7 PR lessons from ‘The Big Bang Theory’

The sitcom is coming to an end in May, but its humorous characters—along with the insights they inspire—can be remembered long past that. Consider these takeaways.

TV’s highest-rated sitcom is coming to an end.

On Wednesday, CBS announced that the 12th season of “The Big Bang Theory” will be its last. The series, which follows the life of a group of scientists (and one aspiring actress), is TV’s longest-running multicamera comedy. The series finale will air in May 2019.

Vulture reported:

The decision to end the sitcom apparently came after Jim Parsons, who plays Sheldon, flat-out told CBS executives that he wouldn’t be sticking around if the show got renewed for a 13th season, which has now led Parsons to pen a note of appreciation to the TBBT‘s cast and crew on Instagram.

“The Big Bang Theory’s” Twitter profile tweeted the following statement from CBS, Warner Bros. Television and Chuck Lorre Productions:

Though some took to social media and headlines to rejoice over the series shutting down, it’s one of TV’s most-watched sitcoms, averaging 15 million viewers an episode. No matter which side you fall on, there are several takeaways communicators can take from the show’s cast of nerds.

1. Embrace your inner nerd.


“The Big Bang Theory” focuses on experimental physicists Leonard Hofstadter and Sheldon Cooper, astrophysicist Rajesh Koothrappali and aerospace engineer Howard Wolowitz along with Hofstadter’s and Cooper’s neighbor, Penny. As the seasons progressed, neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler and microbiologist Bernadette Rostenkowski became integral members of the show. Aside from the plethora of science and comic book jokes throughout each episode, the characters all had their own geeky passions.

Just like “The Big Bang Theory” cast, you can embrace your inner nerd and use it to inspire your work.

PR pros love what they do, which is important for a highly stressful career. If you’re into data and analytics, focus on measuring campaigns and social listening to boost your organization’s messages. Are you passionate about storytelling? Use that drive to become a phenomenal brand journalist and hone your pitches.

2. Word choice is important.

The gang often made fun of Penny’s on-again, off-again boyfriend Zack for his dimwitted comments, including the time Zack said that he hadn’t been to a comic book store in “literally a million years.” Cooper was quick with a snarky reply.

You might not be the sort of person who corrects co-workers on word misuses (or perhaps you are), but you should keep a sharp eye on your copy. Cut jargon and filler words, and write with your readers in mind.

3. Follow your heart (and your gut).

Koothrappali gave Hofstadter this piece of advice for a personal dilemma, but it’s also applicable in the world of PR.

Go after the jobs you want and aspire to work for your dream organizations. You can help your endeavors by networking and continuing to learn and hone your skills. Don’t forget to listen to your instincts, as well—whether it’s about your career path, client or task.

4. It’s OK to fail.


Though Penny aspired to be a famous actress, she was a waitress at The Cheesecake Factory until the show’s eighth season, when she became a successful pharmaceutical sales representative. She persevered through many bouts of disappointment and self-doubt (often with the help of Hofstadter).

It’s OK if your plans don’t turn out the way you first envisioned them, both in your career and your individual campaigns. If a strategy or tactic fails, don’t wallow in defeat. Instead, use it as a stepping stone to uncovering what worked and what didn’t, so that you can produce a better outcome the next time.

5. Increase engagement by loosening the reins.


Cooper’s roommate agreement was a strict document that covered nearly every aspect of his living situation with Hofstadter. When he started dating Farrah Fowler, the pair drafted an exhausted relationship agreement. Though the documents fit Cooper’s obsessively analytical personality, it didn’t leave much freedom to others under the agreements.

Though it’s important for your organization to have policies in place which outline elements such as social media policies, crisis communications plans and brand voice, ensure that your documents and rules don’t restrict your employees so much that they can’t share their stories and help boost your brand image.

6. Take a new angle on an old topic, product or service.

Cooper’s take on the game of rock-paper-scissors is often referred to by fans as one of the series’ highlights.

You can also increase your chances of success by approaching your press releases, product campaigns, leadership communications and more with a fresh angle. Brainstorm with your co-workers or complete activities to jump-start your creativity. Coming up with a new way to relay your objectives can capture attention and make a splash.

7. It’s important to listen.

Cooper isn’t a great listener, which often gets him in trouble with his friends and his wife. He often has to be forced to listen to others’ questions and concerns—and gives his advice abruptly, so he can focus on his own needs.

Don’t be a brand manager who only talks about your organization or its products and services. Consumers don’t want to follow or interact with walking ads. Rather, they want to be heard and have their questions answered. The more you listen to your audience members, the more you can learn—and the greater your chances are at producing content and solutions which serve their needs.

What lessons from the show would you add to this list, PR Daily readers?

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