By Katie I had the pleasure of visiting the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston recently. As I strolled past my favorite Mark Bradford piece (“Black Venus”) a couple of times, I realized that a great work of art and a good PR story share similar qualities in terms of intriguing the audience and keeping people captivated enough to make them come back for more. Bradford's artwork is one-of-a-kind. He transforms materials scavenged from the street into wall-sized, collage-like installations that speak to minority networks, underground economies and migrant communities within urban populations. They speak to civil rights history, racial issues and diversity – frequently resembling what looks like a city map. At first glance, the pieces are colorful, made of various materials and are aesthetically pleasing. After spending a few minutes, or perhaps even on second or third glance, viewers realize Bradford's work is made of various and varying materials, has multiple layers and suggests connotations much deeper than what first meets the eye. Many of us recognize and respond more to complex, contemporary creations over simple, one-dimensional watercolors of fruit, for example. We are drawn to art that tells a tale – art that is different, complex, compelling and rich. Successful PR storytelling provides a similar experience. As PR professionals, we love a good challenge. We help spread the word about news that industry influencers and reporters want to know. But the real fun for us is when we can create a story that impacts reporters, publications and readers with varying levels and layers of meaning. Tying company news to industry trends creates a story that sticks with an audience. It makes readers stroll through the proverbial PR gallery and come back to a work of PR art for a second and third glance.
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