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Existentialism for PR Advisers

Where Kierkegaard meets corporate communication.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

Existentialism is rel­ev­ant for PR advisers.

Existentialism is about authen­ti­city, respons­ib­il­ity, and mak­ing mean­ing in a world that inher­ently lacks it. 

For PR advisers, this isn’t just aca­dem­ic mus­ing; it’s a potent frame­work for nav­ig­at­ing the com­plex­it­ies of mod­ern media landscapes.

Here we go:

Existentialism and Public Relations

Soren Kierkegaard.
Fotografi efter bly­ant­stegn­ing ca. 1840 af Søren Kierkegaard. (Credit: Wikipedia)
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Existentialism: Thought Leadership, Advisory, and Education

Regarding thought lead­er­ship, advis­ory, and edu­ca­tion, I often remind myself of the beau­ti­ful words of the Danish exist­en­tial­ist Søren Kierkegaard (1813 – 1855): 1Søren Kierkegaard. (2023, November 27). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%B8ren_Kierkegaard

If one is truly to suc­ceed in lead­ing a per­son to a spe­cif­ic place, one must first and fore­most take care to find him where he is and begin there.

This is the secret in the entire art of help­ing.

Anyone who can­not do this is him­self under a delu­sion if he thinks he is able to help someone else. In order truly to help someone else, I must under­stand more than he — but cer­tainly first and fore­most under­stand what he under­stands.

If I do not do that, my great­er under­stand­ing does not help him. If I nev­er­the­less want to assert my great­er under­stand­ing, then it is because I am vain or proud, then basic­ally instead of bene­fit­ing him I really want to be admired by him.

But all true help­ing begins with a hum­bling.

The help­er must first humble him­self under the per­son he wants to help and thereby under­stand that to help is not to dom­in­ate but to serve, that to help is a not to be the most dom­in­at­ing but the most patient, that to help is a will­ing­ness for the time being to put up with being in the wrong and not under­stand­ing what the oth­er under­stands.”
— Søren Kierkegaard (1813 – 1855)

Servitude is the found­a­tion for suc­cess for all aspir­ing thought lead­ers, advisers, and educators.

Learn more: Existentialism for PR Advisers

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Please sup­port my PR blog by shar­ing it with oth­er com­mu­nic­a­tion pro­fes­sion­als. For ques­tions or PR sup­port, con­tact me via jerry@​spinfactory.​com.

PR Resource: The Stoic PR Professional

The Stoic PR Professional

I’m inspired by Stoicism — and intrigued by the idea of trans­lat­ing clas­sic­al Stoic vir­tues (wis­dom, cour­age, justice, tem­per­ance) and apply­ing them to pub­lic relations:

The Wisdom Pitch

A Stoic is someone who trans­forms fear into prudence, pain into trans­form­a­tion, mis­takes into ini­ti­ation, and desires into under­tak­ing.”
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Tell PR stor­ies of how organ­isa­tions can be wise and over­come obstacles that have stopped oth­ers in their tracks. Convey PR mes­sages on how to apply wis­dom, know­ledge, and experience.

The Courage Pitch

We can­not choose our cir­cum­stances, but we can always choose how we respond to them.”
— Epictetus

Tell PR stor­ies of brands that nev­er back down in the face of hard­ships that would lay waste to oth­er organ­isa­tions. Convey PR mes­sages of how an organ­isa­tion can be right­eous even when storms are raging.

The Justice Pitch

Concentrate every minute on doing what’s in front of you with pre­cise and genu­ine ser­i­ous­ness, ten­derly, will­ingly, with justice.”
— Marcus Aurelius

Tell PR stor­ies of how organ­isa­tions relent­lessly can strive for hon­esty and trans­par­ency — even when uncom­fort­able. Convey PR mes­sages about how all brands, without excep­tion, can rid them­selves of dis­hon­esty and incompetence.

The Temperance Pitch

It’s not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, who is poor.”
— Seneca

Tell PR stor­ies of organ­isa­tions that strive for high­er val­ues in a world where all oth­er organ­isa­tions suf­fer short­sighted­ness. Convey PR mes­sages of organ­isa­tions pre­pared to abstain from short-term gains to make the world bet­ter for all.

Learn more: Stoic Philosophy for PR Professionals

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ANNOTATIONS
ANNOTATIONS
1 Søren Kierkegaard. (2023, November 27). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%B8ren_Kierkegaard
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwerhttps://doctorspin.net/
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at Spin Factory and KIX Communication Index. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Cover Photo

The cover photo isn't related to public relations; it's just a photo of mine. Think of it as a 'decorative diversion', a subtle reminder that there is more to life than strategic communication.

The cover photo has

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