Los Angeles, 1987: An acid-washed epicenter of hair metal revel breeding an endless bounty of public relations inspiration—would you have guessed it?

Despite five-time Tony award-nominated musical Rock of Ages taking its final Broadway bow last January, the show’s commemorative rock-and-roll spirit lives forever. With hearts felt and faces melt through the musical tale of melodrama, mini skirts and mullets on The Sunset Strip, Rock of Ages provides a significant slew of classic PR lessons.

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The protagonists Drew and Sherrie donning big dreams and even bigger hair  – via Broadway.com

Come on Feel the Noize – Quiet Riot

It’s always important to stay in sync with “the noise”—i.e. your publics. In an age of interactivity, feigning interest only works for so long, if at all. Social media puts companies and causes closer to audiences than ever before possible, so one must know what your target is saying, along with where they’re saying it.

If practitioners are not in tune with feedback from those with which they strive to reach, how can one manage effective two-way communication?

We’re Not Gonna Take It – Twisted Sister

Retain control of your own narrative.

Publics are quick to throw words and accusations around, but don’t let them dominate the overall perception regarding clients. While PR is an endless dance between being proactive and reactive, maintaining a strong voice can revolutionize relationships. Keeping information updated, transparent and accessible helps prevent falling into a putty-like persona in the divisive eyes of manipulative audiences.

Heat of the Moment – Asia

Situations get stressful and emotions run high in the fast-paced world of PR, but it’s critical to not give in to the ‘heat of the moment.’ Every carefully crafted word should keep intentions clear, with courses of action considered based on anticipated public response—especially when it comes to managing crisis communications.

Any Way You Want It – Journey

In a similar vein to previous points, practitioners have to be mindful of and deliver what the client wants. One must sometimes distinguish between pointless wants and pivotal needs, but PR is ultimately a service, fostering the desired product of effective relationships and good perceptive standing.

More Than Words – Extreme

The age-old notion of “actions speak louder than words” defines the PR industry.

Implications are a powerful thing that can work as easily for as can against you. Especially when it comes to managing leadership positions, PR professionals must remain aware of messages conveyed through what is done as well as said.

Harden My Heart – Quarterflash

To thrive in PR, tough skin is a requirement. Whether it’s being denied, criticized or written off, one can’t be discouraged by adverse bumps along the way.

Here I Go Again – Whitesnake

“I don’t know where I’m going, but I sure know where I’ve been,” David Coverdale proclaims.

While you don’t always know what scenarios are ahead, you can certainly learn from your own past as well as others’. History is a practitioner’s greatest weapon, full of mistakes and educational opportunities. Through observation, case studies and simple inquisition, one should take the informed initiative to do everything possible for preventing past problems from happening again.

“Here I go again on my own, going down the only road I’ve ever known; like a drifter I was born to walk alone,” he later belts.

In such an increasingly twisted world, doing the “right” thing can feel like the road less traveled. While others may find seeming success in taking an otherwise path, embrace ethics as the ultimate guiding light.

Don’t Stop Believing – Journey

Inauthenticity is easy to spot. Regardless if practicing for an organization, firm or cause, take believing in your brand as a universal PR lesson.

Keep throwing until something sticks. Pitch like there’s no tomorrow.

At the heart of PR is perseverance. Tired but true, the bottom line is just that—don’t ever stop believing.

October 2008 marked its New York City debut, but with more than 2,300 performances total, Rock of Ages stands today as the 27th longest running show in Broadway history. Several incarnations have since spawned around the world, alongside multiple touring productions and a 2012 movie adaptation (although it’s pretty disparaging). The show still runs strong at The Venetian hotel in Las Vegas after opening in December of 2012, and recently announced its upcoming move to the Rio this January.

I’ve always been one for unconventional sources of inspiration; why would interpreting PR be any different?

(Feature image via Broadway.com)

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