Beware of PR Zombies

Tim Munroe

I love The Walking Dead. And Halloween is around the corner. Instant blog post. 

There’s a zombie apocalypse festering in public relations. Have the people on your PR team become infected? You’ve suspected as much, but can’t be sure. How can you recognize if you have zombies lurking on your PR team and what can you do about it?

Image from Ben Mortimer used under CC license.

Zombies are non-communicative

One trait of zombies is that they are non-conversational. They have little to say and little reason to say it. They communicate on only the most basic level and with little purpose. PR zombies are no different. They are seldomly heard from, and when you do, they have little to say. They don’t listen nor do they respond to what you are saying - they are instead focused on their own objectives. Zombies have the singular purpose of eating human flesh. PR zombies have the singular purpose of not being found out.

Zombies are dim

I think we can all agree that zombies are dim. You can’t say that they don’t have brains because they do—in fact, piercing the brain is the only way to kill them. Zombies are dim and without life-energy – and PR zombies are no different. There is no energy, no ideas and they offer up the same ideas again and again. They exhibit a vapid, dim look when you say you want a big idea.

Zombies are attracted to noise

Zombies are known for their reduced cognitive ability, but are also attracted to noise and lights. One surefire way attract a horde of zombies is to raise a ruckus. Similarly, PR zombies are also attracted to loud noises and lights – in the form of pursuing PR tactics that are flashy and kitschy, but yield little substantive value. If you suspect your PR team of this, ask for ROI as proven by measured results. PR zombies don’t like ROI or metrics.

Zombies are slow and a little clumsy

One of the best features of a PR team that is that they are full of life and move rapidly. PR people who are not zombies, do not rest: they trend-jack with purpose, stay abreast of competitor news and make counseled recommendations promptly. They constantly develop new ideas that are clearly rooted in strategy, designed to deliver impact.

Zombies, on the other hand are slow –and those of the PR variety are no different. Is your PR team roaming around looking for something, anything that it can feast on? Or do they seem aimless, slow and without an objective? Do they understand what you do? Are they clumsy in their approach and ability to execute even the most mundane tactics?

Zombies inspire fear

Even though zombies are slow, we’re still afraid of them. PR zombies can elicit the same response. Do your senior executives and colleagues fear meetings with your PR team? Are they afraid because meeting with your PR team will suck the life out of them? Do they run when they see your PR team coming down the hall? Then chances are your colleagues have recognized what you have not – you’ve got PR zombies you need to deal with.

Zombies are undead

Has your PR program become lifeless? Is your PR team still talking about media relations as if it‘s their sole purpose? Does your program lack life-giving creative and digital assets integrated into your PR? Do your best efforts to inspire the team simply re-animate to become the same PR program you tried last year with the same results?

If so your entire PR program has been infected with the zombie virus. It has spread. You have three choices: Give up, run or fight back.

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