T.J. Oshie became an American hero, hockey icon, and trending topic all in a matter of minutes on Saturday when he led Team USA to its big win over Russia during a highly anticipated matchup at the Sochi Olympics.
It was no coincidence that the young player was tapped to lead his squad to its spectacular shootout victory.
As I watched the game as a PR professional who is also the mother of a teenaged hockey goalie, it was clear that our industry could learn a lot about how to win from Oshie and his team.
Choose a bold strategy
While Oshie was selected for Team USA largely because of his shootout skills, nobody expected coaches to choose Oshie to shoot an unprecedented six times, beating Russian goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky on four of those attempts. The bold strategy of sending Oshie out again and again effectively got inside the Russian goalie’s head and resulted in Team USA's stunning win.
As a PR pro, you need to be confident enough to pick the unexpected strategy that others might be too afraid to choose. This means keeping your skills current with the industry’s latest tools and techniques so you are always ahead of the competition.
Size doesn't always matter
At 27 years old, Oshie isn't the biggest or most experienced athlete on Team USA’s roster. That didn't matter during Saturday’s game.
Your company or firm doesn’t need to be the biggest player to get major results in PR either, especially in today's media environment. With technology and specialization in modern PR, smaller teams and firms can obtain the same or even better results than their larger counterparts. The game-changing secret is assembling a talented team that understands their goals and knows the steps that lead to the desired results.
Have a lot of moves
You never know if or when you will get called on to be “the Oshie” of your PR campaign.
So how can you make sure that you’re ready?
To win, you need to have a lot of moves. If you're asked to secure media placements, you can't have just one go-to reporter. Instead, practitioners need several tiers of journalists from multiple outlets on their media list. If you're charged with delivering multifaceted results, be sure to incorporate a variety of tactics into your campaign.
Practice makes perfect
One secret that elite athletes know is to practice all of their moves before the game.
After already having shot five times in Saturday’s epic shootout, T.J. Oshie wondered if he had any moves left to shake up the Russian goalie. He did, but only because he’d practiced them countless times.
Whether on an Olympic ice rink or in a company boardroom, preparation can make all the difference.
Lisa Arledge Powell is president of MediaSource, a PR and content production firm that specializes in Brand Journalism. She’s on twitter at @LisaArledge.