Taking it Old School to Learn New Lessons

Hip-hop music may seem like the new kid on the block. But rap has topped charts since at least 1990. (I promise to make that the only oblique reference to Vanilla Ice in this post.)
Beats and rhymes have been influencing culture for more than 30 years. Many of today’s executives and decision makers grew up on Run-DMC and other pioneering MCs and DJs. And the genre holds lessons for nearly any business or organization, regardless of the audience.
At Candor, we’ve found five outstanding lyrics to remind us of the principles of our profession.
1. “Ain’t no future in yo frontin’” – MC Breed & DFC, from “Ain’t no future in yo frontin’”
Don’t lie. That’s it. It is the foundation for everything we do at Candor, and we hope it guides every client we represent.
Of course, everyone preaches honesty as the best policy, based on idealism and simply doing the right thing. But staying true to reality holds special importance when dealing with the media or the public. Whatever a falsehood hides, it will look much worse when it gets splashed across the internet.
A good public relations counselor will help emphasize the positive, but everyone on the team must commit to avoiding false statements.
2. “La di da di, we like to party” – Slick Rick, from “La Di Da Di”
A common caricature assumes PR pros spend all of their time planning and hosting parties. It’s an exaggerated image, of course.
Putting on excellent events for our clients is part of the job, and we are happy to help (and share in the good vibrations). We always remember, though, a party is more than just a good time.
Besides theme, invitations, timing sheets and talking points, we remind clients to think beyond the details and remember the message. We help them consider what guests should learn at a party, press event or open house; how they should feel when they leave; and what ideas should stick in their mind when they leave the venue.
3. “You can plan a pretty picture, but you can’t predict the weather.” – Outkast, from “Ms. Jackson”
Candor boasts of its ability to plan ahead. We look days, weeks and months into the future to help our clients find opportunities and avoid hazards.
As Oklahomans know, no forecast is certain. Conditions change rapidly, and we always prepare for contingencies. Even when we spend long hours developing a detailed, months-long campaign, we know it could get torn up and tossed out the window. It happens when a new bill is filed at the Capitol, when news breaks somewhere else in the country or when someone simply comes up with a better idea.
It doesn’t bother us. We expect to adapt.
4. “I’m not a business man. I’m a business, man.” Jay Z, from “Diamonds From Sierra Leone”
Brooklyn-based rapper, producer, sports agent, media mogul and NBA team owner Shawn Carter had a hard-knock life. But he understands something fundamental about branding: it always matters, and everything a team does affects the image.
When a CEO speaks in front of hundreds of people, it changes how people see her company. When a volunteer greets a guest at a groundbreaking, it can make people more likely to donate to his nonprofit. When a spokesman is running errands on his off hours, his demeanor could affect coverage of a hot-button political issue.
Nobody needs to be image-obsessed, but everyone in every organization needs to feel part of the team, so they feel responsible for projecting professionalism and trustworthiness.
5. “I gotta say, it was a good day.” Ice Cube, from “It Was a Good Day”
No matter the field, no matter the role, work is challenging. At Candor, we make time to celebrate our victories. We keep our clients updated about their media hits, newsletter opens and social media mentions. And when something special happens, we celebrate with snacks and sirens in the office. We stay positive through the day by bouncing ideas off each other, giving constructive feedback and talking about our common goals.
It’s just the way we roll with our homies.

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