis would be handled. Think of it as a fire escape plan. People don’t plan on using or needing one, but it is essential to have one just in case. By having a PR crisis plan in place, companies can effectively handle a crisis, and better yet, recover from it.
2. (Three) Heads Are Better Than One!
After initially enlisting the help of others like his Aunt May and Doctor Strange, Peter believes his best path is to go off on his own to solve his problems alone; but he digs himself into a hole that gets deeper and deeper. After he suffers the ultimate loss, he is ready to set aside his values and morals to get the revenge he seeks. Wanting to end the man responsible for the death of his aunt, Peter sulks on a roof when he is confronted by not only his best friends… but also two other versions of Spider-Man! Each reflects on their past experiences as Spider-Man, and through teamwork and collaboration, the trio of Spider-Men ultimately defeat their foes and save the day. Without the consultation of his friends (and other versions of himself), who knows how Peter’s situation would have ended.
In the world of PR, there are all kinds of professionals who bring different kinds of experience to the table. There are those who are veterans of the industry who bring valuable experience and knowledge, but newcomers can also bring fresh perspectives and ideas. Because of this, tackling a campaign or press release alone is ill-advised. When everybody can bring different experiences to the table, collaboration is key. By tackling any project with a team, rather than alone, the end result is much more likely to be Amazing!
3. Don’t Forget Who You Are!
As the movie comes to an end, Peter faces a decision: kill or cure the man responsible for the loss of Aunt May. Tempted by revenge, he almost makes a choice there is no going back from. After being stopped by the version of Spider-Man who defeated the Green Goblin in another universe, Peter realizes that killing his enemy will not bring back his aunt. He cures Norman Osborne rather than ending his life, and realizes that revenge is not worth giving up everything he stands for. Peter then makes the selfless choice to have the entire world forget who he is in order to save the multiverse. Although the world forgot who Peter Parker was that day, he is able to stay true to himself.
Too often, companies or brands try to represent themselves in a way that doesn’t reflect who they are. Whether they are trying to have a unique social presence that doesn’t fit their brand or even stooping as low as lying about their values or status as a company, they are losing sight of the fact that staying true to who you are is essential for success in the world of PR.
As if kids aren’t taught this enough growing up, honesty and taking responsibility for your actions is the best route to take. No matter who you are or what you’re doing, you will always find yourself on the right path if you are true to who you are with both yourself and others. And remember, with great power, there must also come great responsibility.