9 communications lessons from Bob Dylan

Trust your gut. Boldly innovate. Rebrand. PR pros and other communicators find inspiration from America’s newest Nobel laureate.

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Forget some literary soothsayers’ predictions that an American novelist such as Philip Roth, Thomas Pynchon or Ursula K. Le Guin would win this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature.

Pay up if you bet on an international writer—Albanian poet Ismail Kadare, Hungarian novelist László Krasznahorkai or Israeli author Amos Oz.

This year’s laureate in literature—the award that eluded Lev Tolstoy and Mark Twain—goes to the iconic American singer/songwriter, Bob Dylan. Yet amid the celebrations by fans and expressions of surprise among critics, PR pros and communicators can glean lessons from a rebranding wizard whose songs inspired a pivotal generation—and many thereafter.

Few keepers of shortlists were betting on Dylan in advance. The New Republic’s survey of authors in the running as of last week was headlined with the worst literary prediction of the year. (But hey, at least they thought to include him.)

“Who Will Win the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature?” the magazine stated. “Not Bob Dylan, that’s for sure.”

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