PR Best Practices from Old-School Rap Geniuses

Credit: Raelene Gutierrez
Credit: Raelene Gutierrez

In the sprit of knowledge sharing, my colleague Bill Rundle and I recently debuted B&O Street Insights.

What started as friendly banter between a guy from the “Yay” and another from the “mean streets of South East Auckland” morphed into an internal communications initiative. Now, we’ve decided to share this musical treasure trove with you – the fine readers of Above The Fold. The purpose of this project is to take our fondness for old-school rap/R&B/hip-hop, and use it to further enhance each other’s knowledge on the key concepts of PR in a unique, fun and (sometimes) creative manner.

Basically, we’re going to show you how the old-school rap geniuses were actually speaking to music lovers all over the world about communications best practices. Our first four installments are below. Come along for the ride and enjoy the lyrical journey.

Volume I: Mr. Robert Matthew Van Winkle

Stop, collaborate and listen.

This nugget of wisdom comes from the profound words of the poet Vanilla Ice. An evangelist for teamwork and active listening, Mr. Ice reminds us that we should take time to stop what we are doing, think about how we can collaborate with our co-workers and clients, and listen to customer and industry feedback.

Volume II: E-Z Rock and Robert Base

Ladies love me, girls adore me, I mean even the ones who never saw me
Like the way that I rhyme at a show, The reason why, man, I don’t know

Robert Base describes a situation in which his personal brand is known and adored, reinforcing the value of word of mouth. His brand ambassadors were born as a result of high-quality messaging being delivered through a successful speaking and awards program. When asked about his strategy to build brand ambassadors and fan loyalty, Mr. Base was hazy on the details.

Insights: 

  • The most successful PR campaigns build brand reputation, loyalty and generate word of mouth.
  • Agency staff need to remember to save their PR plans on the server so they can be replicated at a later date.

Volume III: Jonathan Smith

Shots shots shots shots shots shots
Shots shots shots shots shots
Shots shots shots shots shots

Mr. Smith refers to a popular form a of liquor consumption (a shot) multiple times throughout the prose. He expresses enthusiasm for the micro-portions of alcohol with a raw and unrefined delivery. Smith’s approach is highly engaging and persuasive, and stands out as an example of highly effective messaging.

Insights:

  • Keep messaging simple and concise
  • Repetition builds familiarity
  • It’s all about the delivery
  • Shot Friday is an essential element of the PR lifestyle

Volume IV: David Jude Jolicoeur

Hey how ya doin’
Sorry ya can’t get through
Why don’t you leave your name
And your number
And I’ll get back to you

As PR practitioners, we are often caught in situations where we are unable to answer the phone, and Jolicoeur’s best practice guide to voicemail greetings still rings true today.

His voicemail strategy involves a greeting delivered in a friendly yet professional manner, which acknowledges the inconvenience that your absence might have caused the client/journalist/influencer. Jolicoeur then recommends callers leave their name and number, before communicating intention to return their call.

While most voicemail strategists agree that callers should be encouraged to leave their name and number, many have criticized Jolicoeur’s weak suggestion (‘why don’t you leave your name and your number’) and believe this should be a firm request.

Insights:

  • Ensure your voicemail is friendly yet professional
  • Encourage callers to leave their name and their number
  • Communicate your intention to return their call
  • It was probably the Wall Street Journal so return that call as soon as possible

That’s all for now. Get at us next month for more rap-infused PR tips and tricks.

Bill Rundle also contributed to this post.