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

PR, Pop Culture, TV and Movies, Uncategorized

December 29, 2009

PR & The Ninja Turtles

Tags: , donatello, leonardo, , michelangelo, , , raphael, shredder, , splinter, teenage mutant ninja turtles, tmnt

This post was co-conceptualized and co-written with the exceptionally awesome Sheema Siddiqi.  Read more at her blog here and follow her on .

If you are anything like us, when you think of teams, you think of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!  From comic books to TV shows to movies to toys, the Turtles have been a pop culture sensation for more than two decades now and a huge influence on more than one generation of kids and teenagers.

They are among our favorite characters and a true microcosm of a Public Relations/Marketing team!

Don’t believe us?  Let’s take a closer look.

Master Splinter – Master Splinter discovered the young turtles and nurtured them as youths and trained them to become the team they are today.  At this point in his life, he is a man of words, and prefers not to be involved in the day-to-day action.  However, if the situation calls for it, he will insert – and assert – himself!

Splinter is like the CEO of your company.  The sage leader with decades of experience, he or she probably put the team together and has helped you grow for quite some time.  They take pride in watching you excel, but isn’t afraid to jump in if you need a hand. They have the keen ability to balance good judgment with the ability to take risks. In most cases, the CEO can act as a role model for how to act in various situations as well as set the tone for entire company.

Leonardo – Every team needs a leader, and Leonardo is just that.  He makes the tough decisions, based on what’s best for the group and their mission. Beyond leading the team, Leo is also a master swordsman. He fronts the team in responsibility and by example.

The leader of your PR team should be experienced, calm and mature.  They should be able to look beyond themselves and manage everyone for the greater good.  Like Leonardo, they bring something unique and special to the table. The leader should motivate the team by displaying confidence and passion for their work and encouraging them to use their individual talents. Most good leaders do more listening than talking- its crucial to listen to the needs of your client, as well as any issues the rest of your team may have. Leonardo has to make tough decisions.  Leaders, like their CEOs, aren’t afraid to take risks in order to accomplish goals.

Donatello – While Leonardo may lead the team, Donatello is their chief problem solver.  As a master technician, he sees the world differently from the rest of the team – he understands cause and effect.  Ironically, while he develops the hi-tech gadgets to meet any challenge, he himself uses the bo stick, the simplest of weapons.

Somethin’ strange in your neighborhood?  Who ya’ gonna call?  Well, you have Ghostbusters PR and TMNT PR.  You need a crisis PR expert on your team to make sure they call TMNT and not a dude named Egon. The crisis PR expert needs to stay calm while the client is freaking out, and the good ones like Donatello will have a plan in place just in case disaster strikes. He’s got a “can do” attitude and is able to shift perspectives and see every side of the problem. That Donatello uses a stick is a good reminder that the old KISS adage (Keep It Simple, Stupid) works best when crisis strikes.

Raphael – While some people call Raphael “cool, but rude,” he is a true maverick.  He works outside the box – and sometimes outside the law – to get the job done.  His methods are unconventional and his attitude is brash…and let’s not get into the danger surrounding his sai weapons.  While Raphael is  the “maverick”, he’s also extremely loyal to the team and would never sabotage the team.The bottom line is this: while he may be the social pariah of the group, he gets the job done.  His customer service skills may be lacking, but the proof is in the pudding.

Like Raphael, it is important to approach projects from differing viewpoints and perspectives.  If everyone on your team looked at every issue the same way, it would be hard to grow your skillset.  Sometimes you need someone around you who will rock the boat and think outside the box. Raphael may need some guidance from Master Splinter and his PR team, but he’s a work in progress.  If he can merge his creativity with a positive attitude and learn to play by (some) rules, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the PR world.

Michelangelo – Mikey seems to be the least sophisticated member of the group.  He is always looking for a hot slice of pizza, which puts the other Turtles in danger from time to time.  Despite his supposed immaturity, he adds a different element to the team, with exuberance, energy and excitement.  He may not be the most precise in his execution, but he works his tail off and tries to get better every day.

Most every PR team should have some youth on it, be it a recent entry level hire or interns.  The passion to prove themselves that they can bring to the table is a powerful motivator for the rest of the crew.  Nobody is even half-perfect on Day One, but someone willing to work as hard as possible for the project deserves a spot at the table.  An entry-level PR or intern will struggle with an inner conflict- on one hand, they want to prove themselves and impress their PR team. On the other hand, they want to act as a sponge, soaking in all the information on clients. They will need to most guidance from the team, but have the potential to flourish into a successful PR professional.

April O’Neill – The big hotshot TV reporter helps the Turtles when she can, be it information or pizza.  She is powerful in the media and knows how to portray the heroes properly, even when the public is scared.

Above all else, April is a branding and trends specialist- she’s “in the know” and has an idea of what people expect from each of the clients.  It’s critical that the PR efforts match the overall marketing strategy for the client or project.  On the other hand, April is a community manager, able to influence opinions of others.  You need to have an experienced team-member who understands how to maximize social networks, as well as integrate them into a larger PR campaign. You’d trust April to expand and promote your brand, wouldn’t you?

Shredder – The arch-nemesis of the Turtles, Shredder is a true master warrior.  Although he has surrounded himself with an army of Foot Soldiers to do his bidding, he is as dangerous as it gets in a one-on-one situation.  While the Turtles have to know who they are, it’s critical to understand your enemy and their motivations – that’s the only way you can stop him!

While you don’t want the evil Shredder on your team of warriors, he does represent your team’s competition and distractions.  You must be aware of any threats, such as competing agencies, internal issues and, of course, super villains! The best way to defeat Shredder is to work together as a team, bring out the best in each other, and develop a PR/marketing campaign that kicks butt!

So there you have it: assembling your PR team is no easy feat, but it’s important to realize that if the “Master Splinter” in your life can bring out the best  in each member, then Shredder better watch his back! Who knew you could learn some huge lessons from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?!

And now we leave you with The Ninja Rap!

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  • Nice I am a mixture Michelangelo and April O'Neil. I am enjoying dreaming up strategies to make Sponsorships AND live events more social. I think people often forget and it is a new territory.

    But I am so new that I need to get from point A to B with out skipping those steps.
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