Since 1887, Groundhog Day has aimed to inject fun and folklore into winter’s cold, dark days.
It if it weren’t for the suspense that surrounds the predictive power of Punxsutawney Phil and his shadow—or the perennial photo opportunity it provides
news organizations each year—it’s doubtful we’d give the groundhog much thought.
Perhaps, too, it’s the day’s relentless hold over Bill Murray’s character (meteorologist Phil Connors) in the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day” that begs us to
remember its significance.
The rotund rodent and the world-weary weatherman can offer a few lessons for marketers, PR pros and brand managers:
Work on your socialization.
Though it might surprise you, groundhogs aren’t actually skilled at
predicting winter’s longevity. Instead, these furry creatures are experts at hibernating, burrowing underground and remaining solitary outside of mating
season. These qualities are the antithesis of the skills that a communications professional needs.
If your current strategy doesn’t include social media, you’re groundhogging it—and missing an opportunity to promote your message or content. A consistent
social media presence can be an integral channel of communication between an organization and its audience and can help break down the wall between a
marketing or PR pro and a journalist.
Unlike the groundhog, which can sleep for 150 days without eating, you should stay active and alert on social media during a crisis. You want your online
community to help your organization’s ability to respond. Through a fast-paced platform such as Twitter a crisis can escalate quickly.
Don’t come on too aggressively.
During New York’s 2009 version of the Punxsutawney Phil tradition, Chuck the
Staten Island groundhog bit Michael Bloomberg as the mayor tried to lure Chuck from his enclosure.
The New York Times
reported that Mayor Bloomberg prematurely lifted the groundhog to display him to the crowd of shadow-seeking onlookers. It was Bloomberg’s lack of patience
when enticing the rodent that prompted the creature to nip him.
When it comes to seeing results, some PR pros fall victim to a heightened sense of urgency. Rather than overwhelming a reporter with a barrage of emails,
take a more patient approach to your pitch.
If you’re facing a looming deadline, don’t obligate yourself to an excessively tight turnaround.
For your social media strategy, set up a posting calendar based on analytics, instead of bombarding your audience with ill-timed posts. An overly
aggressive strategy might not get you bitten, but it will surely frustrate your prospective targets.
Repetition can get boring.
In the 1993 movie “Groundhog Day,” it was redundancy that got the best of Phil Connors.
The weather forecaster lived through Feb. 2 over and over and over again. The repetition nearly drove him mad—until he figured out that variations were
essential to making progress.
The same can apply to marketing pros. For example, consider the steps in promoting an event:
· Write a press release about the event.
· Promote the release via email.
· Engage with journalists on social media.
· Update the client on your progress.
There’s a redundancy in this method that borders on insanity: We repeat the same efforts hoping for a different or better result.
If you aren’t producing the results you want, perhaps it is time to take a different approach to your routine, and pull a Phil Connors: Change things up.
RELATED: How to communicate with a millennial workforce.
Start a blog, join a conversation online, or explore an unfamiliar social media platform. There’s probably an audience somewhere in the social sphere you
haven’t tapped into. By disrupting your pattern and stretching your abilities, you might find a new path to your desired result.
The more you do differently, the greater chance you have to learn and adopt an alternative method and find that breakthrough to a new day.