My wife and I are huge fans of the 2013 film “Saving Mr. Banks” in which Walt Disney, played by Tom Hanks, doggedly pursues the movie rights to P.L. Travers‘ immensely popular children’s novel, “Mary Poppins”. Disney ultimately triumphs over Travers’ strong resistance by convincing her the essence of the story is not so much about a magical nanny, but rather the redemption of George Banks, the proper, stuffy father who eventually awakens to what’s most important in his life — his children.
“Mary Poppins” was the first movie my mother ever took me to see. I was 5 years old. So when ABC-TV aired it this weekend, we couldn’t resist watching. I realized much of what I know about public relations is illustrated through wise words uttered by the film’s different characters. Some examples:
- “Sometimes, a little thing can be quite important.” In PR, whether it be the wording in a tweet or the decor in a room, attention to detail can make a massive difference in how people perceive your clients and you.
- “Well begun is half done.” When handling multiple priorities, it’s easy to get distracted. PR work is never singular; multitasking is required. We can’t let distractions undermine our success.
- “Sometimes a person we love, through no fault of their own, can’t see past the end of his nose.” When superiors, partners or co-workers make mistakes, it’s often public relations practitioners who must serve as the conscience of their organization. We do this by simultaneously serving as the voice of our clients and the voice of their publics.
- “They make cages in all sizes and shapes, you know.” We can easily get trapped by hesitating to think outside the box and take risks. As professionals, we can avoid this by expanding our knowledge, attempting new techniques and understanding the constant changes around us.
- “Neither am I a Maypole. Kindly stop spinning about me!” We all know the rules about spin, of course.
Maybe it was “Mary Poppins” who taught me PR. Well, OK, maybe the movie laid some foundations. In your own experiences, what quotes influenced you? Your thoughts?