In 2006, one of the greatest movies to ever exist came out … That's right, we are talking about The Devil Wears Prada.

I've personally watched this classic movie countless times at different stages of my life, and each time I got a completely different perspective and takeaway

As a writer for different industries, I found some invaluable tips — this time for PR — that I just had to share with you guys from this iconic film!

Read on as media update's Saads Abrahams shares some groundbreaking PR tips from The Devil Wears Prada.


Adaptability is vital

In The Devil Wears Prada, our protagonist Andy Sachs learns that she needs to adapt her way of thinking to not only fit in but to do well in her job. She can't fulfil her role successfully if she doesn't understand why fashion (and Miranda Priestly's opinion) is so important to the people in her industry. 

That said, adaptability in PR plays a huge role. This is because you work in an industry where change is constant. From industry trends to a crisis, things happen daily that are out of your control, and you need to be able to:

  • accept

  • learn, and

  •  adapt.

If you are running a huge PR campaign and realise that something in it is not working, you need to be able to adapt and change without losing your head. Because the truth is, there's no one who can do what we do.


Understanding industry dynamics 

Andy has to learn very quickly how the industry dynamics work. In the beginning, she doesn't understand why everyone wants and needs Miranda's approval, and why designers will change their entire collection if she doesn't like it. Andy soon realises that in the fashion industry, Miranda's opinion is the only one that matters. 

Likewise, in PR, it is vital to know and understand your industry dynamics. As a PR, you not only deal with the relationship between the brand and the public but also between the brand and stakeholders and investors. 

You need to fully know and understand these industry dynamics if you want to be successful in your PR endeavours. No, no — that wasn't a question.


Crisis management

Andy quickly finds out that her job is basically one crisis after another. We see this when she is trying to book a flight during a hurricane and when she has to learn the names and faces of all the important people attending an event — a few hours before said event.

In PR, a crisis is inevitable. Just like Andy — who handles situations like a complete pro (sometimes) — PRs need to be able to handle every and any crisis that comes their way. These need to be handled in the most professional and calmest way possible so that the client does not freak out!


Relationship building

Throughout the movie, you see Andy navigate and build relationships in the industry. A notable relationship is with Christian Thompson, a writer who helps save Andy's job when she needs a copy of the unpublished manuscript of the latest Harry Potter book.

Because she met and networked with him at a work event, she is able to secure a copy of the manuscript — saving her from being fired or forced to quit. 

Similarly in PR, building relationships is a vital part of your career. You need to build and maintain relationships with:

  • clients

  • peers 

  • media personnel

  • investors, and

  • stakeholders.


Attention to detail

One of the most iconic scenes in the whole movie is when Miranda rips Andy to shreds when they are choosing a blue belt for a dress. This is because Andy thinks the belt options look exactly the same when others describe them as "so different".  

Andy learns to pay close attention to the smaller details so that she is never called out like that again.

As a PR, you need to pay close attention to detail, or it could be disastrous for you. Small mistakes (such as spelling errors in your pitch to a journalist) can make you seem unprofessional and unreliable.

 Your attention to detail should be applied when:

  • creating a campaign

  • writing a press release, and 

  • addressing the public


Work-life balance

Throughout the entire movie, we see the struggle that almost all of the characters have in maintaining a work-life balance — from Miranda with her kids and husband to Andy whose relationship completely falls apart. 

We get the vibe that this is to be expected in this profession, as Nigel says, "Let me know when your whole life goes up in smoke. Means it's time for a promotion."

Being in PR is stressful and demanding — and when you want to be successful in your career, it is important to give it your all. However, that does not mean you need to run yourself into the ground while climbing the ladder of success. 

You need to put boundaries in place to protect your:

Because, in the end, no matter how successful Miranda or any of the other characters were, their personal lives suffered because of it. 


Please bore someone else with your ... questions. Just kidding! Did you find these tips helpful? Let us know in the comment section below. 

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Love getting tips from iconic movies? Then take a look at What PR pros can learn from the Mean Girls cast.

*Image courtesy of Flickr and Canva