What ‘The Great Gatsby’ can teach us about PR

The acclaimed 1920s novel, with a new film version opening, offers dos and don’ts for industry pros.

Ragan Insider Premium Content
Ragan Insider Content

With the latest film rendition opening nationwide this weekend, and Leonardo DiCaprio set to melt hearts as the dashing Jay Gatsby, PR Daily decided to take a lighthearted look at what PR pros could learn from the novel and from the title character:

1. To thine ownself be true. Originally from a poverty-stricken Midwestern family, James Gatz reinvented his persona to become a self-made, mysterious millionaire who threw extravagant parties.

In PR, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being who your client or C-suite thinks you should be. The strengths you bring to the job and the personality that goes with it are why you were hired. Colleagues and clients will soon see through any phoniness, which will hurt relationship-building down the road.

2. Avoid deception. Betrayal is just one of the themes running through the novel—betrayal of people and of one’s own ideals. Too often, organizations may look to “stretch the narrative” without a strong foundation of truth. It’s our job as PR pros to ensure a brand’s messaging is truthful, relevant, and inoffensive—and won’t turn around and bite them in the end.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.