To think Seuss does not seem
To remind of Bernays
Nonetheless, our good rhyme king
Does have his place
In teaching us that in our own operations
We must always dream big about public relations.
So gather ”˜round, comm-heads
Come one and come all!
I call you to WUL,
You I do call
To see what we can learn
From words written in ink
From the man who said
Think of the Thinks you can Think!
Seuss’s way of seeing the world was so cleverly creative that kids couldn’t help but want to read, something that no other author before him could persuade them to do.
More importantly, Seuss’s books always came with some kind of lesson or understanding of the world. These lessons aren’t lost on me. In fact, most of them are still applicable to the world as we see it.
Seuss had an unusual way of communicating, no doubt, but he also seemed to talk about how we should communicate and live as we communicate.
Allow me to demonstrate with five Dr. Seuss books imparting upon us important, fundamental lessons of PR.
Summary: Seuss teaches kids to count and understand colors with his array of interesting creatures grouped in different sized groups, with differing shades.
How this helps a tiny, growing, future PR pro: Understanding numbers and segmentation is a key to any job.
Particularly, public relations and baseball have benefitted from advanced statistics over the last 10 years. As communication has moved to the Net, we have come to measure more and more of what we see and see it show up in results.
Only by knowing the difference between whether there is one fish or if there are two, and whether they are red or blue can we ever tell which bait reels in the most fish in the first place, ya dig?
Summary: The magical world envisioned by the author is brought to life with a series of purely imagined creatures and places.
How this helps a tiny, growing, future PR pro: PR is a creative job. While there is some structure to what we do, imagination is still the king of communication. Coming up with new ways to convey ideas is our duty and responsibility.
Exercise your imagination by thinking of unusual thinks.
Summary: A tiny bug sneezes, creating a butterfly effect that ripples through a town and leads to uncertain outcomes.
How this helps a tiny, growing, future PR pro: There is first the uncertain, immeasurable outcome that is to occasionally occur with our actions, some of which are intentional and some of which are accidental.
Summary: The Zooks and the Yooks get into a cold war over how to butter toast, leading them to an indefinite brink of mutually assured destruction.
How this helps a tiny, growing, future PR pro: The Butter Battle Book is a great way to introduce the stupidity of cold war threats to a young person, but it also teaches us never to get into a scenario of heightened tension and mutually assured damage. There is too much at stake and too much energy spent on meeting our doom to ever force people to hold such a consequence against one another.
The Cold War of PR professionals? Nuclear ad campaigns. Stay away from them. Just ask AT&T.
Summary: Yertle is the lowliest turtle in all the land. The King decides to stack his subjects (the other turtles) on top of one another until he is the highest thing in the whole universe, suggesting that this will expand his territory. All is well for the king (not so well for the turtles) until Yertle, the bottom turtle, sneezes, crumbling the tower made from his fellow countrymen and leaving the king in a pile of muck.
How this helps a tiny, growing, future PR pro: A couple of points to take from this. We could take the approach that you are only as strong as your weakest link and should keep only top notch professionals beneath you in your organizational structure.
We could also view the moral as a sort of “shrug shrug, things happen” tale. But really, Yertle the turtle is about not getting greedy and treating your fellow turtles with respect.
Image: What What via Flickr, CC 2.0