The PR BlogCreativityThe Rabbit HoleZombie Apocalypse Survival Skills for PR Professionals

Zombie Apocalypse Survival Skills for PR Professionals

Perception management will matter at the end of times, too.

Cover photo: @jerrysilfwer

Do you have any zom­bie apo­ca­lypse sur­viv­al skills?

I’ve been binge-watch­ing the hit tele­vi­sion show Man vs Wild, fea­tur­ing the cha­ris­mat­ic sur­viv­al expert Bear Grylls.

It makes me wonder:

What role could a PR pro­fes­sion­al play in a zom­bie apocalypse?

Let’s find out:

When the Shit Hits the Fan

Bear Grylls shows us what it takes to eat insects, go under­wa­ter spear hunt­ing, scale down moun­tains, and explore vast gla­ci­er cre­vasses. He can make fire by rub­bing sticks against each oth­er, build­ing shel­ters, and tying crazy knots. 

These are all excel­lent skills to have when our civil­isa­tion goes under. 

But how will your aver­age PR pro­fes­sion­al con­trib­ute when the shit hits the fan? It makes me pon­der this simple question:

When civil­isa­tion fails and the zom­bie apo­ca­lypse comes upon us, will any­one need spin doctors?

Internal Comms for the Zombie Apocalypse

Which skills could a PR pro­fes­sion­al bring to the under­ground bunker briefing?

When brain mat­ter starts hit­ting the pan­ic room vent­il­a­tion and the zom­bies attack, you must stick togeth­er in close-knit teams to survive. 

As a pub­lic rela­tions pro­fes­sion­al, you’re used to work­ing in small units con­sist­ing of oddball spe­cial­ists while push­ing them to get the desired results.

Survival PR Skill: Leadership

It’s always bet­ter if the group appoints you as their lead­er rather than rely­ing on self-pro­mo­tion or force.

Excellent com­mu­nic­a­tion skills are the trade­mark of great lead­ers so you may opt for a lead­er­ship role. 

When the advert­isers are done shoot­ing at every­one and everything, per­haps you can take action to secure the group’s approv­al using psy­cho­logy — without a single shot fired. 

Survival PR Skill: Motivation

People rarely know what’s best for them — and a pan­dem­ic vir­us out­break will prob­ably not make any­one behave more rationally. 

You’ll have to find innov­at­ive ways to per­suade the group not to give up, day in and day out. But as a pub­lic rela­tions pro­fes­sion­al, you know how to cre­ate incent­ives and win-wins — out of thin air, if need be. 

A work­shop on mis­sion-vis­ion-val­ues around the camp­fire should do the trick.

Survival PR Skill: Listening

So, lots of people are going to per­ish. Lots of people are going to be scared. An exist­en­tial crisis on a glob­al scale will have people ask­ing questions: 

How could this hap­pen to me?”
“Why did it hap­pen to me?”
“What do I do now?” 

In a world where every­one wants to be heard, a PR pro­fes­sion­al under­stands the inher­ent power of act­ive listen­ing. If people are des­per­ately look­ing for answers, then let them come. 

Sort of like inbound, right?

Strategic Operations for the Zombie Apocalypse

As the dust settles, there has to be some divi­sion of labour. And as a stu­dent of human beha­viour, the pub­lic rela­tions pro­fes­sion­al can help people under­stand their roles in this brave new and dis­rup­ted world. 

As all PR pro­fes­sion­als know — there’s always a big­ger picture.

Survival PR Skill: Recognisance

Monitoring and ana­lyt­ics are in your blood. The more inform­a­tion you have, the more you can exchange for shar­ing what you know. 

You could take charge of col­lect­ing data and gath­er­ing intel­li­gence to ensure that you con­trol the know­ledge on which decisions are being made. 

After all, inform­a­tion is power.

Survival PR Skill: Strategy

Whether it’s about sur­viv­ing a nuc­le­ar holo­caust or launch­ing a B2B app star­tup in Europe, it’s all about strategy. 

With many dif­fer­ent frac­tions of sur­viv­ors fight­ing dirty and com­pet­ing for lim­ited resources, it’s not per­son­al — it’s PR as usual. 

And if you can get journ­al­ists excited about an app with no users and no rev­en­ue, you’ll fig­ure out the best way to raid a phar­macy store.

Survival PR skill: Organisation

In a post-apo­ca­lyptic world, what would be bet­ter than hav­ing the sur­viv­al skills of Bear Grylls? 

That would be if you had sev­er­al Bear Grylls work­ing for you. 

As with employ­er brand­ing, you must attract the best of the best to your band of sur­viv­ors and provide them with some­thing mean­ing­ful to do. 

Agency exper­i­ence will surely come in handy.

Psychological Warfare for the Zombie Apocalypse

Conflict gets everyone’s atten­tion, and you know this. 

As a pub­lic rela­tions pro­fes­sion­al, you’ll likely seek non­vi­ol­ent solu­tions to most prob­lems, but you can still play the aggress­ive game if needed. 

You know from your PR exper­i­ence that it’s either ‘eat’ or ‘be eaten.’

Survival PR Skill: Propaganda

As your groups grow more power­ful, oth­er com­pet­ing loot­ers will try to take you down. 

It might not come nat­ur­ally for a dent­ist or a preschool teach­er to gear up and go to war on fel­low human beings. Questions of mor­al­ity might bog them down. 

Party mem­bers with exist­en­tial angst will need to hear that they’re good and the oth­ers are bad.

A few talk­ing points should suffice.

Survival PR Skill: Disinformation

Having more inform­a­tion than your enemies is good, but hav­ing them rely on false inform­a­tion would be even better. 

Fact-check­ing and double con­firm­a­tions are prob­ably not high on anyone’s to-do list when there’s insuf­fi­cient drink­ing water. 

Maybe you slip your enemies some altern­at­ive facts?

Survival PR Skill: Negotiation

Even if the fin­an­cial sys­tem has col­lapsed, you can rest assured that some cur­rency will be in play. A deep under­stand­ing of people’s needs will make you an asset to the group. 

As a pub­lic rela­tions pro­fes­sion­al, you can nego­ti­ate a retain­er budget in your sleep. A zom­bie apo­ca­lypse is noth­ing by comparison.

Cease-fire agree­ment.
Trade for water.
Hostage exchange.
Making sure Hodor holds the door. 

Don’t worry. We got it.

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

Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer
Jerry Silfwer, alias Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.

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