Analyzing the PR Superhero (or Villain) Persona

January 3, 2013

By: Melissa
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Do you ever think about matching superheroes and villains to industry personas? Well here's your chance. At our Boston PR firm, here's how we focus on the superheroes.

  1. We use our PR skills to make client contacts look like superheroes to their management teams.
  2. Our brand identity plays on the icons of superheroes – many of whom we see reflected in the PR professionals we encounter every day.

So, below are some of the superheroes and villains we have encountered out in the PR world:
(The following is based on a superhero database that measures intelligence, strength, speed, durability, power and combat).

  1. Lady Deathstrike: She has minimal strengths, according to her powergrid. She's the persona who had the great interview but doesn't fully understand the PR craft or simple task and time management.
  2. Mystique: Her biggest strengths are intelligence and combat, according to her powergrid. She can be negative and passive aggressive when in combat, and she is unhappy about everything. She has the high-level ideas and is proactive and persistent, but she doesn't always connect her thoughts or persistence well to the client or internal team.
  3. Meltdown: Her biggest strengths include combat and power, according to her powergrid. She's overdramatic and emotional and socially awkward in front of clients, and yet, so overly confident that she makes uneducated comments in meetings and needs to be bailed out.
  4. Supergirl: Her biggest strength is durability, according to her powergrid. She works with her managers to sustain a successful environment, takes on multiple activities and tasks and accomplishes them quickly, and presents an overview-problem-solution approach to every challenge.

So, how do you handle all of these strengths and weaknesses? Here are some general tips to manage different personas.

  1. Set expectations accordingly and in writing.
  2. Training is important at any level; assess progress after three months.
  3. Inspire and lead without micro-managing.
  4. Provoke passion and professional growth through questions, caring and agency principles; everyone respects the manager who is not too big or too small for any task.
  5. Respect strengths and weaknesses and learn from all levels.
  6. Flag challenges to management by presenting in the following format: problem, every strategy tried, and recommended solution.
  7. Create a “we” culture. Focus on success.
  8. Know what motivates the people you manage.

Tell us about the PR superhero or villain personas that you've come across in your industry, and check out our own superhero, Cosmyk, on Metis' YouTube page.

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