PR Lessons from the 2014 San Francisco Giants


Photo Credit: B Tal via Compfight cc

By Patrick Dorn
The Hoffman Agency, San Jose

78 … Yes, 78. That is how many days we have until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.

It has been less than a month since the last out of the World Series was recorded, and I find myself already looking ahead to what will come next season. What can I say? I’m a baseball fanatic.

While the fan in me wants to continue looking ahead, the PR practitioner in me wants to take a look back at the San Francisco Giants and see what lessons we can learn from them.

This unlikely championship team was just that, a team in the truest sense. Together its sum was greater than its parts. With few nationally known stars, this team went on one of the most improbable championship runs.

Now, what does this have to do with public relations?

There are three main reasons I think the Giants were successful this year — superior preparation, emphasis on fundamentals and remaining calm under pressure. These can also lead to PR success.

Superior Preparation

Did you notice the amount of defensive shifts the Giants used during the playoffs? It was almost uncanny how they regularly lined up in the correct position. This doesn’t happen by accident. It comes from an endless amount of research on an opponent. From analytics teams to advanced scouts, the commitment to preparation proved worthwhile for the Giants.

Similarly, as PR practitioners, we must put in the extra prep time to ensure success. Whether it is spending extra time researching a publication, or studying the analytics from a blog to best map out a post, it is crucial that we take the time to ensure we are providing the highest quality work.

Emphasis on Fundamentals

This Giants team really put the FUN in fundamentals this year… Bad puns aside, watching this team all year really showed the need for solid fundamentals. During the disastrous months of June and July, the Giants were one of the worst teams in baseball. They were making errors on defense and had atrocious situational hitting. The exact opposite was true in the playoffs — they won by playing clean defense and proper situational at-bats. 

PR practitioners can learn a lot from this. We need to put an emphasis on fundamentals to ensure account success. From putting the correct reporting in place, to nailing the basics on each account, it goes a long way to ensure overall account success.

Remaining Calm under Pressure

This team proved time and time again that it could handle pressure. Starters knocked out early in playoff games? No panic. Game 7 on the road? Please. This team performed its best when under pressure and regularly put its opponents in a position to make costly errors.

When things go awry PR practitioners need to be calm. Whether it is a late night change to a press release or an actual crisis situation, it is imperative that PR professionals stay calm under pressure.

There you have it. A few lessons PR practitioners can learn from the World Series Champion 2014 San Francisco Giants. (Also it doesn’t hurt to have Madison Bumgarner on your team!) 

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