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5 PR lessons embedded in Katy Perry songs


Over the years, I’ve written about a lot of crazy comparisons.

PR lessons I learned from Saved by the Bell.

What the characters of Friday Night Lights taught me about PR.

And what I learned from Justin Bieber (which suddenly, doesn’t sound so good given recent events).

Today I’m taking that to a new level. Not just because it’s another crazy comparison. But because I’m publicly revealing one of my biggest celebrity crushes (don’t worry–my wife knows all about it).

For those who know me a bit better, you know I’ve been a big fan of Katy Perry for a while. Not just because of the “crush” part (what guy doesn’t have a crush on KP?). But, because I legitimately like her music (before you laugh too hard, let’s just say my music tastes are “eclectic”).

So, a comparison post with Katy Perry isn’t a big stretch for me, since my KP Spotify playlist is in heavy rotation during the workweek.

And so, I give you 5 PR lessons embedded (deeply) within five Katy Perry songs (and they said it couldn’t be done):


This song is all about letting your passion and your talents shine through. “You just gotta ignite the light and let it shine. Just own the night like the 4th of July.” As PR counselors, we get paid for counseling clients. For our ideas. The lesson here: Don’t be a wallflower in meetings. Share your ideas. Speak up–even when your opinion isn’t asked for. You never know what might happen…


Teenage Dream

“Let you put your hands on me in my skin tight jeans, be your teenage dream tonight.” For me, this song is about that one girl (or boy) that just drove you so crazy. That you crushed so hard on. That you just wanted more than anything. Now, hasn’t there always been a few clients you’ve always crushed on? That you’ve always wanted to work with, but that might also drive you crazy? I guess the lesson embedded in this song is to embrace that craziness. Take a chance. And never look back, baby.


Wide Awake

“I wish I knew then what I know now. Wouldn’t dive in. Wouldn’t bow down.” Sure, Katy’s talking about getting over a flame in this song. But, as I think about the professional world, you could make the argument that it’s also about a bad relationship with an employer–or getting fired for the first time. Just look at the lyrics. “Not losing any sleep. I picked up every piece. And landed on my feet.” Sounds like the blind-sided nature of getting fired, doesn’t it? Or, what about: “Yeah I’m born again. Out of the lion’s den. I don’t have to pretend. It’s too late. The story’s over now. The end.” Again, sound familiar? If you’ve ever been laid off from a PR job–this song should resonate that way (and I know that’s exactly what you were listening for in this song, right? :).


I Kissed a Girl

Oh, I know what you’re thinking: How could this song have ANY meaning for the PR world? Oh how you underestimate me, my friend. Just think about our friends who have come over from the media side. Don’t the lyrics ring true for these folks? “This was never the way I planned, not my intention. I got so brave, drink in hand, lost my discretion. It’s not what I’m used to, just wanna try you on. I’m curious for you, caught my attention.” Doesn’t that sound like the lure of the PR field for journalists? OK, seriously though, doesn’t it? I kissed a girl=I fell in love with the other side? You know it’s true…


The One that Got Away

The lesson here for PR pros actually seems pretty simple: Don’t let those good clients get away. In this song, Katy talks about the long-lost love that got away. Take a peek at the lyrics: “All this money can’t buy me a time machine. Can’t replace you with a million rings. I should’ve told you what you meant to me. ‘Cause now I pay the price.” Sounds like the angst of an agency who just lost their ideal client to me? Don’t let that happen. Make sure your clients are happy. Very happy. Madly in love with you happy.


There, I did it! 5 PR lessons you can learn from Katy Perry songs! And, they said it couldn’t be done…



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