PR Takeaways to Die For from ‘Game of Thrones’

Posted on June 4, 2013 
Filed Under Crisis Management

Image: Helen Sloan/HBO

Image: Helen Sloan/HBO

If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones, you know that there will be blood and some of your favorite characters might not make it to the next episode of the HBO fantasy hit series. Sunday’s episode, dubbed “Red Wedding” was a fascinating, cringeworthy episode that angered fans and saddened so many viewers that a Twitter handle @RedWeddingTears was created to comfort the afflicted.

The episode got me thinking that the beloved Starks could really benefit from communications counsel. Game of Thrones is, in a sense, about relations with the public, a rather unforgiving fractured world of stakeholders who are ready to fight for their leaders to gain market share and mindshare. The Starks are a relatively honorable family in this fictional world. Robb Stark, heir to Winterfell and the North, seeks counsel from his mother and wife as he attempts to form game-changing alliances.

I present to you a few PR tips stemming from Robb’s ill-fated decision last episode that might be applicable to your next business decision. Hindsight is 20/20, but you might find these useful for your next potentially heated situation:

Trust but verify: Your heart might be in the right place, but when doing a deal with a competitor, do a background check on who will be in attendance at the seminal meeting. Check out the meeting space. Had Robb Stark taken this advice, he might not have shown up for the Red Wedding.

Your mother doesn’t always give the best advice. A PR counselor would have told her client that his mom is a wonderful person but her advice might need to be tempered with reality. Robb should have gone with his gut or taken advice from a professional.

Apologizing doesn’t set you free. Just saying you’re sorry doesn’t lead to absolution. Sometimes people don’t want to forgive.  Know your audience and if you sense you might get stabbed in the back anyway, be prepared to defend yourself.

Don’t let them shut the doors on you. As viewers of the Red Wedding, we knew things were going to get bloody when the hosts closed the big doors and silence ensued. Always look for an “out” and make your way to the exits without causing a stir.

There’s one more episode left of this season’s Game of Thrones. Perhaps they’ll introduce a communications expert who will introduce a new measurable strategy for the remaining Starks that will allow them to rule the kingdom. This is a fantasy, after all.

Follow Diane: @dianeschwartz.

Comments

  • John Jatinen

    One other lesson… superior titles do not equate to superior knowledge. Take young King Joffrey as an example. He’s not a quality CEO. He may be the person who has the privilege of sitting on the iron thrown but he couldn’t lead his way out of a paper bag without the help of his grandfather, uncles, and mother. He’s also just downright evil and needs to die ;-)

  • Diane Schwartz

    Great point about titles, John. Joffrey is so wonderfully inept!

  • Katie

    Catelyn advised Robb to take the offer to marry Frey’s daughter initially, and he refused, which caused the Frey to go along with the betrayal and get them all killed. Granted Catelyn didn’t make the best strategic moves all the time, but she was furious when Robb didn’t do this.

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    The show appeared for seven months at the Exposition Universelle in Paris.

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