The Buzz by Mike Schaffer - PR, Social Media, Pop Culture and Sports


October 19, 2009

Four PR Lessons From My Dog

Tags: Balki, dogs, perfect strangers, , , under armour

I love my dog.  I know all dog owners say that, but really, I love Balki!

Hi, I'm Balki! Will you be my friend?

Hi, I'm Balki! Will you be my friend?

Have you met Balki yet?

(Since I know you want to ask: Yes, we did, in fact, name our dog after Bronson Pinchot’s character from “Perfect Strangers.”  We’re those people.)

My dog is my running buddy, my foot warmer, my biggest fan.  And what he doesn’t know is that he is an excellent PR teacher.  In fact, there are 4 keys to effective PR that little Balki has mastered, even though he is only 13 months old.

1) Approach every day enthusiastically – For Balki, everyday is a new adventure!  When he wakes up in the morning, all he needs is a front yard and some stretching until he is a smily guy, ready to rule the block.

Shouldn’t we, as PR and marketing pros, approach the morning as the start of fresh opportunities for our clients?  We tend to need a lot of time to get up and rolling (guilty!), but how much more effective would we be if we were ready to rock and roll earlier in the day?

2) Say “Hello!” – Whether it’s a new dog at the corner or a 4 year old girl walking down the street with her parents, Balki lets them all know he sees them.  Whether a wag of the tail, a friendly yelp or even a lick to the face, he makes his presence known.

I'm so happy! You should be, too!

I'm so happy! You should be, too!

We are a social breed.  If we are to be “people people,” that starts with a simple “howdy!”  You never know who you are sitting next to.  A few days ago, my wife and I were out to dinner and started talking to the couple sitting next to us.  We ended up going out to a wine bar with them after dinner and have new “couple friends” and perhaps a few business leads for all of us, just because we said “Hello!”

3) Protect your owner client at all times - Was that a bump in the night?  A strange sound outside the front door?  Are those sirens wailing down the pike?  When he hears or sees a potential threat, the normally docile Balki springs to action, doing a perimeter check of our home.  Much like an Under Armour commercial, Balki will !

In much the same way, publicists should always have an eye and an ear towards any potential threats to our clients.  If a competitor releases a new product or a strategic partner loses assets, we should not only be aware of the problem, but be ready to propose strategies to overcome the obstacles.

4) Show appreciation – If you do something nice for my dog, like give him a treat, a belly rub or an ear scratch, he will let you know.  He’ll lick you, he snuggle you, he’ll smile…he will show his appreciation.

That’s something we should do, if we aren’t already.  We are networking folks, so when someone does something nice for us, it’s critical that we show our appreciation.  A quick phone call, e-mail or a hand-written, old-fashioned thank you note goes a long way.  Obviously, none of those methods are a lick in the face, but I think you’ll get the message across just the same.

So there you have it…PR really is for the dogs!

QUESTION: What other good PR lessons have you learned from animals?

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Hi, I'm Balki! Will you be my friend?

[/caption] Have you met Balki yet? (Since I know you want to ask: Yes, we did, in fact, name our dog after Br"/>
  • AXP112
    In many ways I think this post is not only for PR pros but also for anyone who works with others. Dogs love us unconditionally. I've got two pups sitting here and both just simply love the fact that I'm around. Positive feed back goes a long way but not just from me to them, but also from them to me. They keep me motivated same as your employees or clients should make you.
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