PR Lessons from the Grammys

After the Grammys ended I quickly searched the internet for articles analyzing the nights many big moments. I came across an article titled “7 PR Lessons from a Grammy Awards Insider” and was immediately interested since I have a huge interest in the music industry.

This article took you through seven major lessons the Grammy Awards showcased that helped capture the attention of people everywhere. I wanted to just pick a few that were the most useful but it turns out all of them are extremely important to know and understand if you want to succeed in the public relations industry.

The first lesson was titled “Step up your social game”. This referred to the Grammys Awards publicizing their hashtag throughout the entire show, as well as hosting a “Twitter cam” that took pictures of celebrities live tweeting selfies from the event. The practice of creating a hashtag for a show and showing it on the screen for viewers to use isn’t a new concept but it was the first time the Grammys did it. The Twitter cam in my opinion, was such an amazing idea, with the camera you can see all of the action around the celebrities and is another way to get the public to follow the Grammy account and hashtag. From a public relations perspective, being proactive on social media was a great move for the show making more people aware that it was on and it was interesting. There were many viewers that only tuned into the Grammys because of things they were reading on Twitter, which shows how influential social media can be on people.

beyPhoto taken from Time Entertainment

The opening number by Jay Z and Beyonce was a performance that won’t be forgotten for a long time, which proves the second PR Lesson “Sex Sells” true.  Many people argued it was risqué and too sexual, but from a PR standpoint it did what it set out to do which was capturing the attention of viewers, bloggers, reporters, talk show hosts and of course social media. People are still talking about it, almost a week after it happened and that’s exactly what the producers and public relations department wanted in an opening act. While using a sexual context isn’t always appropriate for public relations work, when you have an awards show of this magnitude you want to command attention from anyone willing to give it, and tweet about it.

thicke-miley-vmasPhoto taken from Rap-Up

What do many people think of when they hear the name Robin Thicke? Most likely it was his last national performance where he had Miley Cyrus “twerking” on him which wearing a raunchy outfit. The Grammys did wonders for Thicke’s image showing that “There’s always a second chance” which is the third PR lesson. The Grammys seemed to erase the memory of Cyrus grinding all over him (at least for now) by replacing it with an amazing collaboration between Thicke and classic rock band Chicago. It was such a great performance that amazed and entertained millions of viewers, in a way completely opposite of Thicke and Cyrus’ collaboration.

daftPhoto taken from SPIN

“Keep em’ guessing” is the fourth PR lesson that the Grammys taught us. Daft Punk not only stole two of the most coveted awards from the show but were also one of the most talked about and googled performers of the night. Everyone watching obviously wanted to see who the masked men were that received such big awards so they turned to social media and the internet in general. This PR move is so brilliant because it requires people to search Daft Punk in which they see results for their music, pictures, videos, concerts, news stories, websites, blogs and everything they want people to see and share.

arbysPhoto taken from Clickz

One of my favorite PR lessons from this article was the fifth one titled “Seize the moment”. Memorably displayed by the Oreo Cookie tweet that read “Power out? No Problem. You can still dunk in the dark” when the power went out at the Super Bowl in 2013. This year the best one we have seen so far is a tweet by Arby’s during the Grammys that saw a chance for publicity and took it. Arby’s tweeted “Hey @Pharrell, can we have our hat back? #GRAMMYs” which in my opinion is pretty clever and witty on the PR and social media team at Arby’s. The tweet to date has 87,700 retweets and 48,800 favorites. This shows you that as a PR professional you should always be aware of current events and what is going on around you in case there is ever a great publicity opportunity.

The sixth lesson was titled “Don’t screw up the speech” talking about the critical time you have to speak to your fans and supporters. This was displayed by Lorde during her awkward but humbling speech she gave after winning her awards. As a PR professional, anytime you have the opportunity to speak in front of such a massive amount of people, you have to know what you are going to say and how to say it the most effective way.

screen shot 2014-01-27 at 12.55.47 amPhoto taken from Business Insider

Finally, one of the most important lessons you could learn is how to “Start a conversation” or engage your audience. During Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s performance of the song ‘Same Love,’ 34 gay and straight couples were married by Queen Latifa. This sparked a controversy but also a worldwide conversation by everyone that heard about or saw the marriage ceremony take place. This was a powerful statement that the Grammys as well as the performers made, but also from a PR standpoint started a conversation that I believe will never end. It was beautiful to see how many people were engaged in this spectacle but even more beautiful, especially to the PR professional behind it, to see all the thousands of conversations, tweets, blog posts, articles, websites and other social media posts it sparked all over the internet.

All of these lessons that I read about from this article I probably would not have recognized on my own. This article inspired me to start looking at everything around me more closely and from a PR perspective. So many things are pre planned for reasons explained in the previous paragraphs and that is so amazing. Just goes to show you how public relations is everywhere and how big of an impact is has.


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