The PR industry can be a tough one to navigate. This is because there will always be a PR crisis that needs to be handled, more earned media that will be required from your clients and the public's close eye that never seems to blink. Sound familiar? Well, being a plastic in the cult classic Mean Girls almost seems just as hard to handle.

Plastic or not, everyone in high school had a difficult time. This was certainly true for the characters in Mean Girls. And this is why PR pros can learn a thing or two from each one of the main characters — as they all have their own unique quirks and perspectives that they bring to the table.

Ready to enter girl world? And see how high school, the animal kingdom and the PR industry have similarities? Then let’s start putting your own personal Burn Book together!

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Let’s jump right in:

Cady Heron: Learn from your mistakes

As a PR professional, there are a lot of opportunities to make mistakes but just as many possibilities to learn from them. The public relations industry is faced with countless crises and PR professionals constantly have the public eye hovering over everything that they do. So, what is the best thing to do? Enter — Cady Heron. She has made her fair share of mistakes and learned many lessons.

We see Cady start out as an innocent young adult from Africa, then doing a 360 and becoming the meanest of all the plastics, only then to realise that it is time to fix the trail of mistakes that she left behind her.

Although not everyone agreed with her choices in the end, she did what she had to do to make things right. Not only did this help her rebuild her reputation, but it encouraged new relationships to blossom with others. You go, Glenn Coco!

As a PR professional, building new relationships and learning from past mistakes is a vital step to take to ensure the success of your career. This will also show clients what an amazing person you are to work with!

*Image sourced from Pinterest

Regina George: Channel your passions

Some PR professionals might be excellent at writing attention-grabbing press releases, while others might flourish with arranging press conferences. This shows that as a PR pro, you need to look at your best qualities and utlise them to reach your full potential.

This does not mean you should not nurture your other skills — it just means that you need to focus on what you do best. This is exactly what we see Regina George doing! There are a few things that she knows she does the best, such as:
  • being a plastic
  • being the mean girl
  • being the star of the show, and
  • being excellent at Lacrosse.
Whatever Regina George decides to do, she does it properly and with a ton of passion. Her approach ensures that she is successful in everything that she puts her mind to because she places all her focus on that one thing that she finds important.

This is exactly what PR pros need to do! Focus your passion on the things that you are good at and ensure that you will be the best at it!

media update top tip: Remember how important it is to always put your energy into the things that count!

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Gretchen Wieners: Make it 'fetch'

As a PR professional, you will never be immune to criticism from clients, colleges or the public. This means that you need to grow a thick skin and stick to your guns if you are confident in the work that you produce.

In Mean Girls, it is clear that Gretchen Wieners is full of great ideas but Regina George keeps shooting her down. Yet time after time, Gretchen puts on a big smile and pushes through it. This is a vital quality that you as a PR pro need to learn.

Have a thick skin; don’t let anyone tell you if you can wear hoop earrings or not and be sure to make your work ‘so fetch’!

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Karen Smith: Don't undermine your capabilities

In a world where companies, agencies and consumers want a unicorn, it can be so easy to feel that you might not be good enough. You as an individual have a ton to offer — you just need to see it for yourself.

PR professionals are more important to brands than ever because with people working from home and still social distancing, reaching audiences has in a way become a lot harder.

So, what does Karen teach PR pros? Well, she encourages you to not let the haters get you down, but to rather reach for that goal that you have and make it happen. When Cady asks Karen what is a talent that she has, she says, "I can put my whole fist in my mouth, wanna see?" This was said with full confidence, btw!

So, although we do not encourage you to show your hidden talents (like putting your entire fist in your mouth) to a client, we do encourage you to show them how passionate you are and what strengths you possess to take their brand messaging to the next level.

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Janis Ian: Always work with a strategy

PR professionals need to have a plan of action, structures, steps and a strategy in place. This is not only for the agencies they work for but for their clients too. Having proper steps in place will allow a PR pro to focus on a client’s objective and better assist you in helping the client to reach it. A strategy will also help you spot out your competitors' weaknesses and allow you to step in where there is a lack in the market.

Janis Ian is the mastermind behind Regina George's downfall in Mean Girls (we might need to re-evaluate who the true ‘mean girl’ is here) and all of this was done without anyone knowing it was her. This just proves that having a proper plan in place will make it that much easier to reach your objectives with the least amount of risk involved. And above all, you need to know that you are the best PR pro out there!

*Image sourced from imgflip

Damian Leigh: Communicate like never before

PR professionals need to be excellent at communication. This is because they need to communicate with any- and everyone! At times, this might seem daunting — simply because good communication takes work. But this is one of the best ways to build long-lasting and authentic relationships with journalists, your clients, colleagues and the public.

So, what can Damian teach PR professionals? Let's take a look:
  • Don't be afraid to speak up.
  • Communicate honestly.
  • Stand behind what you say.
Since Damian is such a great communicator, he is also well informed about the students he goes to school with. With this in mind, PR professionals need to know your industry and the people walking in those circles with you. This will allow you to know which journalists are worth working with and what clients need.

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Mrs. Norbury: It's okay to be a little bit pushy

PR professionals need to get a lot of things done in a short period of time on a daily basis. This ranges from gaining earned media for their clients to organising events and meeting with clients. Now, dear PR pro, you have definitely read more than once that you should not push or hassle journalists when you send them press releases. Although this is true, sometimes you do need to be a little 'pushy'.

Just like Mrs. Norbury, you might need to follow up with an online publication a few times before that press release gets published or that Q&A gets done. Just ensure that there is still a good balance between being 'pushy' and respectful of others’ time.

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Who is your favourite Mean Girls character and what can a PR pro learn from them? Be sure to let us know in the comments section below.

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Are you in need of some inspiration to get through January? Then be sure to read Three New Year's resolutions every PR pro must have.
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