Go Elf Yourself, PR Pros

By Dan Guttridge
December 7th, 2016

As I’ve noted in previous articles with words of wisdom from beloved holiday movie characters, this is the time of year to not only evaluate yourselves as PR and strategic communications pros, but also evaluate your clients’ initiatives for the New Year. With a little help from Buddy the Elf, take the following reminders and tips into consideration for 2017 and beyond:

Vehr Communications_Vr3_Go Elf Yourself“Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” While Buddy may not be the go-to spokesperson in the board room, on the conference call or at the table during high-level meetings, those who represent your agency or clients need to have clear understanding of your objectives. Set aside time to keep them updated and on top of new messages for the start of 2017.

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer, is singing loud for all to hear.” Are your social media messages reflective of what your advertising, marketing and sales teams are saying? Consistent messaging across all channels will aid in the attraction, retention and satisfaction of customers. Creating a strategic carousel of information (think inbound marketing) will help keep users in the funnel.

“We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.” Know your strengths. Individuals and organizations sometimes delve into areas of “expertise” of which they aren’t suited. Evaluate new opportunities accordingly.

“First we’ll make snow angels for two hours, and then we’ll go ice skating, and then we’ll eat a whole roll of Toll House cookie dough as fast as we can, and then, to finish, we’ll snuggle.” Have a plan. Whether it’s crisis communications, issues management, or a new product rollout, make sure your plan reflects the end goals while being on-time and on-budget.

“I’m sorry I ruined your lives and crammed 11 cookies into the VCR.” Cliché alert: If you make a mistake, be accountable and take responsibility. Your colleagues and clients will respect your honesty.

“If you can sing alone, you sing in front of other people. There’s no difference.” We sometimes deal with clients and spokespeople who want outbound messages to be heard around the world, but don’t want to be the ones under the bright lights being interviewed. Work to make them comfortable, and offer a media training refresher if need be.

“What’s a Christmas-gram? I want one!” Stay on top of the most recent industry trends and educate yourself on new concepts and technology to bring to your agency and clients. Subscribe to newsletters, create custom Twitter lists and challenge yourself to learn something new every day.

“You smell like beef and cheese. You don’t smell like Santa.” First impressions matter. Treat interactions and networking opportunities each day like an interview. You never know who may be a potential client.

“SANTA! OH MY GOD! SANTA’S COMING! I KNOW HIM! I KNOW HIM!” No matter how big the client, celebrity or marquis partnership, act like you’ve been there before. Nobody likes a name-dropper.

“It’s just nice to meet another human that shares my affinity for elf culture.” Get involved with other like-minded pros through community engagement, PRSA, the American Marketing Association or your local chamber of commerce. Networking opportunities are all around us.

“I’m a cotton-headed ninny-muggins.” Don’t beat yourself up. The most confident people in the room often get opportunities that the self-proclaimed “ninny-muggins” of the office will not. Learn from mistakes (we all make them), apply learnings and move on to the next challenge.

“You did it! Congratulations! World’s best cup of coffee! Great job, everybody!” Share the love when your clients and team succeed. If you haven’t heard, Vehr Communications was named the 2016 Cincinnati PRSA Large Agency of the Year. I’ll raise a glass of eggnog to that.

“I just like to smile, smiling’s my favorite.” Cheers to a great 2016 and even better 2017. 

About the Author:

Dan understands that creative, effective and efficient solutions lead to long-term success. A self-proclaimed sports junkie, music fanatic and history nerd, Dan serves clients in the consumer goods, entertainment, manufacturing, nonprofit and sports industries. His range of expertise includes content development and strategy, branding and marketing communications, media relations, social media strategy, crisis communications and special event planning and promotion.

A native of Northern Kentucky, Dan is a graduate of the University of the Cumberlands (Williamsburg, KY) with degrees in business administration and communications. He is a graduate of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s inaugural Cincy Next program and serves on the Chamber’s Alumni Network board. In his free time, Dan serves as a coach, instructor and mentor at the Cincinnati Reds Urban Youth Academy.


  1. Jack Greiner December 8, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    I have to admit when I saw the headline I thought the post would be about crisis communication in “It’s A Wonderful Life” when Uncle Billy lost all the money to Mr. Potter. But this was great. Thanks

  2. Dan Guttridge December 9, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Thanks, Jack. Glad you enjoyed it. Now. you have me thinking about doing something with “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Stay tuned.

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